Re-Imagining the Covers of the Classics: Fail or Win?

For a publisher, nothing is sweeter than re-issuing a well-loved classic. Dead authors plus expired copyright equals pure profit!

The challenge then is to make that classic appeal to a new generation of readers.

Imagine if you're Sally Jo. You love Twilight, Hot Topic is your favorite store and you read Perez Hilton every day. Which of the following would you rather read?

If you're a high schooler, chances are you're going to hate WH regardless of the cover, as most of my class did (not I - dark, depressing, Romantic = right up my alley!) It's lengthy and nothing at all like the films.

That said, I think there's nothing wrong with the creative re-imagining of a classic's cover. Ruben Toledo, who designed the cover above and will also do so for Penguin Deluxe Editions of Pride & Prejudice and The Scarlett Letter, is an accomplished illustrator and well known for his work in the fashion industry for the likes of Louis Vuitton. It's an unusual pairing - high fashion and Victorian lit - and I think it gives it a modern appeal that will blow off some of the dust from these very worthy tomes.

To dig a little deeper into the issue, Puffin is re-issuing the first three books in the Anne of Green Gables series. The covers are designed by Lauren Child, the creator of the Charlie and Lola series. They are admittedly a bit off-the-wall and so, as overheard on Twitter, not much liked by some.

I think that these covers are the perfect antidote to the sentimentalism that has shrouded the Anne series and the character, herself. The books are not just cutesy fables of a time when horse-drawn carriages swept over hilltops in PEI and charming little girls wore frocks and were Very Good. It's also about abandonment, being different and the travails of growing up as a headstrong female. The covers give us a little push to see Anne from a new angle, to keep her fresh for this generation and beyond.

Via Jezebel
Via Marci at Serendipitous Readings
Via LM Montgomery Research Group

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