Emma (A Weekend to ReCOVER)

The other day on the bus I saw someone reading this book and I did quite the double take to make sure I was reading the title correctly:

Jane Austen's Emma

I thought it was really interesting to put such a contemporary cover on such a classic novel.  It reminds me of a modern YA fiction cover which in a way is kind of neat if it entices younger readers to pick up the book.  Of course, it also got me thinking about what other creative covers I could find to this book.  With a little help from my good friend LibraryThing, here's a small sampling of some of my favorite covers for Emma by Jane Austen:

Some of them I love for their artistry and interpretation and others I just think are kind of cute.  Overall, I'm pretty amazed at the scope and variety of different covers that can be found for this book - I didn't even scratch the surface of the various movie-tie-in artwork too!  (Though I read Emma on my Kindle, the first cover in the block is the edition I have.  Here's my review of Emma from last December.)

Do you have a favorite cover to Emma?  What do you think of the really modern one?  If you saw it on the shelf - or saw a stranger reading it on a bus -  without reading the title, would you guess it to be an Austen work?  Do you think contemporary covers are a useful way to entice young readers toward classic literature?

A Weekend to ReCOVER is a meme hosted by Her Book Self that is all about discussing and analyzing interesting and unique cover art - new or old, anything that strikes your fancy!  Whether it's a comparison or just a single work that stands out to you, feel free to chime in with a comment below or join in the fun with a post of your own.  Be sure to leave a link so I can stop by and read about what cover(s) you're admiring or criticizing this week!

7 Response to "Emma (A Weekend to ReCOVER)"

  1. Enbrethiliel says:
    February 20, 2011 at 10:34 AM


    I agree that the combination of classic texts and modern covers is very interesting. I'd like to see a few more books done up that way.

    However, I'm not sure the above is the best cover for Emma. It looks more like a Bronte book than an Austen novel to me--more Gothic than Novel of Manners.

  2. Darlyn (Your Move, Dickens) says:
    February 20, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    I love the covers, but I agree with Enbrethiliel. The first cover doesn't seem to fit Emma. I love the other ones you posted, though. :)

  3. Casey (The Bookish Type) says:
    February 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    I've seen a lot of modernized covers for classic works too. There's this cover for Jane Eyre that has this bloodred rose on it... and it just seems so wrong. I guess I could see how it might entice a younger reader -- but I feel like they might be confused when they start reading and are like "what the heck is this old school English doing in my pretty contemporary book?"

  4. lisa :) says:
    February 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Interesting observation that the first cover would sort of fit with a Bronte novel. I have no idea why that makes sense, but it actually does.

    I would hope that young readers would still recognize - regardless of cover - that Austen is not a modern writer. I don't see the new covers as an attempt to fool teens, more just as a way to get classics to blend in on the shelves better. Some of the - for lack of a better word - stuffier covers would seem really out of place next to some of the vibrant and striking artwork that pepper today's YA sections.

    I wonder though if it defeats the purpose not to have at least some relevance to the story in the artwork.

  5. Bekka says:
    February 22, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    New follower!
    I love when publishers spruce up cover art. I agree that it makes the novels more marketable to teen and young adult readers. The new covers that truly irk me though, are the new art work for some Shakespear, the new Pride and Prejudice cover, etc: they're all being made to look like Twilight! As if they would ever be in the same league!

  6. Anonymous Says:
    February 27, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Oh, wow! I had no idea there were so many covers. I've not read it YET, but evidently when I decide to get it, I'm going to have a hard time deciding what I want it to LOOK like!

  7. vvb32 reads says:
    May 6, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    i agree, that modern emma cover does have a YA feel to it. for this classic i prefer the romance-y kind with regency fashion.

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