I enjoyed clicking around a crowdsourced graphic design project called Recovering the Classics the other day featuring new covers for old classics produced by anyone and everyone who had the inclination. Bibliographic art is always interesting to me, and I think it is a dynamic genre as interest in things that appear to be fading naturally and conversely escalates. Even though some of the cover designs are a bit simplistic (or confusing, or not particularly representative of what’s inside), it’s interesting to compare them: just click on a big image and you will see all the other submissions for the same title. I am naturally drawn to the starker, more symbolic designs as well as those which are slightly retro or antiqued in some way, and I am a sucker for nearly every new cover of Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter that I encounter: they are always an easy A in my book.

rtc_The+Scarlet+Letter_MrFurious framed


rtc_The+Wonderful+Wizard+of+Oz_Ji+Sug+Kang framed

RTC Kafka Collage

RTC Jekyll Hyde Covers



rtc_Dracula_Steve+St+++Pierre framed

RTC Frankenstein Collage

Book covers by MrFurious (The Scarlet Letter), Huy Ho (Jane Eyre); Ji Sug Kang (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); J.R.J. Sweeney and Roberto Lanznaster (Metamorphosis); Ioannis Fetanis and MrFurious (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde);  Michelle Kondrich (The Jungle); Nick fairbank..f9 design (The Jungle Book); Steve St. Pierre (Dracula); and Luis Prado, Alexis Tapia, and Ed Gaither–Modern Electrographic (Frankenstein). I don’t know why no one has caught the prominent typo yet!

More covers on view at Recovering the Classics.

2 responses to “Recovered

  • Brian Bixby

    I would so like to chuck some of the duller covers in my library, I have to admit.

    I was in the local sci-fi/fantasy bookshop the other day. It seems the default cover is of a young woman positioned with a background that implies she both has supernatural powers and is going to have to cope with others who have similar powers. A certain poverty of imagination there.

    Even worse, there was an amusing article in the current “Fortean Times” about gothic novels, which dredged up paperback covers from the 1960s. Again, it’s a young woman, dressed in something that might be 19th century night clothing, but often a bit more revealing, looking as if she wants to run away from a mansion in the background as a storm brews.

  • daseger

    That’s why I put the Jane Eyre cover in there! It reminded me of one of those mid-century gothic romances, but slightly updated.

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