You know how whenever a classic novel is made into a movie, the novel is reissued with a new, glossy cover featuring the actors from the film? I've never really liked those reissues (though I do own several of them), because they make it so much harder for me to remember how the characters looked in my mind's eye before the film version came along. Even when I really like the film, I'm bothered by these covers. There's just something way too literal and imagination-restricting about them. Case in point: I have a cheap, mass-market paperback copy of Sense and Sensibility which I purchased around the time Ang Lee's film version (starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet) was released. I adore the film; it is probably my favorite of the recent Austen screen adaptations. But when I re-read the novel, I want to be able to picture Elinor Dashwood as someone other than Emma Thompson trying to look like she's twenty. With her picture on the cover, staring at me every time I pick up the book, I just can't do it.
That's really sort of a long and winding road leading up to what I really wanted to talk about, which is this cool slide show appearing in Slate today. I had no idea that some classics had been issued in the 50's with pulp-inspired cover illustrations. My favorite is the Moby Dick cover, which is brilliant in the way it gets right to the point of what the novel is actually about, plot aside. This illustration also made me consider for the first time ever the ways in which Moby Dick and Hitchcock's Vertigo are similar. That's a pretty neat trick for a mere book cover!Posted by at May 25, 2006 6:30 PM | TrackBack