Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lolita, light of my life, inspiration for bad covers.

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that I really love books -- that while the horrible English Ph.D. has all sucked away the joy of the insides of many a great book, at the very least there's still the fabulous outside, the tangible, material artifact of the book itself.

John Bertram, a Nabokov aficionado, just announced the results of his Lolita cover design contest on his blog, Venus Febriculosa.  While waiting for chocolate chip cookies to bake up this afternoon, I perused the entries.

Bertram's favorite was this entry from Lyuba Haleva of Bulgaria:

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I dig the wings ("Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied."), though I'm not sure I love the art nouveau quality of the lettering and graphics.

My favorites included:
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This submission by Derek McCalla neatly and lyrically summarizes the book in a single image, no?

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This cover, by Aleksander Bak, is suggestive without being graphic.  And I love me a good visual double entendre.

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I was drawn to this cover by Justin Chen, possibly because it reminds me of something Coralie Bickford-Smith might have created.  I would love it more if, instead of girls' heads (too literal, though one could argue that it plays up the multiple permutations of a fantasy Lolita in Humbert's head), he would have used butterflies.
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This cover by Ralph Burkhardt grabbed me because of its visual pop, but also because the rorschach blot (is it a butterfly or the public bone or something else?) does a nice job of instantiating the novel's theme/demand of interpretation.

The submissions that I was most fascinated by, though, were the ones that were just. plain. wrong.  Wrong in so many ways.  Like this one:

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Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.  And ew.

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This one makes me laugh.  Word of advice for those aspiring to win a book cover design contest: you might want to read the book.

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This one, aside from having nothing whatsoever to do with Lolita, reminds me of the airbrushed "art" you see in Vietnamese nail salons.  For some reason, it also reminds me of Lisa Frank notebooks from sixth grade.

Okay, let's discuss this one:

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I have mixed feelings about this.  I want to like it.  But it repulses me.  Sort of like Humbert Humbert, I suppose.

Did you take a look at the entries?  Which were your favorites?

2 comments:

sassandpancakes February 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM  

Oh wow, some of these are cool! I love Lolita, as pervy and uncomfortable as it is...I think the first one may be my fave.

charms February 22, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

that last one is really creeping me out. something about the hair is just gross. that hawaiian looking one is hilarious too.

i love Lolita too!

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