Though many are familiar with and perhaps can even recite quotes from classic literature such as Sense and Sensibility, Frankenstein, or The Scarlet Letter, many adults don’t know how to read them and likely haven’t picked them up since their high school English class.

To that end, acclaimed author and award-winning English professor Karen Swallow Prior will pen a beautifully-designed literature series for B&H Publishing that guides readers through a selection of the classics, helps them navigate the pitfalls that often trap readers and shows them how to read each work in light of the gospel and to the glory of God.

The first books to release will be Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad in March of 2020.

Prior is editing each volume, adding an introduction to guide the reader on how to read it and adding supplemental information.

Currently planned for the series are Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

Says Prior:

I’ve been teaching literature to college students for nearly 30 years. I’ve often been told by people who’ve not had the chance to take a class with me that they wish they could. And, likewise, I have often wished to be able to expand my teaching to readers outside the classroom walls.

Writing introductions to a few of the works I love and teach most will do just this. I hope through this series to assist general readers to achieve greater understanding and appreciation of, not only these selected works, but also the vast world of classic literary works beyond these titles as well. Reading such books can be challenging at first, but reading well is a skill like any other—one that can be learned and improved with experience and practice. And it’s enjoyable, too!

Says B&H’s Jennifer Lyell, V.P. of Book Publishing and Merchandising:

We are thrilled to partner with the esteemed Karen Swallow Prior on this literature series, which we pray will help readers both better understand these classics texts and see God’s truth and beauty in each work. There is no one better to compile and edit these than Karen; I know her editorial insight will inspire a new generation of readers to fall in love with the classics.

Prior’s previous books include Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (T. S. Poetry Press, 2012), Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson, 2014) and most recently, On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Literature (Brazos, 2018). Her writing has appeared at Christianity Today, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Gospel Coalition, BreakPoint, Think Christian, Comment, and Books and Culture. She has spoken at numerous writing conferences including the Festival of Faith and Writing and the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference.

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