Several weeks ago, I was appalled to hear that a publisher had reprinted Wuthering Heights with a cover that was clearly mimicking the Twilight book covers. (And in case we didn’t make the connection, the cover spells it out: “Bella and Edward’s Favorite Book.”) Fine. I’ve never actually enjoyed Wuthering Heights anyway, so let the legion of Twilight fans be sucked in by the marketing schemes of HarperTeen.
Sadly, the trend didn’t stop there. They’ve Twilight-ified Pride and Prejudice.
Bastardos! Now, I’m down with vampire lore, old and new. Buffy, Angel, the original Dracula novel, Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, Interview with the Vampire, The Lost Boys (Jason Patric, boys eating maggots, Edward “Lorelai Gilmore’s Dad” Hermann, does it get any better than that?) . . . bring it on! I just don’t see why Pride and Prejudice needs to look like Twilight to get girls (or boys) to pick it up and read it. And what, what, does this cover have to do with the style of Jane Austen? It’s soppy, cheesy, and over-simplified. It has no sense of humor. Do we see Lizzie and Darcy throwing flowers at each other in the dark? No, we see them in a duel of wits on the dance floor. A pair of crossed swords would have made a better, albeit still too romantic, cover for our beloved Pride and Prejudice.
Maybe it’s that I produce books for a living, but I have strong feeling on the subject of book covers. My favorite Jane Austen cover designs are from the mid-1990s, published by State Street Press (an imprint of Borders). I like the clean look, the modern type with the old fashioned images. And, because I am a production dork, I love that the images are glossy on a matte background, making them pop.
I also like the new illustrated cover from Penguin Classics. Slightly Edward Gorey-esque style (though true Ruben Toledo fans might not like me referencing another artist), but clean and fun. You can almost see them flirtatiously throwing insults at each other the moment before.
What’s your favorite cover design for a Jane Austen book, and why?