This post comes from our French intern, R. Follow them at @Libre _R.
New Directions delivers about 30 works of great quality with a specific attention to prose per year. Its high-caliber catalogue is no wonder. Since its creation in 1936 by James Laughlin on the offhand advice givent to him by Ezra Pound himself, its mission has been to look for innovative new writers, and making Americans discover the best foreign works. One look at their authors is enough.
I’m not only talking about the English writers outside of the United States such as Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, Christopher Isherwood and Anne Carson—New Directions was the first American publisher to put out works by Vladimir Nabokov, Jose Luis Borges and Henry Miller.
Of course, I am partial to how many classic, brilliant french authors New Directions noticed, such as Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, Raymond Queneau, Guillaume Apollinaire (the guy with the calligrams), Henri Michaux, Jean-Paul Sartre, and my personal favorites, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé.
I also have a soft spot for their germanic choices: Herman Hesse, Goethe, Franz Kafka, and Rainer Maria Rilke, all today renowned. Some of their latinx authors are also amongst the most beautiful writers known to this day: Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, Federico García Lorca, Robert Bolaño, and Julio Cortázar.
And New Directions goes far and wide in their search for the best literature to give to Americans, as they also have Osamu Dazai and Buddha in their catalogue.
This is far from being an exhaustive list. You can check out their website for a list of all their authors, and see for yourself if, perhaps, your favorite classic writer has passed through the careful hands of New Directions; and then, maybe, you will trust them (and us booksellers who love this indie publisher) enough to go look at their new books.
You should definitely check these classic authors out but also keep an eye out for new New Directions (hah) books, as this independent house is dedicated to continue to look for the best contemporary writers and introduce them to you.