"There was a triumvirate: Nonesuch, Penguin Books, and Dover. Impossibly obscure stuff reprinted and made available to you—you! The impoverished student with bizarre interests! You have friends and benefactors!—for a song. Penguin: Bede, Celtic Miscellany, Chaucer (that one wasn’t a very good translation, actually), Dante, Virgil, Pliny the Younger, Adam Smith…for a song, folks. The stuff you only see cited elsewhere is yours! Dover: music availability, old books, Debussy’s M. Croche, Jamews Huneker on Chopin… Surely they’re taking a loss on this stuff! I worked fast food jobs for a while, and would bring Penguin classics to get me through. Remember Macchiavelli’s account, from his exile from Florence, about dressing in his best clothes every evening and dwelling among the Ancients and conversing with them? That was me at 19, minus the good clothes—Virgil and Pliny on my break, and the miserable Burger King on Holt Avenue in Pomona would fade into invisibility around me. I mean, come on! Pliny was talking about aqueducts!"He's right about the translations, too.
From Dial "M" for Musicology on old Nonesuch records: