Wednesday, July 23, 2014

First-edition cover designs vs. modern updates

Ain't technology wonderful? This feature on Buzzfeed has a slider mechanism whereby they show you the original, often fusty cover of a classic novel and then underneath is a recent remake. Pretty cool. In some cases (as with the Wizard of Oz), I thought there was no need to mess with a good thing. I do like the new design for Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God; but the one replacing Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell's graphic for To the Lighthouse seems a bit too literal.
The new George Orwell 1984 is suitably menacing, and the Kerouac On the Road is an improvement. Interesting that the old and new Edith Wharton Age of Innocence covers both feature a woman artistically rendered, but the new one pops more, even though the old one has a plaintive, period quality that's not unappealing. The new Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea is blah, very thumbs down, while the new The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe of C.S. Lewis just seems overdone and cheesy to me. The typography and graphics of the first To Kill a Mockingbird cover also seem far superior.
What are some of your likes/dislikes?


  1. I agree that the To The Lighthouse should have stayed the original. As for the On The Road, I'm usually not a big fan of when they change the cover to match the movie.

    Also, what else can you really do with Old Man and the Sea? But I guess we could have a more photogenic sea.

  2. In general I am a fan of the more stylized, less photographic cover, so I like the old covers on many things, although I don't have a preference on TKAM - they are both equally lovely. And the new cover of Huckleberry Finn is very fun and lively.

  3. I remember being really bothered by the new Gatsby cover that came out with the movie. Most movie-cast-photo-covers get on my nerves. Roberto Bolano has had a wonderful run of American cover art, my favorite of which might be .

    1. I agree with you and Molly that movie covers are bogus.