Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
There are probably more than a few instances in every reader’s life when they have been induced to pick up or click on a book due to its outward appearance. When choosing cover, authors and publishers put a lot of thought into the audience they are trying to appeal to and often take great effort to package their book to attract and entice readers. Having been first published over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s books have seen many editions, reprints, and yes, lots of different and diverse covers. In this colorful and comprehensive compilation, author Margaret C. Sullivan takes readers on a visual journey of the many editions and covers that have housed the wonderful works written by Jane Austen.
This outstanding compilation is a true gem filled with beauty, information, and wit! I loved how these books were grouped and organized into separate chapters. These six chapters travel in chronological order beginning with the first editions published by Thomas Egerton and ending with a chapter devoted to the many different translated editions of Jane Austen works. There are large and lavish images of each cover with informative subsets and relevant Jane Austen quotes interspersed in between. All of which enhanced the interesting information and presented it in a stylish and tasteful way.
Besides the elegant visuals, my favorite element of this compilation was reading the hilarious and candid observations on covers made by Margaret C. Sullivan! Talk about acerbic wit!
“Persuasion’s Captain Wentworth appears to be alarmed by Anne Elliot’s décolletage, or perhaps that she seems to have forgotten to wear her stays.” – page 54
“…he looks like he fell off an Old Spice bottle.” – page 57
“Surely lovely Marianne and sensible Elinor weren’t as tight-lipped as these prim and dour maidens, with their thousand-yard stares and hair plastered over their ears. How is Willoughby supposed to clip a lock?” – page 98
“…she looks more like a girl going to a Goth prom than a character in a Jane Austen novel.” – page 127
LOL, right? It truly was interesting to think of what prompted publishers to choose the covers and styles they did. In addition, I found it fascinating to learn that many editions made changes to Jane Austen’s text!! Whether it is adding additional forwards and annotations, removing some of Elizabeth Bennet’s sauciness, or rewriting the text in a simpler language for young readers.
Jane Austen Cover to Cover is a treasure for ardent fans of Jane Austen and book-collecting! There is so much to discover from Ms. Sullivan’s thoughtful research, and the little touches she adds make this compilation everything that is elegant and enchanting! Off I go now to expand my own personal library!
Filming credit goes to my darling brother!
Inspired by the classifying of Jane Austen’s novels by edition in this compilation, I thought it would be fun to look at my own collection and see what I have. It is a small lot, I don’t have room to buy a lot of double and triple copies…but maybe later on!
1 Vintage Classic, 1 Bantam Classic, 1 Barnes and Noble Hardcover, 1 Modern Library Classics
2 Signet Classics, 1 Penguin Classics, 1 Oxford World’s Classics
1 Anchor Books Revised, 1 Harvard Annotated
What a mish-mash! It drives me up the wall that I don’t have any edition fully complete! UGGHHH!