Wrong Covers?

I won’t go into the account of our trip to La Rochelle. It’s a perfectly nice small town and harbour, but the return train trip was a harrowing 8-hours affair involving a broken catenary, 50+ trains stuck in the countryside by night, passengers on edge, firefighters with water bottles and a very very tired Baby Smithereens. Not your idea of a perfect vacation. Which explains why I am not on top form today.

So I’ll just share with you a kind of mild shock coming from the newest Jane Austen paperback collection in French translation. Guess what artist they select for the front covers?

Yes… Dante Gabriel Rossetti! In case you can’t really see, these are the covers of Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, and the whole collection is based on this strange association. I can’t think of any other painter who would be further in my mind from Jane Austen’s universe. Did Pre-raphaelites artists even acknowledge her? I’m not sure, but to me Jane Austen’s heroins are very different from these ethereal, late Victorian, slightly erotic creatures. I really do wonder what the publisher had in mind. Am I the only one to think that this choice is rather incongruous?


4 thoughts on “Wrong Covers?

  1. I think it is based on the assumption that people don’t really know the cultural context of either Austen or Rossetti but that they will recognize something iconic about it none the less. It is an incongruous choice. Or maybe the cover designer didn’t make that assumption, but rather was ignorant him/herself and somehow thought they represented the same era, same cultural influences, some philosophical school of thought.

  2. oh for pete’s sake – that’s not Emma!!!!!
    and Rosetti used the same model for so many of his paintings (that lovely redhead) so that I can’t think of the covers representing the books at all, but rather of Rosetti and his favorite muse.
    Pictures of stone walls with ivies growing on them would have been better.

  3. Oh dear! Very incongruous. And I’m so sorry to hear about the horrid return journey – what a nightmare that must have been with a baby. I do hope you’ve got a little time to get yourself rested and back on an even keel.

  4. Cam, I’m afraid I believe more in the ignorant cover designer theory! But it’s not easily forgivable that his/her choice has been validated by the publisher…

    Oh, actually I mentioned the covers in the wrong order. The red-head girl cover is for Pride and Prejudice… so it might be Elizabeth Bennett!?!? Equally wrong choice anyway…

    Litlove, all things considered Baby Smithereens was quite patient for his age… He is quite recovered now (routine is the best healer, right? so much for holidays and his parents’ taste for a change of scenery)

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