English Library

The Penguin English Library was created to be a companion to the traditional Classics line, which at that time only published works translated, not written, in English. The covers are remarkably similar, with the main distinction being an orange rather than black spine, and all-caps text to distinguish from regular Penguin books of the era. The texts were paired with critical introductions, and lasted until the mid-80s, when they were eventually absorbed into the third edition of the regular Classic line.

Since this series crossed into the ISBN era, and the Penguin Classics versions of these texts re-used those same ISBNs, it can be a little confusing what was part of this series. I have tried to use visual confirmation of covers, which is why the existence of EL129, reported elsewhere as being part of the series, is still up in the air. Making things even more confusing: Penguin revived the series, at least in title, ditching the commentary for a slimmer, more stylized collection (found in the Newer Series tab).

EL1Wuthering HeightsEmily Bronte1965 
EL2MiddlemarchGeorge Eliot1965 
EL3Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens1965 
EL4The Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn Bunyan1965 
EL5PersuasionJane Austen1965 
EL6Three Jacobean TragediesTourneur/Webster/Middleton1965 
EL7Robinson CrusoeDaniel Defoe1966 
EL8David CopperfieldCharles Dickens1966 
EL9Tom JonesHenry Fielding1966 
EL10EmmaJane Austen1966 
EL11Jane EyreCharlotte Bronte1966 
EL12The Way of All FleshSamuel Butler1966 
EL13Three ComediesBen Jonson1966 
EL14The MoonstoneWilkie Collins1966 
EL15A Journal of the Plague YearDaniel Defoe1966 
EL16Mansfield ParkJane Austen1966 
EL17Oliver TwistCharles Dickens1966 
EL18The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain1966 
EL19The Life & Opinions of Tristram ShandyLaurence Sterne1967 
EL20Daniel DerondaGeorge Elliot1967 
EL21Humphrey ClinkerTobias Smollett1967 
EL22Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan Swift1967 
EL23Rural RidesWilliam Cobbett1967 
EL24The Last Chronicle of BarsetAnthony Trollope1967 
EL25Little DorrittCharles Dickens1967 
EL26A Sentimental JourneyLaurence Sterne1967 
EL27Three Restoration ComediesEtherege/Wycherley/Congreve1968 
EL28Selected WritingsEdgar Allen Poe1967 
EL29Billy Budd, Sailor and Other StoriesHerman Melville1968 
EL30Silas MarnerGeorge Elliot1967 
EL31Martin ChuzzlewittCharles Dickens1968 
EL32New Grub StreetGeorge Gissing1968 
EL33Selected WritingsSamuel Johnson1968 
EL34The EgoistGeorge Meredith1968 
EL35Vanity FairWilliam Thackeray1968 
EL36Three Gothic NovelsWalpole/Beckford/Shelley1968 
EL37The Complete PlaysChristopher Marlowe1968 
EL38North AmericaAnthony Trollope1969 
EL39Three Elizabethan Domestic TragediesThomas Heywood1969 
EL40Pudd’nhead WilsonMark Twain1969 
EL41The Eustace DiamondsAnthony Trollope1969 
EL42Hard TimesCharles Dickens1969 
EL43Le Morte D’Arthur 1Thomas Malory1969 
EL44Le Morte D’Arthur 2Thomas Malory1969 
EL45Nightmare Abbey / Crotchet CastleThomas Love Peacock1969 
EL46Wives and DaughtersElizabeth Gaskell1969 
EL47Sense and SensibilityJane Austen1969 
EL48Dombey and SonCharles Dickens1969 
EL49The History of Henry EsmondWilliam Thackeray19700140430490
EL50Selected WritingsWilliam Hazlitt19700140430504
EL51His Natural LifeMarcus Clarke19700140430512
EL52The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne19700140430520
EL53Mary BartonElizabeth Gaskell19700140430539
EL54A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens19700140430547
EL55North and SouthElizabeth Gaskell19700140430555
EL56Recollections of the Lakes and the Lake PoetsThomas De Quincy19710140430563
EL57ErewhonSamuel Butler19700140430571
EL58Selected PriseMatthew Arnold1970014043058X
EL59Three PlaysJohn Ford19700140430598
EL60Our Mutual FriendCharles Dickens19710140430601
EL61Confessions of an English Opium EaterThomas De Quincy1971014043061X
EL62Tudor InterludesPeter Happe19720140430628
EL63Bleak HouseCharles Dickens19710140430636
EL64A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s CourtMark Twain19720140430644
EL65Selected WritingsThomas Carlyle19710140430652
EL66A Tour through the Whole Island of Great BritainDaniel Defoe19710140430660
EL67The Unfortunate Traveller and Other WorksThomas Nashe19710140430679
EL68The Christmas Books 1Charles Dickens19710140430687
EL69The Christmas Books 2Charles Dickens19710140430695
EL70TypeHerman Melville19720140430709
EL71WaverleyWalter Scott19720140430717
EL72Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen19720140430725
EL73Voyages and DiscoveriesRichard Hakluyt19720140430733
EL74Northanger AbbeyJane Austen19720140430741
EL75The Old Curiosity ShopCharles Dickens1972014043075X
EL76The History Of PendennisWilliam Thackeray19720140430768
EL77American Notes for General CirculationCharles Dickens19740140430776
EL78The Pickwick PapersCharles Dickens19730140430784
EL79Aubrey’s Brief LivesAubrey19720140430792
EL80Selected ProseLord Byron19730140430806
EL81Three PlaysJohn Webster19720140430814
EL82Moby-DickHerman Melville19730140430822
EL83Cony-Catchers and Bawdy BasketsGamini Salgado19730140430830
EL84Felix HoltGeorge Eliot19730140430849
EL85Phineas FinnAnthony Trollope19750140430857
EL86Can You Forgive Her?Anthony Trollope19750140430865
EL87Scenes of Clerical LifeGeorge Eliot19730140430873
EL88Records of Shelley, Byron, and the AuthorEdward Trelawny19730140430881
EL89De ProfundisOscar Wilde1973014043089X
EL90Barnaby RudgeCharles Dickens19730140430903
EL91Selected ProseJohn Milton19740140430911
EL92The Mystery of Edwin DroodCharles Dickens1974014043092X
EL93English Mystery PlaysPeter Happe, ed.19760140430938
EL95ShirleyCharlotte Bronte19740140430954
EL96The Woman in WhiteWilkie Collins19750140430962
EL97The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of NantucketEdgar Allen Poe19760140430970
EL98Old MortalityWalter Scott19750140430989
EL99The Life of Charlotte BronteElizabeth Gaskell19750140430997
EL101Four Jacobean City ComediesMarston/Middleton/Jonson/Massinger19750140431012
EL102Lady Susan / The Watsons / SanditonJane Austen19750140431020
EL103Selected Short FictionCharles Dickens19760140431039
EL104Cranford / Cousin PhillisElizabeth Gaskell19770140431047
EL105RedburnHerman Melville19760140431055
EL106The Science Fiction of Edgar Allen PoeEdgar Allen Poe19760140431063
EL107Moll FlandersDaniel Defoe19780140431071
EL108The History of Rasselas, Prince of AbissiniaSamuel Johnson1976014043108X
EL109The Major WorksThomas Browne19770140431098
EL110Melmoth the WandererCharles Maturin19770140431101
EL111The Countess of Pembroke’s ArcadiaPhilip Sidney1977014043111X
EL112The Natural History of SelborneGilbert White197700140431128
EL113Nicholas NicklebyCharles Dickens19780140431136
EL114Joseph AndrewsHenry Fielding19770140431144
EL115News From NowhereWilliam Morris19840140431152
EL116The Life of JohnsonJames Boswell19790140431160
EL117Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other StoriesRobert Louis Stevenson19790140431179
EL118VilletteCharlotte Bronte19800140431187
EL119Four Morality PlaysLindsay/Bale/Skelton 0140431195
EL120The Mill on the FlossGeorge Elliot19800140431209
EL121Adam BedeGeorge Elliot19800140431217
EL122The Return of the NativeThomas Hardy19780140431225
EL123Under the Greenwood TreeThomas Hardy19780140431233
EL124The Distracted Preacher and Other TalesThomas Hardy19800140431241
EL125The Mayor of CasterbridgeThomas Hardy1978014043125X
EL126Far from the Madding CrowdThomas Hardy19780140431268
EL129The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Unconfirmed)Walter Scott 0140431292
EL130Selections from The Tatler and The SpectatorJoseph Addison19820140431306
EL131Jude the ObscureThomas Hardy19780140431314
EL133The History of EnglandLord Macaulay 0140431330
EL134Sybil; or, Two NationsBenjamin Disraeli19800140431349
EL135Tess of the D’UbervillesThomas Hardy19790140431357
EL136Home at GrasmereWilliam Wordsworth 0140431365
EL137The Tenant of Wildfell HallAnne Bronte 0140431373
EL138Weir of HermistonRobert Louis Stevenson 0140431381
EL139RomolaGeorge Eliot1980014043139X
EL140Pamela 1Samuel Richardson 0140431403
EL141Pamela 2Samuel Richardson 0140431411
EL142The Trumpet-MajorThomas Hardy 014043142X
EL143IvanhoeWalter Scott19840140431438
EL144Selected Poems and ProseEdward Thomas 0140431446
EL145The WoodlandersThomas Hardy 0140431454
EL146Landscape with FiguresRichard Jefferies 0140431462
EL149RoxanaDaniel Defoe 0140431497
EL192ConingsbyBejamin Disraeli19830140431926

One comment on “English Library

  1. I can augment your list up to EL235. As noted, the migration of the English Library to Penguin Classics around 1985 using the same 043 ISBN classification makes it difficult to be sure whether a book actually appeared in PEL before the migration. However, an ‘x’ in the last column of my list means that I own the book so these I am sure of. The ‘mc’ in the final column means it was migrated from Penguin Modern Classics. In these cases I generally have not bought the PEL book since I have the PMC but can vouch for having seen most in second-hand shops. Similarly, ‘AC’ means that the book was migrated from the Pelican Classics series. Most of these I have never seen in PEL covers so I suspect that they first appeared as Penguin Classics. One book that I have never seen myself in PEL cover is EL209 D.H. Lawrence The Plumed Serpent though a scan of the PEL cover is the stock image of this book on Abe Books so it must exist.
    Scans of the covers of the PELs I own are on Flickr at


    EL149,Daniel Defoe,”Roxana, or the Fortunate Mistress”,,x
    EL151,Henry Fielding,Jonathan Wild,1982,x
    EL153,Anthology,A Book of English Essays,1980,x
    EL154,D. H. Lawrence,Sons and Lovers,1981,x
    EL155,D. H. Lawrence,The Rainbow,1981,x
    EL156,D. H. Lawrence,Women in Love,1982,x
    EL158,Various,Four English Comedies,1981,x
    EL159,Oliver Goldsmith,The Vicar of Wakefield,1982,x
    EL160,D. H. Lawrence,Selected Short Stories,1982,x
    EL161,D. H. Lawrence,The Complete Short Novels,1982,x
    EL163,Arnold Bennett,The Old Wives’ Tale,,x
    EL168,Joseph Conrad,Heart of Darkness,1983,mc
    EL170,Joseph Conrad,The Nigger of the Narcissus,,mc
    EL171,Joseph Conrad,Nostromo,1983,x
    EL173,E. M. Forster,A Room With A View,,mc
    EL175,E. M. Forster,Howards End,,mc
    EL177,E. M. Forster,Where Angels Fear To Tread,1984,mc
    EL184,Olive Schreiner,The Story of an African Farm,1982,mc
    EL187,Oscar Wilde,The Picture of Dorian Gray,1985,mc
    EL189,Edward Gibbon,The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,1981,x
    EL192,Benjamin Disraeli,Coningsby,,x
    EL194,Mrs. Humphrey Ward,Hellbeck of Bannisdale,1983,x
    EL195,Thomas Hobbes,Leviathan,1981,AC2
    EL198,James Hogg,The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner,1983,x
    EL199,Mary Wollstonecraft,A Vindication of the Rights of Women,1982,x
    EL201,D. H. Lawrence,The White Peacock,1982,x
    EL202,Various,Four Tudor Comedies,1984,x
    EL203,Anthony Trollope,Barchester Towers,1983,x
    EL204,Edmund Burke,Reflections on the Revolution in France,1983,x
    EL205,Charles Darwin,The Origin of Species,1982,AC1
    EL206,Thomas Malthus,An Essay on the Principle of Population,1982,AC18
    EL207,John Stuart Mill,On Liberty,1982,AC28
    EL208,Adam Smith,The Wealth of Nations,,AC12
    EL209,D. H. Lawrence,The Plumed Serpent,1983 ,
    EL210,Anne Brontë,Agnes Grey,1988,cc
    EL211,John Ruskin,Unto This Last,1985,cc
    EL213,Anthony Trollope,Framley Parsonage,1984,x
    EL214,Anthony Trollope,The Warden,1984,x
    EL215,Samuel Richardson,Clarissa,1985,cc
    EL216,Francis Bacon,The Essays,1985,cc
    EL217,Edward Gibbon,Memoirs of My Life,1984,x
    EL218,George Douglas Brown,The House with the Green Shutters,1985,cc
    EL219,Thomas Middleton,Five Plays,1988,cc
    EL220,John Gay,The Beggar’s Opera,1986,cc
    EL221,Johnson and Boswell,A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland,1984,x
    EL223,Henry James,The Portrait of a Lady,1984,mc
    EL224,Henry James,The Aspern Papers and The Turn of the Screw,1984,x
    EL225,Henry James,The Bostonians,1984,x
    EL226,Henry James,Washington Square,1984,x
    EL227,Henry James,An International Episode and other stories,1985,mc
    EL228,Joseph Conrad,The Secret Agent,1984,mc
    EL229,Henry Fielding,Amelia,1987,cc
    EL230,Henry Mayhew,The Unknown Henry Mayhew,1984,AC24
    EL231,William Congreve,The Comedies of William Congreve,,cc
    EL232,Henry James,The Europeans,1984,mc
    EL233,Henry James,The Ambassadors,,mc
    EL235,Henry James,The Golden Bowl,1985,mc


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