Tuesday, 6 October 2009

New Nabokovs

A recent post previewed two of Penguin UK's newly redesigned Vladimir Nabokovs.






I've managed to get hold of a few more from the series. Some of these work really well, and some I'm less certain about--I need to see them in the real world. I'm still unsure of the designer(s), too. (UPDATE: All-seeing Alan Trotter tells me it's Pentagram.)


 
 
 
 
 
 

They have a very mid-century, European look, which is appropriate enough. I especially like The Eye and Despair, while Laughter in the Dark doesn't seem remotely sinister enough, even with the hint of blood.

MORE UPDATES: Joseph of the amazing Book Design Review pointed out these amazing American Nabokov reissues which are imminent, while Kev Mears has this startling edition of Despair lurking in his shelves.

13 comments:

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Many of these covers look amateurish. I like “King Queen Knave” and “The Eye”. The rest look like teenage artwork to me. I’m sure that’s supposed to be part of the appeal… but I don’t know.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

These are lovely. This is the kind of playful, yet evocative, conceptual work you want on such great literature. I think it's a great repackage and am sure it took much thought to arrive at this solution and have it approved and off to press.

Nothing amateur going on here. Only high style, art and delectable visual pleasure.

Alan Trotter said...

They're by Pentagram, I believe, and I absolutely freaking love all of them.

Brian Busby said...

While I'm not a great fan of these, I can certainly understand their appeal. That said, might the series design be a bit too confining? Laughter in the Dark provides an example. I'd imagine it's a challenge to convey darkness and foreboding when obliged to work with an off-white background. And yet, The Enchanter is a great success.

Joseph said...

There's this Nabokov series redesign as well: http://johngall.blogspot.com/2009/09/sneak-peek.html

Kev Mears said...

I think some work better that others. 'Pnin' was my favourite. Looking at them made me think of one I have on my shelves

JRSM said...

Thanks all for the comments. Alan, I'll add the Pentagram info to the post. Joseph, those Knopf Nabokovs are lovely--I'll add that link, too. And Kev: that 'Despair' cover is genuinely startling and very memorable. Panther weren't all about naked chicks on covers, then.

Anonymous said...

Great covers.

Pnin and Collected Short Stories, work the least for me. The designs look way too heavy and messy, in terms of composition.

Steerforth said...

I loathe them. I hate the font, the centre panel and the insipid covers. Neither fish nor fowl.

JRSM said...

Crikey!

MSB said...

While I think I like the concept of the covers (the sparse middle panel, the pastel color scheme), I do not like the execution of them at all. There's too much going on in all of them and the drawings/watercolors on each are not in a consistent style.

I'm definitely looking forward to the American redesigns, though. I've been hoping for those for years.

Thomas said...

I think these are fantastic. Makes me want a whole bunch of Nabokov.

JRSM said...

I don't think I've posted anything before that's produced such strong, divergent reactions.