Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A visual education too

"Inexpensive Penguins provided a crash course in world literature and the publisher's Pelicans told you everything you might need to know about history, politics, sociology and film. The remarkable thing about these paperbacks is that they offered a visual education, too."

From Underneath the covers


Penguin By Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005
V&A - 70 Years of Penguin Design
Happy Birthday Penguin
Penguin Classics history

Allow us to judge a book by its cover
"Those who revere first editions and pretty covers, who worry about sun damage to spines and despise pencil notes in margins, are courtly lovers. Those who split open books as if they were ripe fruit, who dog-ear pages and use paperbacks as table mats, are carnal lovers."

updated 18.04.06


Blogger Rob said...

Anne, we need to look at Kress and Van Leeuwen's Multimodal Discourse to make sense of the mix of print and image on these covers and the details of remediation between medias, including digitally mediated communication like sms texting and websites

Anonymous James said...

I saw the Penguin exhibit at the V & A last fall and it was a little disappointing. I expected more history behind the book covers and more social context that they might fit into. But really, the exhibit was mostly worn paperbacks. The best part was the section documenting the development and evolution of the Penguin logo.

Blogger Jamie said...

The April/May 2006 issue of BookForum includes a succinct and splendid review by Mattew Price of the Baines book and a recent biography of Penguin's founder. The latter is Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane by Jeremy Lewis.

The Lane biography aspires indeed to provide some of the "history behind the bookcovers" and "social context." One illustration offered by Price:

"The coming of World War II transformed the once-pesky little imprint into a dominant force in British culture. . . . British servicemen went to war with Penguins in their pockets, and the Lane brand spread around the globe."

In addition, the review lines up twelve examples of the imprint's eponymous logo, for visual inspection of its historical evolution at a glance.


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