It should come as no surprise to you that as a 28-year-old bibliophile living in the age of fast food and fast dating that I am particularly fond of Jane Austen’s seminal work, Pride and Prejudice.
I’ve seen all the movies, I’ve read the book. My dog-eared copy has lasted me many years and many read-throughs. It might be time to upgrade for my next read-through.
Published in 1813 (over 200 years ago!) and in print ever since, Austen’s novel has been through a lot of editions, revisions and of course, designs.
The Peacock Edition
Published by George Allen and illustrated by Hugh Thompson, this cover inspired a thousand copycats. A prideful peacock decorates the front of this 1984 edition, encapsulating the themes and mood of the story. Vanity, classism, and courtship; all artfully portrayed through a bird.
The Pulp Edition
“Lock up your daughters…Darcy’s in town!”
I would love to get a copy of this edition that presents P&P like a 1940s film noir. Darcy looks absolutely dastardly on that cover, and the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Ugh. Sex SELLS, you guys. If I had a time machine, I’d take a copy of this to 1814, give it to Austen and watch her jaw drop.
The Bantam Classics Edition
This 1982 edition by Bantam Classics is the copy that I own. The cover painting is Miss Rosamond Croker by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and definitely formed my impression of what Elizabeth Bennett looks like.
1940 Movie Tie-in Edition
Read the book. See the film. The 1940 movie started Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson (I love her name, doesn’t it give you superhero vibes?) as Elizabeth Bennett. The screenplay was written by Aldous Huxley, making this an incredibly literary affair.
The 1940 movie cover is more appealing to me than the 2005 cover (though I’ve seen that movie about 100 times and you’ll never catch me saying a bad word about it).
Interesting that some of the covers make use of an ampersand, while others don’t. I think I prefer the ampersand, but that might just be the typography nerd in me. What do you think? Ampersand or no?