Judge Me By My Cover - Terrible Makeovers of Classic Book Covers

Bell Jar covers, new and old
Category: Reading

This week, Faber released news of a special edition of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, to mark the 50th anniversary of her death. This is pretty unsurprising and something publishers do all the time, but when images of the shiny new cover emerged, the internet did not approve.

Comments have already come from The London Review of Books, the Guardian and Jezebel, calling the new cover ‘hideous’ and ‘awesomelycomicallyhistorically inappropriate’ with LRB adding:

‘The anniversary edition fits into the depressing trend for treating fiction by women as a genre, which no man could be expected to read and which women will only know is meant for them if they can see a woman on the cover.’

Jezebel also made the pretty good point that ‘If Sylvia Plath hadn't already killed herself, she probably would've if she saw [this]’.

Sadly, this isn’t the first of many classic works of literature (almost exclusively by women) to get the makeover treatment. A recent trend has seen a wealth of classic novels taken aside by their pretty friends in the Marketing department and told that if they just wore their hair back from their face and tried a little lipstick, they would make WAY more friends.

Though I am totally in support of trying to get new audiences to try books they think they might not like, please, give female readers a little credit.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Cats Eye cover

This is definitely not what I think of when I think of Margaret Atwood

Pride and Prejudice cover

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Romeo and Juliet cover

Hipster Romeo and Juliet

Scarlet Letter cover

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Tiffanys cover

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Wuthering Heights cover

This one is my absolute favourite: Wuthering Heights aka Edward and Bella's favourite book! 

Do you have a favourite book cover that missed the mark?