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Penguin, Henry James and Philippe Jullian

06/03/2012

This book cover (1963) caught my attention the other day as I was browsing through the bookshelves for something new to read. Henry James is one of those authors of whom I have a number of works, being someone one should really read but haven’t yet found the time. I’ve probably had his books for three decades, some partly read but none finished. They are all long, aside from the short stories of course, which is why I chanced upon this one. The cover attracted attention, the layout being an unconventional use of differing fonts, and the background composed of printers’ flowers. All in all quite beguiling. Looking inside the designer’s name was given – Philippe Jullian. Not a familiar name, but familiar enough to warrant some note on the internet. He also illustrated (he was an artist) many other book jackets, including James’s The Portrait of a Lady. But he was much more than that, as this link will tell you. Very briefly he was an aesthete, symbolist and gained prominence in the late 1960s when his book Esthètes et Magiciens was translated into English as Dreamers of Decadence. Clearly Penguin liked him too.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 06/03/2012 9:39 pm

    Wow, so different to the modern Penguin book covers! Which do you prefer?

    • john pitt permalink*
      07/03/2012 7:14 am

      The older. Penguin then had a ‘brand’ which stood out from the rest. Now it is subsumed into the morass.

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