Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This time you can judge all you like
The book cover, once disposable, is now as much part of a work's identity as the words inside, discovers Peter Conrad
Peter Conrad writing in The Observer, Sunday 12 July 2009

Eighty Years of Book Cover Design
by Joseph Connolly

Books used to come naked into the world, with no paper jacket or stiffening suit of cloth-clad boards to protect the bundles of pages sewn together by the printer. Buyers were expected to commission a binding, which defined the book as their possession rather than the writer's creation. George Bernard Shaw jokily ordered his publisher to produce his study of Wagner with "gilt edges, leather binding, clasps, and a bookmarker of perforated card with a text worked on in wool"; he knew the request would be ignored. Removable jackets, introduced in the 1830s, were originally meant for disposal, like paper bags. They kept books from becoming shop-soiled, and once you got your purchase safely home you could throw away its temporary cover.
Read the full piece at The Observer online.

1 comment:

Angie said...

That book looks really interesting - I'm fascinated by book covers. I'm adding this book to my to-read list.

Thanks for the review.