7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokov's Lolita

Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita

Boiling down the essence of a book into a single, striking image is a incredible challenge. Part of the fun of browsing for new books is checking out the various artistic interpretations of your favorite titles—while shamelessly judging each and every unknown by what’s emblazoned on the front.

Advertisement

Lolita: The Story of a Cover Girl is a new hardback—available August 30th—that explores Nabokov’s 1955 man-meets-girl tale through a collection of 80 new covers commissioned by LA-based architect John Bertram. Bertram was inspired after visiting this online round-up of existing copies, and launched a competition soliciting new interpretations from graphic designers and illustrators. The results, along with critical essays examining the various visuals, offer a unique new take on a complex classic.

According to Creative Review, here’s what Nabokov expressed as his ideal take: “I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls.” Something “romantic, delicately drawn, non-Freudian and non-juvenile.” Here's the author himself shuffling through his own collection of foreign copies of the novel, pretty amused at all the different variations:

Which do you feel best captures the spirit of Lolita? And which would you want to sit on your shelf at home? [Creative Review]

Advertisement

Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita

By Matt Dorfman.


Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita
Advertisement

By Andy Pressman.


Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita
Advertisement

By Ellen Lupton.


Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita
Advertisement

By Jaime Keenan.


Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita
Advertisement

By Jason Polan.


Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita
Advertisement

By Rachel Berger.


Illustration for article titled 7 Subtly Suggestive New Cover Designs For Nabokovs Lolita
Advertisement

By Michael Beirut.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I think the cover by Matt Dorfman is super-creative and somewhat instantiates Humbert's fascination with Lolita.

Despite what casual readers or even non-readers of the book may feel, I've read it several times, and it's a true love story. Ignore the fact that Lolita is young — in some cultures, that's perfectly acceptable. Not in ours (US), of course, and that's part of the pathos of the book.

Really, this book is less about pedophilia and more about love and obsession.

The English used by native Russian speaker Nabakov is some of the most poetic out there. Reminds me, in some ways, of Jerzy Kozinski. Read Nabakov's other works. Lolita is the book that exposed me to his writings, but his other works (in particular, his son's collection of posthumously published works) is amazing.