|Parent company||Penguin Random House|
|Founders||Harold K. Guinzburg, George Oppenheimer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||New York City|
|Key people||President-Brian Tart, Children's publisher Kenneth Wright|
|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 and then acquired by the Penguin Group in 1975.
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." B. W. Huebsch joined the firm shortly afterward. Harold Guinzburg's son Thomas became president in 1961.
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.
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.
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. Junior Books was renamed to Viking Children's Books at some point in the past. 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[update], Viking Children's publisher is Kenneth Wright.
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.
|Don DeLillo||White Noise||Mark Osteen||1998||As of October 2019, the latest publication in the series.|
|Graham Greene||The Quiet American||John Clark Pratt||1996|
|James Joyce||Dubliners||Robert Scholes||1996|
|James Joyce||Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man||Chester G. Anderson||1977||The only title known to include explanatory end notes.|
|Ken Kesey||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||John Clark Pratt||1977||Out of print.|
|Jack Kerouac||On the Road||Scott Donaldson||1979||Out of print.|
|Arthur Miller||The Crucible||Gerald Weales||1996|
|Arthur Miller||Death of a Salesman||Gerald Weales||1996|
|John Steinbeck||The Grapes of Wrath||Kevin Hearle||1997|
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.