Sunday, 10 February 2013

Judging Dr Zhivago by its Cover

I'm currently reading Pasternak's wonderwork, and thoroughly loving it.  As with so many modern classics, it's had its fair share of cover designs.  Here are a few - which do you like best and why?

First up, the one you find reduced in places that shouldn't really sell books, like HMV.  It's an ok cover, does what it needs to, and I quite like the fact that it focuses on the war aspect rather than the love story.  I also like the colours - it brings out the historical side, the 'Reds vs Whites'.  The cynical me, however, thinks maybe this is the boys' cover?

Next up, the version I have.  Simple, modern, computer created, part of the Vintage series, into which it fits nicely.  I have to admit I like the simplicity of this design.

I find this next one rather bland.  I can't say I'd even notice it on a table of 3 for 2s.  It tells me very little about the type of book this is, except that it's probably hard going yet worthy.

This fourth is my personal favourite.  It's been carefully and thoughtfully created, and speaks to me of the Russian Constructivist movement.  As well as being eyecatching, it tells me this book is political, important.  The face - presumably Lara - is taken straight from propagandist architecture of the Stalin period; this is Russian all over, and I love it.

I like the sixties-ness of the next one, although it hints at content of a Middle-Eastern flavour rather than Russian.  The colours are also interesting - browns are the one pallet I would not have associated with Dr Zhivago.

And finally, this wonderfully hideous pulp seventies design.  Clearly meant to evoke the David Lean film without paying for the rights to images of Omar Sharif et al, it manages to turn a novel of profound social importance into Mills and Boon style trash.  Kitsch, or just sinful?


Dew of Hermon said...

I love the story and the David Lean movie version

Shalet Jimmy said...

I love the first design and also the design with Russian elements. Loved the movie and going to read it...