Once again borrowing from the guys and dolls over at Flavorwire, there’s a great article on the The 20 Most Iconic Book Covers Ever. As much as I detest list-articles, this made for an interesting read. Featuring a nice intro on the concept of the cover of the book shaping the artistic interpretation of the book itself. Whilst several of these may seem to be predictable (The Godfather, Atlas Shrugged), there are others that are classics for a reason; the art style of the cover are as well-remembered as the books themselves (The Great Gatsby, A Clockwork Orange) and one or two covers that I hadn’t seen before.
Whilst no means a comprehensive list, it is certainly a factor to consider – does the influence our perception of a book and do varying covers result in varying readings of the text? One of the most infamous examples of this would be the ever-controversial ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover‘ by DH Lawrence. Banned on its intial release, the book has undergone several different revivals by publishers over the years. There is most certainly a wildly differing choice of cover art. Here are but a few examples examples:
Here we have a range of different interpretations: Signet’s shows Lady Chatterley as a renaissance women, artfully spread across the bed; Penguin’s shows the the loins of Oliver Mellors, signifying the primal passion of the affair between the working-class man and the lady who lunches and Vintage’s shows the naked form, attempting to cover her modesty whilst oozing sensuality. As I mentioned, these are a drop in the ocean when it comes to the number of different guises the book has appeared under down the years. It certainly provides food for thought, how does the cover of the book you are reading represent the content?