Viking Press

Last updated
Viking Press
Viking-press-logo.jpg
Parent company Penguin Random House
StatusActive
Founded1925;95 years ago (1925)
Founders Harold K. Guinzburg, George S. Oppenheim
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters location New York City
Key peoplePresident-Brian Tart, Children's publisher Kenneth Wright
Imprints
  • Viking Kestrel
  • Viking Adult
  • Viking children's Books
  • Viking Portable Library
Official website Viking Books

Viking Press (formally Viking Penguin, also listed as Viking Books) is an American publishing company now owned by Penguin Random House. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim [1] and then acquired by the Penguin Group in 1975. [2] [3]

Contents

History

Guinzburg, a Harvard graduate and former employee of Simon and Schuster and Oppenheimer, a graduate of Williams College and Alfred A. Knopf, founded Viking in 1925 with the goal of publishing nonfiction and “distinguished fiction with some claim to permanent importance rather than ephemeral popular interest.” [4] B. W. Huebsch joined the firm shortly afterward. Harold Guinzburg's son Thomas became president in 1961. [4]

The firm's name and logo—a Viking ship drawn by Rockwell Kent—were meant to evoke the ideas of adventure, exploration, and enterprise implied by the word "Viking."

In August 1961, they acquired H.B. Huesbsch, which maintained a list of backlist titles from authors such as James Joyce and Sherwood Anderson. The first imprint was The Book of American Negro Spirituals, edited by James Weldon Johnson. The young firm focused on aggressive advertising and a liberal return policy. These policies, along with popular fiction authors Dorothy Parker, D.H. Lawrence and Erskine Caldwell, as well as non-fiction authors Bertrand Russell and Mohandis Gandhi, helped the firm weather the Depression.

The house has been home to many prominent authors of fiction, non-fiction, and play scripts. Five Viking authors have been awarded Nobel Prizes for Literature and one received the Nobel Peace Prize; Viking books have also won numerous Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and other important literary prizes.

The Viking Children's Book department was established in 1933; its founding editor was May Massee. Viking Kestrel was one of its imprints. Its books have won the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and include such books as The Twenty-One Balloons , written and illustrated by William Pene du Bois (1947, Newbery medal winner for 1948), Corduroy , Make Way for Ducklings , The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (1993), The Outsiders , Pippi Longstocking , and The Story of Ferdinand . Its paperbacks are now published by Puffin Books, which includes the Speak and Firebird imprints. From 2012 and as of 2016, Viking Children's publisher is Kenneth Wright. [5]

In 1943, the Viking Portable Library was introduced, a series designed to provide compact, well-printed anthologies for the general reader and college students. These compilations encompassed works by Hemingway, Steinbeck and Shakespeare. Over the next decade, Viking published works by Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Rumer Godden and Rex Stout. Saul Bellow published his third novel, The Adventure of Augie March in 1953, and would publish his next five works with the press, including the Pulitzer Prize winning Humboldt's Gift in 1975. In 1957, Jack Kerouac's On the Road was published by the press, and during the 1960s Viking published works by Hannah Arendt, Theodore Draper, Zbignew Brzezinski, Ian Fleming, Ken Kesey, and Jimmy Breslin.

Viking publishes approximately 75 books a year. It has published both successful commercial fiction and acclaimed literary fiction and non-fiction, and its paperbacks are most often published by Penguin Books. Viking's current president is Brian Tart. [6]

Imprints

Viking Children's

In 1933, Viking Press founded a department called Junior Books to publish children's books. The first book published was The Story About Ping in 1933 under editor May Massee. Other stories published under the Viking label early in its history include The Story of Ferdinand (1936), Make Way for Ducklings (1941), and The Twenty-One Balloons (1947). Junior Books was renamed to Viking Children's Books at some point in the past. It currently publishes approximately sixty titles a year.

Notable authors

Notable authors under other imprints

Notable editors

Series

Viking Critical Library

The Viking Critical Library offers academic editions of literary texts. Like W. W. Norton's Norton Critical Editions, all titles print the text alongside a selection of critical essays and contextual documents (including relevant extracts from the author's oeuvre). The series, which only saw sporadic publications in the late '70s and late '90s, has been dormant since 1998, with no new titles released since then. However, a number of existing titles remain in print.

Titles
AuthorTitleEditorYear publishedNotes
Don DeLillo White Noise Mark Osteen1998As of October 2019, the latest publication in the series.
Graham Greene The Quiet American John Clark Pratt1996
James Joyce Dubliners Robert Scholes 1996
James Joyce Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Chester G. Anderson1977The only title known to include explanatory end notes.
Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest John Clark Pratt1977Out of print.
Jack Kerouac On the Road Scott Donaldson1979Out of print.
Arthur Miller The Crucible Gerald Weales1996
Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman Gerald Weales1996
John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath Kevin Hearle1997

Awards

Related Research Articles

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William Sherman "Billy" Pène du Bois was an American writer and illustrator of books for young readers. He is best known for The Twenty-One Balloons, published in April 1947 by Viking Press, for which he won the 1948 Newbery Medal. As illustrator he was twice a runner-up for the Caldecott Medal written by others, which he illustrated (below), and the two Caldecott Honor picture books, which he also wrote.

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Penguin Random House book publishing company

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References

  1. Kenneth T. Jackson; Lisa Keller; Nancy Flood (1995). The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition . New York City: Yale University Press. ISBN   978-0300055368.
  2. Egli, ed. (1975). "Viking Press Is Sold To Penguin Books". School Library Journal . New York City: Media Source Inc. 22 (4): 16.
  3. Whitman, Alden (November 11, 1975). "Viking Press Is Sold to Penguin Books". The New York Times . New York City: The New York Times Company . Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  4. 1 2 Weber, Bruce (September 10, 2010). "Thomas Guinzburg, Paris Review Co-Founder, Dies at 84". The New York Times . New York City: The New York Times Company . Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  5. "Viking Children's Books". Penguin Random House . Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  6. "Brian Tart | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 2017-09-13.

Further reading

Bean, Martha Sue. A History and Profile of the Viking Press, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Theses, 1969.

"Viking Press, Viking Penguin", Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 46, pp. 365-368.