Countless lists of “100 Classics to Read” (or similar) exist for those works which have been defined as “capital L” Literature, works that stand the test of time. When one thinks about reading “the classics” as it pertains to literature, certain books and authors come to mind, many of which are books from white and/or eurocentric voices. How the link between what is considered “good literature” and the prevailing default toward white and eurocentric storytelling be addressed so that more space can be made for broader and more varied voices?

This project “Some New Classics” takes a close look at the NYRB Classics - an imprint specializing in “reissuing volumes that have fallen out of print or been otherwise neglected”. This project seeks to understand the cultural makeup of this collection, and whether or not it is a collection that, by its existence, disrupts and decentralizes the current cultural and geographic overall homogeneity of “the classics.” Through primarily the use of python, this project seeks to retrieve, organize, and disseminate information about the NYRB Classics with respect to original language of the works and location of birth and death of the authors. To accomplish these tasks, we will scrape information from the NYRB Classics website, as well as use OpenRefine to reconcile scraped data to wikidata items for both author information and language family information.

Visit our website or view the project on github for more information.