Monday, March 26, 2012

Narnia Book Covers, Part 1

A book without a cover is naked. And in most states, illegal too.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this "stripped book."

Nobody likes a stripped book. You see; its more than proper dressing, copyright laws and aesthetics. After all, a book cover is a window into the book itself, like a story within a story. It's the first impression. And first impressions matter, whether it's an academic book with stylized lettering and clean lines or a children's book robed in chromatic beauty. In fact, some of the books I find myself reading again and again also contain some of my favorite artwork: Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith of Tolkien fame. And of course my favorite illustrator, Pauline Baynes. She illustrated for both Lewis and Tolkien with sublime elegance and timeless character. Both men praised and adulated her work (a topic for another day and another post). And while it may not tell you the whole story, a well illustrated book cover just might highlight some of the book's major themes, characters or events. The Chronicles of Narnia is no exception, revealing the fact that sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

Below I've begun to make a gallery of sorts, a collection and  sampling of some of the popular Narnian book covers over the years. No doubt there are others and will be more in the future. That's part of the joy of artwork; creativity and imagination endure along with the readers of these great works of literature. Should you find any that I've missed, by all means, send them my way!

This first edition features the work of Pauline Bayne, from the first edition and the collector's color edition. I highly recommend buying the books themselves in order to get delve into the richness of the artwork in person. The internet doesn't do them justice.

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