Monday, 30 August 2004

Cover story

Something that's always bugged us: seeing a reprint of an old favourite book with a scene from a TV show or movie adapt on the cover. It somehow seems to take away from the book, shoving actual faces into the mind's eye. And this is true even of film versions we loved, like Yes Minister and Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in Jeeves and Wooster, and Jeremy Brett in the Sherlock Holmes stories.
What say you?
Oh yes, the article that got us on to this mini-rant - well, more a grumble than anything, really: at The New York Times, Verlyn Klinkenborg notes that "The Penguin edition of William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair has a new cover. It shows Reese Witherspoon, who plays Becky Sharp in the new film version, staring balefully at the reader." Klinkenborg reread an old copy of the book with the illustrations intact, and concluded that "...compared with a comedy as rich and sprawling as 'Vanity Fair,' a movie nearly always shows us too much of the world and not enough of the story. Compared with the way we moderns get to read 'Vanity Fair,' with an almost puritanical lack of ornament, the Victorians may have been better off."

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