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?