Tuesday 30 September 2008

I'm a Real Boy!

The reliably excellent NYRB have a new translation of Carlo Collodi's children's classic Pinocchio coming out, with an introduction by Umberto Eco and afterword by Rebecca West. Argh! If only I didn't already have a copy!

When I first saw this eye-catching cover, I assumed it was a Photoshop job (not that there's anything wrong with that--I use photoshop all the time in my job), but it was pleasing to learn from a recent NYRB blog post that in fact it's a photograph from a sculpture.

The sculpture is 'Pinocchio' by Tim Rollins and K.O.S (see more here).

Pinocchio is a great book, full of odd twists and strange logic and anthropomorphic animal con-men. It's also full of stuff that never made it into the Disney version.

The NYRB edition has interior illustrations by Attilio Mussino, which first appeared (I think) in this 1929 Macmillan edition.

The edition I have read is the Penguin Classics version.

The cover and the interior illustrations are by Charles Folkard, and first appeared in the 1930s: here they are used in a Blue Ribbon Book edition.

Searching for good images of old editions of Pinocchio ends in a deluge of tatty old Disney books. A few others emerged from the dross, though. Here's an elegantly simple 1892 edition, the first in English as far as I can tell, published by Unwin.

Then there's this 1914 American Lippincott edition, with a more human-looking hero on the cover and the interior art, all by Maria Kirk.

And here's a cartoony version from 1937, put out by the Limited Editions Club, with art by Richard Floethe.

Finally, just because I want to, here's some more Charles Folkard art, done for Alice in Wonderland. (Click for much bigger versions).

Alice must surely be unique as a book interpreted by so many excellent artists, in so many different styles. For a few other versions, look at these posts here, here and here.


Manthony said...

Wow, that's a great cover with the bark and even better knowing it is a sculpture!

JRSM said...

Yes: even if the results look exactly the same, it's more satisfying to know something's a "real" photo--maybe it's because, as a regular user of Photoshop, you come to realise how little effort is needed compared to the work of actually making something and then photographing it.

That Hank said...

I'd like to see you do a run down on the various editions of Peter Pan some time.

Juliet said...

Love that bark cover. And a wonderful subsequent selection, as always.

(btw, just posted a bookish challenge on Musings to which you may feel inspired to rise . . .)

JRSM said...

The covers of 'Peter Pan' is a good idea: I'll see what I can track down--I know Folkard did some illustrations for that, too.

Juliet, thank you, I will accept that challenge! I love yours, by the way.