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The key to Barnes & Noble Classics is the original ancillary materials included in each edition. Through a unique, humanistic approach, these books offer more, and improve on what readers and students have come to expect from a contemporary edition of a classlc. Barnes & Noble Classics include the following substantive sections:

From the Pages of...

One or two pages of carefully selected quotations from the work showcase the author's style and draw the reader into the author's universe.

A Note on the Author

This section offers a brief biographical summary of the author's life—essential to provide a personal context for the work.

The World Of...

This original section we call The World of…—for example, "The World of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein" —offers readers a timeline of historical, biographical, and cultural events to place the author and work in a useful social and historical context.


A newly commissioned Introduction is of primary importance to each Barnes & Noble Classic. All of these Introductions are written with uncommon clarity and accessibility, and offer the most up-to-date scholarship and criticism. The Introductions vary in emphasis. Some concentrate on the author's life; some on the historical circumstances that shaped the work. Some offer a close reading or formal analysis; some, a moral or political essay on the work's theme. Many combine all these approaches. All of the Introductions speak directly to the reader and are testaments to the continuing importance and relevance of these classic works, even as the twenty-first century unfolds new challenges and dreams.


Our Footnotes are designed to inform, and never to intrude. The elegant superscripts are clearly visible within the text, and the corresponding notes appear on the foot of the page for ease of reference. With a glance, footnotes briefly identify historical figures, gloss obsolete terms, and translate foreign words and phrases. Longer explanatory notes appear as endnotes in the back of each classic.


Each endnote is indicated within the text by a numeric superscript. Endnotes may explore a controversy, clarify an historical reference, or provide important information relevant to the text. Each entry in this section repeats the original word or phrase, and identifies the note by chapter number, page number, and note number, for easy reference.

Inspired By...

Classics have progeny. Each of the masterful works in this program has inspired at least one sequel, in the literal sense of "that which follows as a result." Our original Inspired By section lists and describes selected imitations, parodies, poems, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and, of course, films inspired by the work—tributaries through which the classic text flows into the currents of our culture. This unique section offers an accessible point of entry into the classic work, while underscoring the renewed cultural relevancy of the classics.

Comments and Questions

In crafting the original Comments and Questions section, we thoroughly research both classic and contemporary commentary surrounding the work and select the very best from the group. These comments range from remarks brief as Ernest Hemingway's quip that "all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," to substantial excerpts from long studies, such as Henry James's Hawthorne. The Comments are followed by questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations. Consulting Editorial Director George Stade has formulated the core questions intrinsic to each of these classics, bringing to bear his expertise in world literature. Comments and Questions are invaluable to teachers, students, and reading groups across the country.

For Further Reading

For Further Reading lists works related to the primary text, opening the door to the biographical, historical, and critical universe surrounding each classic work.