Saturday, 25 April 2015

Renowned Designers Re-imagine the Cover of Nabakov's Lolita

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

Earlier this week, on the 22nd of April, it happened to be the birthday of one of the masters of intricate word-play, Vladimir Nabakov. Nabakov, a Russian-American novelist who passed away in 1977, wrote both in Russian and English, with his most famous work in English being one of the most controversial examples of 20th century literature, Lolita

In celebration of Nabakov's b'day, I have come across this amazing book of concept covers for the book Lolita. The collection, 'Lolita: The Story of a Cover Girl', brings together the work of eighty of the world's most renowned graphic designers and illustrators. Now, if you've read the book, you will immediately be intrigued by this collection, and you're probably already scrolling down the page to see the selection I've posted here. But if you haven't, you might be wondering why this should be of interest... well let me give you a quick, juicy run-down...

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

The novel is notable for its controversial subject; an old literature professor in his late 30's becomes obsessed with the 12 year-old character, Dolores Haze. He then quickly becomes sexually involved with her, after becoming her stepfather. The name 'Lolita' is his private nickname for the young girl. It is one of the highly regarded books in modern history.

While Lolita is frequently described as an 'erotic novel', it's fame comes not only from the storyline of the professor's affair with the young girl, but form the style in which it is written. The novel is a tragicomedy, with the professor as narrator, who riddles the story with word-play and wry observations of American culture. The novel's flamboyant style is characterised by double entendres, multilingual puns, anagrams and coinages.

I personally love this book, because you feel like you're in two worlds at once; the world of the erotic story, in which at moments you're quite ashamed to be a part of, and then the world of poetry, and a story which is so cleverly and beautifully written.

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

When Lolita was first published, it came out with a simple, green cover, and the single, clear title across the front, Lolita. Nabakov had a very clear idea of what he wanted the cover of the book to represent, or rather, what he didn't want it to represent. He stated: 

"I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls. … Who would be capable of creating a romantic, delicately drawn, non-Freudian and non-juvenile, picture for LOLITA (a dissolving remoteness, a soft American landscape, a nostalgic highway—that sort of thing)? There is one subject which I am emphatically opposed to: any kind of representation of a little girl."

With Nabakov's above request in mind, along with the beauty of prose and sexual foundation of the Lolita story, I absolutely love this project of embarking on inviting the world's best designers to re-imagine what the book cover could be. 

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls

Re-imagining the cover of Nabakov's Lolita - Nest of Pearls


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