Due to the HUGE success of my Bad Jane Eyre Covers post (thanks everybody!!!), I've decided to do another one. This was surprisingly difficult (I went through a whoooole lot of classic literature before I found enough covers that were significantly bad), but I'll be the first to admit that this post is probably not as good as the original. Pride and Prejudice is just not as sensational (read: Gothic) a novel as Jane Eyre, so there wasn't as much room for artists to go absolutely supernova bat-shit with the covers. A lot of the covers I saw were really, really beautiful, or at least reasonable for the subject matter.
(. . . Supernova Bat-Shit is the name of my new garage band.)
HOWEVER, the reason why I picked Pride and Prejudice is because Austen is a personal favorite of mine and, sadly, there seem to be a lot of popular misconceptions about her and terrible adaptations that make me want to throw myself down a well. I could write a long rant about all the common mistakes, but I'm sure we'll get to that in good time. As usual, I have included posters for films and plays (and even stills from some films), as well as the book covers. I will try to identify them as much as possible.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that brilliant literature will eventually cultivate some face-palming artwork. So without further ado, THE COVERS:
Pride and Prejudice: There's Something Interesting on the Ground.
This is the1946 Foulsham’s Boy and Girl Fiction Library reprint.
If you loved Pillow Talk, you'll love the new Doris Day/Rock Hudson 1960s Bedroom Comedy, Pride and Prejudice!
"Jane's looking for Mr. Right . . . but Lizzie's looking for Mr. Right Now!"
Jane Austen's Prim and Personal Space. Look at her weird little velociraptor hand. What's going on with that weirdness?
Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in Hey, You Got a Nice Rack, Baby.
Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in Born to Hand Jive.
Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in I Stole This Dress From the Set of 'The King and I'.
(Which, by the way, is set in the 1860s. P&P is set in the 1810s. Guys. This is a major pet peeve. Pride and Prejudice is NOT Victorian.)
Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in Let's Sit As Awkwardly As Possible, Shall We?, or Tightly-Clasped Garden Hatred.
Jane Austen's Simpering Bloody NONSENSE. Bonus features include: Easter egg color scheme! Lizzie Bennet giggling for 14 hours! And the honest-to-God tag line, which you can almost make out, "Mom's fishing for husbands–But the girls are hunting for love . . ."
Remember that scene in P&P where Darcy taught all the girls the flamenco?
Jane Austen's Put 'er There, Pal . . . Psych! (Also, why is Darcy such a goon?)
Darcy and Lizzie make wedding shadow puppets behind a sheet of paper that's suspended mid-air, in the height of summer, though Lizzie's wearing a giant fur coat. I can't even come up with a funny title to this because I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING.
(This is the 1940s pocket edition).
Jane Austen's Mrs. Bennet in Wonderland.
(Let me live in a world where this is a real thing.)
Jane Austen's Spectral Horseback Riding.
That horse looks irritated that he's even involved in this strangeness.
NO NO NO, GODDAMN YOU, TWILIGHT COVERS.
Also, the love that started WHAT all?
Poster for a play in a Saskatchewan theatre and . . . wait . . . late Victorian costumes? RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! *SCHOLAR SMASH* I'm also very confused, because other cast photos from this play show them in period-appropriate costumes.
The description of this play, by the way, includes this: "Adapted from one of the most enduring bestsellers of all time, Pride and Prejudice sparkles with the mischievous wit and timeless characters that made Jane Austen the inventor of the modern romantic comedy."
Okay, 1.) Jane Austen, with the exception of maybe Emma, DID NOT WRITE ROMANTIC COMEDIES. Did you even READ Pride and Prejudice? Yeah, it's not a comedy. Not even close. 2.) The formula for the "modern romantic comedy" was present in Shakespeare, if not even before. Jane Austen did not invent it. Go see Much Ado About Nothing and tell me it doesn't share the same structure with romantic comedies today.
Jane Austen's Oh, God, Is She Dead or Just Sleeping?
Jane Austen's . . . Lady . . . Godiva? As this NY Times author writes of this Kindle e-cover, "Is that poor Jane Bennet riding to Netherfield? No wonder she catches cold."
From what I understand, there was an 1980 version that (correct me if I'm wrong) had animated title screens. All I have to say is: the decollatage might be slightly extreme.
And here's a bonus one for you from Mansfield Park:
What's Spanish for "Shirley Temple, your cheekbone smells AMAZING"?