Forget bubble bath and limp Carnations this year, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, The Folio Society has compiled a list of some of their beautiful books which make great gifts for both her and him.  From classic literature, to modern fiction and poetry, these works of love will make the perfect  and thoughtful gift.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s By Truman Capote

Introduced by Jay McInerney
Illustrated by Karen Klassen

Price:  £29.95 Available exclusively from:  www.FolioSociety.com

Beginning with a chance glimpse in a shared apartment building, Truman Capote’s enchanting novella charts the friendship between an aspiring writer who has just moved to New York City, and his neighbour Holly Golightly: girl about town, genteel gold-digger and free spirit. It is one of the quintessential American stories of the 20th century. This edition features striking artwork by Canadian artist Karen Klassen, whose background is in fashion illustration. Holly is at the centre of each of her images, including her dramatic binding design, depicting Holly on top of the Manhattan skyline.

 

Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen

Introduced by Sebastian Faulks
 – Illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso

Price:  £36.95 Available exclusively from: www.FolioSociety.com

Both a sparkling comedy of manners and gripping romance, Pride and Prejudice remains one of the best-loved books in the world. One of the world’s favourite books, Pride and Prejudice has long been regarded as a classic romance. In Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Austen created the greatest pair of sparring lovers since Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedick. This sparkling comedy of manners features an inimitable cast of characters including the obsequious Mr Collins, the autocratic Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Mrs Bennet, the most embarrassing mother in literature.

 

Vita Nuova By Dante Alighieri 

Translated by Mark Musa –  Introduced by A. N. Wilson
 – Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus

Price:  £36.95 Available exclusively from:  www.FolioSociety.com

Exquisite illustrations accompany this captivating meditation on love, beauty and spiritual awakening. An innovative mix of prose and poetry, the Vita nuova broke new ground by appearing in Italian rather than the customary Latin; as A. N. Wilson (author of Dante in Love and The Victorians) writes in his introduction, Dante set out ‘to recreate Italian, to give the very language a “new life”’. It is a meditation on poetry, and on the torments and joys of love – from Dante’s ‘blessed happiness, which many times exceeded and overflowed my brim’, to his bitter despair when Beatrice rejects him. But at the heart of the Vita nuova is something that far transcends the travails of a lovesick youth; Beatrice is gradually revealed as an ethereal rather than an earthly being, while Dante encounters otherworldly figures, including the charming Love himself. ‘It is’, Wilson writes, ‘an erotic autobiography, it is a spiritual apologia, it is a densely packed meditation upon the allegorical interpretation of love in literature, both sacred and profane.’

 

Dylan Thomas: Selected Poems

By Dylan Thomas – Introduced by Owen Sheers

Price:  £29.95 Available exclusively from:  www.FolioSociety.com

This edition includes poems from all five of his collected works, as well as the unfinished, ‘Elegy’. Dylan Thomas was a true literary star, and Wales’s greatest 20th-century poet. During his short life he was internationally celebrated and scrutinised, his fame and lifestyle precursors to the rock and roll excesses of the Beat Generation that followed. But at the heart of this celebrity status was a vast poetic talent. From 1934—53, Thomas composed some of the most memorable, quoted and cherished verse of the modern era. This edition, published to mark the centenary of Thomas’s birth, includes selections from all five of his collected works: 18 Poems, Twentyfive Poems, The Map of Love, Deaths and Entrances and In Country Sleep, plus one further unfinished poem, ‘Elegy’.

 

John Keats: Selected Poems

By John Keats  – Edited by John Barnard – Introduced by Andrew Motion
Illustrated by Simon Brett

Price:  £29.95 Available exclusively from:  www.FolioSociety.com

His verse is among the most seductive in English literature and many of his couplets – ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know’ – continue to enchant and tantalise readers to this day. Most of Keats’s major poems date from an extraordinary burst of creativity in 1819, and these are all included in this collection: ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, ‘The Fall of Hyperion, A Dream’, ‘Lamia’ and the famous lyrics ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ and ‘To Autumn’. The intensity of Keats’s meditations on nature, art, mortality and love, and the way they emerged from the briefest of lives, has made Keats a leading figure of the Romantic movement. As Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate, writes in his fascinating introduction: ‘The courage and cleverness of Keats in developing these ideas is deeply impressive. The capture of them in poems is not much short of miraculous.

 

The Princess Bride

By William Goldman – Illustrated by Mark Thomas

Price:  £38.95 Available exclusively from:  www.FolioSociety.com

Featuring giants, duels, man-eating swamp rats and, of course, true love, Goldman’s funny and poignant lampoon of the fairy-tale tradition has inadvertently become a classic of the genre. Mythologised by the author as the ‘Good Parts’ version of a magnificent book by the ‘great Florinese writer’, S. Morgenstern, The Princess Bride is a gripping tongue-in-cheek fairy tale. It tells the story of Buttercup, an exceptionally beautiful girl who rises from unlikely beginnings to receive the dubious hand-in- marriage of the barrel-like Prince Humperdinck. Meanwhile her true love, Westley the farm boy, must cross perilous seas, climb the Cliffs of Insanity, fight off man-eating swamp rats and survive the abominable Zoo of Death to rescue her from a grisly end. Fast-paced and funny, The Princess Bride lampoons the fairy-tale tradition but is at once a classic in its own right.

 

Goblin Market and Selected Poems

By Christina Rossetti – Introduced by Kathryn Hughes – Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

 Price:  £39.95 Available exclusively from:  www.FolioSociety.com

 Christina Rossetti is one of the most frequently anthologised of 19th-century poets, her poems read at services and sung as hymns and carols. She is sometimes thought of as a fragile, pious invalid, an ‘angel in the house’ whose poems dwell on heaven and death, but further reading reveals a vital and exuberant poetic gift that influenced writers like Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf. This Folio Society edition brings together a selection of her finest verse.

First published in 1862, ‘Goblin Market’ is an extended poem about two young sisters who hear goblin merchants hawking their wares. Lizzie urges caution (‘Their offers should not charm us,/Their evil gifts would harm us’) but Laura eats the forbidden fruit and falls into a frenzy, then a decline from which her sister must save her. Considered shocking in its day, it is one of the most beguiling ‘fairy tales’ in the language. Other famous works include ‘A Christmas Carol’, set to music by both Gustav Holst and Harold Darke, ‘Remember’ and ‘Song [When I am dead, my dearest]’. Her love poems, such as ‘A Birthday’ (‘My heart is like a singing bird/Whose nest is in a watered shoot’) and ‘I wish I could remember that first day’, are also here. Many of Rossetti’s verses express a delight in the natural world, such as ‘Winter: My Secret’ and ‘What is pink? a rose is pink’. Others, like ‘The Queen of Hearts’, tease the reader with hidden meanings. As author Kathryn Hughes puts it in her introduction, ‘For every piece of verse that speaks of darkness, winter and death there is one that bubbles over with light, warmth and youthful energy.’ This Folio Society edition contains illustrations by Jillian Tamaki, which are by turns colourful, sensual and mysterious.