NABOKV-L post 0022778, Thu, 3 May 2012 01:29:09 +0000

"the monstrous, abominable, criminal, foul, vile,
youth-depraving jacket"
Dear all,

A friend and colleague, Janine Barchas (usually in English at the U of Texas, Austin) offered an amusing talk yesterday on Jane Austen "Between the Covers": Austen book covers from first publication to now. I reminded her of Nabokov's instruction to his students, in the second paragraph of his Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde lecture:

First of all, if you have the Pocket Books edition I have, you will veil the monstrous, abominable, criminal, foul, vile, youth-depraving jacket--or better say straitjacket. You will ignore the fact that ham actors under the direction of pork packers have acted in a parody of the book, which parody was then photographed on a film and showed in places called theatres; it seems to me that to call a movie house a theatre is the same as to call an undertaker a mortician. (Lectures on Literature 179)

She promptly found the cover in question, and agreed with VN's judgment. The cover appeared in 1949 but may have appeared as early as 1941, the year of the film version starring Spencer Tracy.

Here's an image (also as an attachment, if Nabokv-L allows it):

Brian Boyd

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