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kottke.org posts about Peter Mendelsund

Cover by Peter Mendelsund

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 24, 2013

Details are scarce and publication is months away, but hotshot book designer Peter Mendelsund is coming out with a book called Cover. I bet it will contain a collection of his covers. Or will be about covers. Or something. But I love book covers so whatever it is, I am covered.

We Work Remotely

Covering Lolita

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 19, 2012

The results of a competition to design a better cover for Nabokov’s Lolita are being packaged into a book due out in June.

Among the problems Nabokov’s Lolita poses for the book designer, probably the thorniest is the popular misconception of the title character. She’s chronically miscast as a teenage sexpot-just witness the dozens of soft-core covers over the years. “We are talking about a novel which has child rape at its core,” says John Bertram, an architect and blogger who, three years ago, sponsored a Lolita cover competition asking designers to do better.

Now the contest is being turned into a book, due out in June and coedited by Yuri Leving, with essays on historical cover treatments along with new versions by 60 well-known designers, two-thirds of them women: Barbara deWilde, Jessica Helfand, Peter Mendelsund, and Jennifer Daniel, to name a few. They don’t shy away from frank sexuality, but they add layers of darkness and complication. And like Jamie Keenan’s cover — a claustrophobic room that morphs into a girl in her underwear — they provoke without asking readers to abdicate their responsibility.

Of the covers shown, Peter Mendelsund’s is a favorite:

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