Judging by a Cover: Alluring Lewdness

Book jackets, like sheet music, have long been designed to entice potential consumers to buy the product.

The more alluring the imagery the better . . . sometimes. In the case of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” the first cover published for the Olympia Press’s steamy Traveller’s Companion Series had no image whatsoever; lewd content was a given for all who followed this series. Other jackets were more suggestive. And Nabokov had his own ideas, as noted in Lolita.

The Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov’s Novel in Art and Design, edited by John Bertram and Yuri Leving.

“I want pure colors,” Nabokov wrote, “accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls.”

He didn’t get his way. In addition to an astute history of the cover designs for later editions, based on Dieter E. Zimmer’s online gallery, this book presents new possibilities by contemporary designers. You can get it here.


Source: New York Times


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