Wednesday 18 May 2011

Chatterley Bonanza

D. H. Lawrence and his Lady Chatterley's Lover has cropped up quite a bit round here recently. I thought it might be entertaining to look at some of the current and past covers for this famous book (often famous for the wrong reasons). The two opening images here are lithograhs (by a Peter Schem?) from a 1956 French edition.

Let's start with the mind-addling variety of editions currently in print from Penguin...

The 50th anniversary edition from last year

The standard Penguin Classics edition, with art by Aaron Robinson (see here)

The current Penguin Essentials edition with art by Lucy McLauchlan (see here)

The Penguin Graphic Classics edition, with art from Chester Brown (click for much bigger version)

The Penguin Hardback Classics edition, designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith (interviewed here)

The Popular Penguins edition

Six different versions of one book in print from the one publisher? Not weird at all.

Then there are Penguin's various past editions, some of which are...

Popular Classics edition, 1990s

Various Penguin 20th Century Classics editions, late 1980s to mid-1990s
Penguin US, 1948

Film tie-in

Penguin, 1960

Penguin, 1978, photo by fashion/erotica photographer Harri Peccinotti (thanks, Gould!)

Penguin, 1980

Penguin Designer Classic by Paul Smith, 2006

Essential Penguin, 1990s

Penguin Modern Classic, early 2000s

Penguin US, 1946

Then there's the new edition from Vintage Classics, with a photo by Carla van de Puttelaar (see here for more)...

Some of you may remember a couple of awful ebook covers for other Lawrence novels. You'll be thrilled to know that the same company now has a Lady Chatterley edition to match, with Lady C and Mellors rather unexpectedly getting it on in an empty theatre.

This is not the only shitty ebook version out there. For example...

Mellors's smooth moods were her only distraction from the rising damp from Alpha Centauri

Wiped, but left toilet paper between buttocks
But let's get back to physical books from the past, both in English and not...

Ace, 1958: the erotic possibilities of a well-trimmed lawn

Tor, Argentina, 1939

Avon, 1950: big, big hair

Avon, 1956 (with bonus Lawrence): smaller hair makes for a useful hand-rest

Berkley, 1958: lipstick

Colombian edition, 1981: remember the era when every photo had this sort of soft-focus effect? Wasn't it awful?

Gallimard edition, French, 1963

French edition, 1985

Gallimard edition, French, 1960s: more scary hair

French edition, 1969

French edition, 1972: The Joy of Sex and Strategically Placed Vegetation
German edition, 1973

US edition, Grove, 1982

Civilização Brasileira edition, Brazil, designed by the amazing Eugênio Hirsch
Signet, 1950

Signet, 1957

Signet, 1959

Signet, 1959

Signet 1962: now it's a classic, we can show breasts

Signet, 2000s

Travellers Pocket Edition, Canada, 1949: the subtle version

Travellers Pocket Edition, Canada, 1949: the saucy version
Polish edition, 1991: hair big enough to contain a house

Spanish edition, 1978
And finally, a little further afield, the Hunt Emerson comic adaption...

..with the 'not for sale to wives and servants' line being a reference to one of the sillier utterances of Mervyn Griffith-Jones, prosecutor in the 1960 obscenity trial against Penguin Books for publishing the full version of Lady Chatterley's Lover, a trial summarised in this book with a cunning cover by David Pearson.


The Angry Lurker said...

That is some amount of covers for a book I've never read but watched a few TV adaptations.

JRSM said...

To be honest, that might be the way to leave it. It's not his best book, and it's certainly much more important than it is actually good. Lawrence is so keen that you don't miss any points he's making that he goes on and on making them over and over again. It gets a bit tiresome.

Rex Parker said...

Thanks so much for this. Hirsch = winner. AggressiveNipple Signet = loser.

Chasch said...

This is hypnotizing and, at times, a little bit troubling. Not that it's particularly, but you've missed the current Folio edition in French, by Gallimard: I believe the image on the cover is a still from the french film of Lady Chatterley which came out in 2006.

Ian Koviak said...

love the one with the belt buckle...

Gould said...

The Penguin's 1978 cover is by famous fashion photographer Harri Peccinotti.

Did the Moravia's Wowan of Rome also.

Great post thank you!

JRSM said...

Thanks, all.

Rex: I hoped this might be your cup of tea.

Chasch: You're right. And the current Oneworld Classics edition in English (of 'The Second Lady Chaterley') also uses a still from that film (which was quite good).

Ian: Ha! Yes, so suitable to the era of the book.

Gould: Thanks, I will add that info to the post.

Anonymous said...

The Brazilian cover is wicked good, taken from the point of view of the gardener chasing Lady L. through the woods. And Hirsch drew her with a magnificent "bunda" (look it up), the lucky ol' rascal: he must have seen a lot of them in Copacabana beach back then.

Anonymous said...

Lady C., I mean.

JRSM said...

A magnificent bunda indeed! Hirsch's is probably my favourite of the lot: he's a great designer/artist.

Anonymous said...

there is this option also from Brazil:

Craig D. said...

Six different versions of one book in print from the one publisher? Not weird at all.

How do they make money this way? The book can't possibly be selling that well.

JRSM said...

Anon: Thank you--I had no idea there were South American editions of Penguin Classics. This requires more investigation.

Craig: I know--it's madness. I guess it's out of copyright, so any profits are all Penguin's and don't need to be shared with the Lawrence estate. But it still seems like madness.

Matthew Adams said...

I would love to get my hands on a copy of the Hunt Emerson comic book version. Im not a big Lawrence fan, but Emerson is damn good.

JRSM said...

It's still in print in the UK: Alan Moore's Knockabout COmics produce it.

Kylie said...

I rather like Penguin's 50th anniversary edition and have been almost tempted to buy it despite the fact the I abhor the book and think it's one of the dullest things I've ever read.