Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fascinating Book Covers

Maybe the most famous book cover of all time: 

THE GREAT GATSBY by F Scott Fitzgerald

Some trivia about the cover:

The cover of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of jacket art in American literature.[7] A little-known artist named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the book while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing it. The cover was completed before the novel, with Fitzgerald so enamored of it that he told his publisher he had "written it into" the novel.[7]
After several initial sketches of various completeness, Cugat produced the Art Deco-style gouache of a pair of eyes hovering over the bright lights of an amusement park. The woman has lips and no nose. Descending from the right eye is a green tear. The irises depict a pair of reclining nudes.[7]
Fitzgerald's remarks about incorporating the painting into the novel led to the interpretation that the eyes are reminiscent of those of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg (the novel's erstwhile proprietor of a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson's auto-repair shop) which Fitzgerald described as "blue and gigantic — their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose." Although this passage has some resemblance to the painting, a closer explanation can be found in the description of Daisy Buchanan as the "girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs".[7]


The last piece to fall into place was the title. Fitzgerald was always ambivalent about it, shifting between Gatsby; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Trimalchio; Trimalchio in West Egg; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; and The High-Bouncing Lover. Initially, he preferred Trimalchio, after the crude parvenu in Petronius's Satyricon. Unlike Fitzgerald's reticent protagonist, Trimalchio actively participated in the audacious and libidinous orgies that he hosted. That Fitzgerald refers to Gatsby by the proposed title just once in the entire novel reinforces the view that it would have been a misnomer. As Tony Tanner observes, however, there are subtle similarities between the two.[8]
On November 7, 1924, Fitzgerald wrote decisively to Perkins — "I have now decided to stick to the title I put on the book [...] Trimalchio in West Egg" — but was eventually persuaded that the reference was too obscure and that people would not be able to pronounce it. His wife and Perkins both expressed their preference for The Great Gatsby and, in December, Fitzgerald agreed.[9] A month before publication, after a final review of the proofs, he asked if it would be possible to re-title it Trimalchio or Gold-Hatted Gatsby, but Perkins advised against it. On March 19, Fitzgerald asked if the book could be renamed Under the Red, White and Blue, but it was at that stage too late to change. The Great Gatsby was published on April 10, 1925. Fitzgerald remarked that "the title is only fair, rather bad than good".[10]


Rinkly Rimes said...

Your G.G. cover is wonderful. The 'tears' are also the 'fireworks' or the 'diamonds'. So fitting for that story.

Shoshana said...

that is an interesting book cover. I've never seen that book with that cover.

網頁設計 said...

Are pleased to come to your blog to read your article! Thank you for sharing!

Ana said...

Thank you for sharing the story of this cover.
I didn't know that.

Ann said...

I had to study this book in High School. I don't remember the cover at all. Neither did I remember much of the book. said...

Thank you for your post, pretty helpful material.