What should Lolita look like? The question has dogged book-cover designers since 1955, when Lolita was first published in a plain green wrapper. The heroine of Vladimir Nabokov's classic novel has often been shown as a teenage seductress in heart-shaped glasses--a deceptive image that misreads the book but has seeped deep into our cultural life, from fashion to film.
Lolita - The Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov's Novel in Art and Design reconsiders the cover of Lolita. Eighty renowned graphic designers and illustrators (including Paula Scher, Jessica Hische, Jessica Helfand, and Peter Mendelsund) offer their own takes on the book's jacket, while graphic-design critics and Nabokov scholars survey more than half a century of Lolita covers. You'll also find thoughtful essays from such design luminaries as Mary Gaitskill, Debbie Millman, Michael Bierut, Peter Mendelsund, Jessica Helfand, Alice Twemlow, Johanna Drucker, Leland de la Durantaye, Ellen Pifer, and Stephen Blackwell.
Through the lenses of design and literature, Lolita - The Story of a Cover Girl tells the strange design history of one of the most important novels of the 20th century--and offers a new way for thinking visually about difficult books. You'll never look at Lolita the same way again.
"The sexualized vision of Lolita perpetuated by popular culture has very little to do with the text of Nabokov's novel, in which Lolita is not a teen-aged seductress but a sexually abused twelve-year-old girl. Lolita--The Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov's Novel in Art and Design challenges this prevailing misrepresentation with essays by book designers, artists, and Nabokov scholars, and a preface by Mary Gaitskill that considers the problem of capturing Nabokov's psychologically complex story in a single image. The book's centerpiece is the Lolita Book Cover Project, for which the co-editor John Bertram, an architect based in Los Angeles, commissioned designers to create new covers for the book." --The New Yorker
"Stunning" --The Huffington Post
"The book presents the most exhaustive and dimensional topography of Lolita's cultural landscape examined through the lens of design and visual communication.... Lolita: The Story of a Cover Girl is a rare gem at the intersection of lust for literature and lust for design." --Maria Popova, Brain Pickings