Friday, August 28, 2009

My Talks with Dean Spanley

The cover of the first edition of Lord Dunsany's My Talks with Dean Spanley (London: William Heinemann, 1936), left, has always seemed garish to me. Trying to translate the central conceit of the novel into an image for advertising purposes must be difficult, and this one succeeds only in appearing laughable. The cover to the American edition (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1936), right, utilizes the frontispiece illustration drawn by Robert Ball. It's is not especially attractive, and only slightly better. S. H. Sime contributed the frontispiece to the London edition, his last illustration for a Dunsany book, top. While it is a delightful illustration that does indeed capture the spirit of the book, I'm not sure that it would have made a successful cover illustration. (Click on the illustrations for larger views.)

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