As many times as I’m asked, the answer doesn’t change. My favorite book of all time is still Jane Eyre. This book and I are in a serious long-term relationship. I first read it when I was around 11 and go back to it on a regular basis. It’s my literary comfort food.
I used to own a nice little collection of different copies of the book, but over the years I’ve lost a few in moves, loaned a couple out to “The Void”, and otherwise gotten rid of ones whose covers I didn’t really care for.
The problem is, this fabulous book has had more than it’s fair share of horrendous covers. Most of them including some version of a depressing painting of a rather sad and unattractive woman dressed in drab 1840’s attire with her hair parted down the middle and pulled back in a bun. Yes, I understand that Jane is described as “plain”, but for me this just doesn’t sum up the book. There are so many more awesome elements to the story.
The other day I was appalled to do an inventory or my bookshelves and discover that the only copy I now own of Jane Eyre is in e-book format.
Entirely unacceptable. I know!
In order to correct this embarrassing situation I started searching for a new copy. And me being…well me…became a little bit obsessed with the covers. While there are still more than enough fugly (or worse boring) covers out there, somewhere in the 850 or so versions I looked at I found a few gems, and of course I had to share them with you.
So without further ado, I present…
Jane Eyre Covers that Actually Rock:
Ok, so this one may have made the cut for purely sentimental reasons. This is the very first copy of Jane Eyre I ever owned (or read). I’m pretty sure I thought it was going to be about a princess locked in a tower but I fell in love with it anyway. P.S. I also dig that this 1983 hardcover edition is still available NEW on Amazon.
This may very well be my favorite cover. It’s at least the copy I’m most lusting after at the moment. In case you can’t tell from the photo, this is a hardcover fine cloth edition that pulls out all the stops. The cover has a mysterious updated Gothic feel that manages to give us some symbolism without getting dragged down in the “Our Plain Jane heroine could look like this” trap.
This is actually part of the Couture Classics Collection Penguin has out right now. Penguin has been getting some major respect from me lately on their re-imaginings of classic covers. Here’s just another delicious example. It looks like it’s ready to be morphed into a Tim Burton film. I absolutely adore this one.
Yep. CreateSpace. I was as surprised as you when I finally discovered who was behind this stunning cover. Although there seems to be some discrepancy I’m gonna go ahead and assume that Tribeca Books is publishing via CreateSpace. Indie book design at it’s best. It’s actually quite genius. What’s keeping other talented artists from putting out new copies of beloved classics? I couldn’t tell you. It’s definitely not an overnight process, but if you can design a cover as gorgeous as this and you aren’t already snatched up by a big publishing house… it’s worth looking into. I can see this cover bringing in teens in droves. My ONLY problem with this is that Tribeca also released their version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion this week with the exact same cover. Um…. No. No. No.
Score another point for White’s. This time they bring us an update to the pocket paperback. I love the look of this cover, so very Starry Night, but it does feel a touch less English countryside and a tad more American midwest. I also worry that it’s giving away a bit too much of the book’s dramatic climax, but I love it nonetheless.
Edition: Collins Classics (April 12, 2010 – UK General Books) ( Goodreads)
I’m not even sure that this one is available in the US, but it’s more clean, modern design from a small publisher. I’m thinking if I didn’t actually love the book, but had to read it in college….this is the cover I’d want. Especially if I was a guy. None of that embarrassing Regency romance stuff going on here.
Edition: (2008) (Goodreads)
There is just something about this simple foreign cover (I’m not even sure of the language, let alone the publisher) that speaks to me. Maybe it’s the sunny yellow, or the idea of the story possibly taking place in some far off exotic locale.
There are more than a few movie tie-in covers for this book floating around out there. Ironically this one is the only one that really speaks to me and I think it’s the only version I’ve seen. Have to get on that, because BBC adaptations are usually top notch.
Spinebreakers editions are unapologetically and blatantly aimed at teens aged 13-17. And I have to say the teen in me is drooling over this cover. It’s a perfect balance between the historical and modern design. I’m also loving the orange and pink. I’m such a geeky girl.
Edition: ( 2008 – Company of Books Leeuwarden) ( Goodreads)
This (German I beleive?) cover also gets it right. It reminds me of Jane’s intelligence, curiosity and strength. Ultimately she leads a personal revolution of sorts, breaking out of the social norms for women of her time.
I’m wracking my brain for what exactly the umbrella has to do with the symbolism of the story, but honestly, my brain doesn’t really care. It’s a contemporary cover, color scheme and design, sure to draw new readers and for that I tip my had to ATB.