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Random House Inc. and the Voyager Software Company are updating a venerable publishing imprint for the computer age.

Beginning in September, the Modern Library, launched 75 years ago to provide inexpensive hardcover versions of classic titles, will reissue 25 works, including its first published title, The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. With the software company, Random House will also bring the titles on-line, with its first series of classics on disk.

The "Expanded Books'' disk series is designed to be read on the Apple PowerBook computer. The software will allow readers to highlight text and create customized word searches, indexes, and automated tracking of characters and themes. An audio component will also make such additions as author's and critic's notes, and readings, a possibility for the future, according to Voyager.

The Modern Library Classics reprints will be available for $12.50 to $22.50. The disks, each containing one classic work, will be available in retail stores for $19.95 to $24.95 in August.

Another joint publishing venture in the works will produce a new imprint of young-adult fiction and nonfiction stressing international and multicultural themes.

Henry Holt & Company Inc. and Fawcett Books announced the project this spring. Tentatively titled "Banyan Books,'' the imprint will introduce to an American audience both new and previously published multicultural works, including poetry, fiction, and biographies.

Holt will publish the initial hardcover versions of the books; Fawcett will follow with paperbacks, no sooner than one year after the first printing.

The imprint is expected to publish four titles per year, beginning in the spring of 1993 with two titles. One of the first books will be Shizuku's Daughter, by Kyoko Mori, about a Japanese girl's coming of age; the other will be a book by a Namibian author.

The company that created the American Girls historical-doll and picture-book series will launch a general-interest magazine for girls ages 7 and up in September.

To be called American Girl, the advertising-free bimonthly magazine will, in addition to continuing the stories of American Girl characters, feature interviews and essays by young writers, short stories by noted children's authors, and articles on entertainment, the arts, sports, and games.

The first issue will be available at newsstands this fall. Subscriptions can be made in January 1993, by contacting the Pleasant Company in Middleton, Wis.; (800) 845-0005.

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