All Posts Filed in ‘literature

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BLACK HEART: Fiona Banner Interprets Joseph Conrad

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Heat of Darkness by Fiona Banner

When you hit upon a memorable book title—and Joseph Conrad certainly did that way back in 1899—the book’s cover design is rightfully expected to give the title (and the story it encapsulates) equally memorable visual expression. The dozens of book cover designers of Conrad’s classic—and devastatingly bleak—novel have mostly taken a woefully literal approach, presenting various tableaux of generic landscapes and jungle scenes to illustrate the book’s brutal Congolese setting.

British artist Fiona Banner’s Heart of Darkness, a reinterpretation of Conrad’s story as a contemporary photographic essay, brings a modernist designer’s austere sensibility to the publication’s cover design, and, quite simply, gets to the heart of the matter. Seems Banner, an artist celebrated for her text-based compositions, knows that words this eloquent and powerful deserve to stand alone—in the dark.

Fiona Banner Heart of Darkness

Via Four Corner’s Books, Fiona Banner

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VICTORY LAP

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The Canadian writer, illustrator and former competitive swimmer, Leanne Shapton, is one of those rare creatures on whom the gods have bestowed three gifts. Her sports memoir entitled Swimming Studies, comes with a bonus: a series of highly abstract, monochromatic paintings of swimming pools. Good value.

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ONE LINER

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A memorable line from Kayak MorningRoger Rosenblatt’s meditation on grief.

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LITERARY DEVICE

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David Pearson’s celebrated series of typographic cover designs for Cormac McCarthy’s novels includes a review quote on each book.  Here, a cover quote for The Road.

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ROUNDABOUT

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Okay, I’ll admit I had to look up the definition of obliquity when I saw this striking cover design by Ben Wiseman.

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LOVE BIRDS

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Forgive a brief foray into sentiment, via Reece Ward, in wishing my husband a happy birthday.

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REVERSE ANGLE

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A lovely expanse of green on a strikingly illustrated book cover.

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STINGING COMMENT

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There was simply no way to avoid posting this ridiculously great Pelican cover.

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GIRL TALK

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The book designer Peter Mendelsund discusses design, competitions, and the always delicate subject of Nabokov’s Lolita.