Wednesday, 29 September 2010


When Penguin Classics US published Angela Carter's edition of Charles Perrault's fairy tales (he is responsible for the classic versions of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Puss in Boots, among others), they used an attractive but pretty conventional image for the cover (by John Hassall).

But when Penguin Classics UK published the book, they used something different: a striking photo by New York artist Marilyn Minter.

It's an image ('Stepping Up', 2005) that reveals more over time: at first it just seems to be Cinderella in her glass slippers. But then you see that the feet are spattered with water and mud or shit; like all really good fairy stories, there's both sexiness and murkiness here.

In January, Penguin UK are republishing two more Carter titles: her lush, sexy and strange science-fiction novels Heroes and Villains (an end-of-the-world story) and The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman.

Again, these are great: erotic and creepy in equal measure, like fashion photos from an orgy at the decadent collapse of some technicolour civilisation, where faces turn into molluscs on glass.

For more of Minter's work, see her gallery, Salon 94, here and more here. Or read these Minter monographs:

(The Infernal Desire Machines was also one of the Penguin Decades (see here). For a different style of Angela Carter covers, see Roxanna Bikadoroff's work here.)

With thanks to Alan Trotter for the two newest Angela Carter cover images.


Craig D. said...

Love 'em, especially the Infernal Desire one.

Ákos Polgárdi said...

This is actually surprisingly brave from Penguin UK. And perhaps it's just me, but the layout based on Avant Garde still feels fresh.

JRSM said...

I agree with you, Ákos: it still works really well, even for such a variety of authors, and even with such big text, which you might expect to obscure the images rather more than it does. (By the way, having recently been on a Hungarian fiction binge, let me say how much I envy you your country's literary history. So many brilliant, amazing writers!)

Kathe said...

Love the filthy fairytale feet. And love even more seeing Angela Carter's work repackaged in this way - next, please, WISE CHILDREN.

Anonymous said...

Very nice all in all.

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