Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Muriel Spark: the covers

We'll all be doing lots of reading this week, both on blogs and in books, so I thought I'd offer up a different view of Spark - with a selection of covers.  These are all her novels, in order of publication, although the covers are not all first editions.  I just picked a selection to demonstrate the wide variety of styles which she has been given.  Your thoughts, please!

I love the quirky old Penguin covers - exemplified by the first one below, The Comforters - which seem to get across something of Spark's style.  But I think my favourite might be Memento Mori, which was a Time book club edition... how about you?  Favourite cover from those below?  Which do you think accurately convey the sort of novels Spark writes?  Any favourites which I haven't featured?

Head over to Harriet's tomorrow, for more Muriel Spark Reading Week fun.

Oh, and because I wanted to get it in somewhere this week, Pam sent me the link to this excellent interview with Muriel Spark.  I couldn't get the audio to work, but the transcript is great.























30 comments:

  1. The covers I like above, in order:
    1. The Comforters
    2. The Driver's Seat
    3. Memento Mori

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  2. I quite like the movement of the figures in The Ballad of Peckham Rye's illustration. Pam

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  3. I like the old Penguin covers the best. There is a very knowing cat on my Penguin Robinson which somehow reminds me of Spark. (There's a pic with my post.)
    The two old Penguins above - The Comforters & The Bachelors are great. (I have neither but I do have a great Memento Mori & The Go-Away Bird from that series.)

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  4. I love the Robinson Penguin cover too. I have a really stark lilac Memento Mori which I will post later in the week, but I do like that modern one above with the scarf. [bibliolathas]

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  5. What a great collection of covers! I love the ones for Memento Mori and The Girls of Slender Means - that one is so dramatic.

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  6. You are clever Simon. I like:
    The Comforters for it's good old fashioned look.
    The Ballad of Peckham Rye for it's retro feel.
    Loitering with Intent because I think it's my favorite novel and I think these newer designs are quite good
    A Far Cry from Kensington because it's so stylish.

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  7. I like the old covers as well - I have the same edition of The Comforters, and your copy of Girls of Slender Means is the best - but my copy of The Ballad of Peckham Rye, with devil and angel, is much nicer I think! http://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/devilish-visit-to-peckham-rye.html

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  8. Oh, these are great! I think that Momento Mori and the Comforters are my favorite, with The Bachelors a close third. I love a simple, somewhat monochramatic cover...

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  9. I like "The Drivers Seat". It gives such a strong impression of character in such a simple image and I think that matches what I've read of Muriel Spark so far. It's also got that feel of something suppressed in the character and again I think that comes across in some of the characters on the pages of her stories.
    As for Ballad Of Peckham Rye, I've got a newish Penguin Modern Classics Edition - I think the cover is rather odd ( I much prefer the cover on Christine's edition above!) Perhaps this is the worst cover?!
    http://theonlywayisreading.com/currently-reading/

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  10. The old Penguins are lovely - my Memento Mori is one of those - although I do like the Memento Mori you have above!

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  11. I love these covers! My favorite (like many others here) is The Comforters.

    Most of my copies of her books are published by New Directions, and they're very interesting, almost collage-like. And of course I appreciate that they match each other on the shelf. ;)

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  12. I love the old penguin ones I ll be on look out for one when in sheffield later this week ,all the best stu

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  13. Lovely covers. All interesting in different ways and some are really great pieces of artwork. I've only read three or four of them but will now be looking out for the others for the stories and the pictures.

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  14. I love:

    The Only Problem
    The Girls of Slender Means
    Memento Mori

    Covers are so important...

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  15. The Old Penguins are so good. I'm currently reading 'The girls of slender means' and I think the cover gives something I haven't got to yet away... Grr!

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    1. I didn't want to draw anyone's attention to that cover but it is a bit of a spoiler! I've found that in blurbs and introductions before so generally avoid them before reading but you don't expect it in the cover art and it's hard to avoid.

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  16. Wow, these are all so very different, aren't they? It is interesting to see how many of these covers have Spark's name much larger than the book's title.

    My favourite covers are:
    Momento Mori
    The Ballad of Peckham Rye
    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

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  17. How amazing to see all those different covers. The Girls of Slender Means is a bit surprsing. Bit of a spoiler really.
    Here is the link to my review of Territorial Rights.
    http://beautyisasleepingcat.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/muriel-spark-territorial-rights-1979-2/

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    1. I wrote my comment before I read yours. You are totally right about the spoiler for TGoSM.

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  18. The book covers are a delight, as are the titles of her books - The Girls of Slender Means, A Far Cry from Kensington, The Hothouse by the East River.

    It's past time for me to re-read some of these. Great idea, having an MS reading week.

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  19. My least-liked covers (above) are The Drivers Seat and The Finishing School/ I love the cover of The Comforters.
    I have just this minute finished reading my first Muriel Spark, "The Only Problem" and don't yet know what I thought of it. So far I will say that it is my ideal length for a book, in my Penuin Edition 189 pages. I can't bear and don't read doorsteps.

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  20. I think The Girls of Slender Means gives away too much. I really dislike Loitering With Intent, I don't think it catches the spirit of even light-hearted Spark. I like The Comforters the best. I have that version of The Takeover. It is a hc first edition. I don't really like it, but it is rather indicative of the publish date (1976) and general groove of the story.

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  21. I love all the covers! My favorites are "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and "Loitering with Intent." I read "Loitering" for your Muriel Spark Reading Week and reviewed it on my blog. Thanks so much for introducing me to a wonderful writer!

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  22. I've just found another Spark in the house and on my blog (craftypeople.wordpress.com) I've posted a link to some great Spark covers.

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  23. What a great round up. I love many of these covers, with the distinct exception of The Girls of Slender Means, which I just finished reading. What a heavy-handed, spoiler of a cover! The cover on the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is lovely, and the one for Aiding and Abetting reminds me of the illustrations on a some Evelyn Waugh novels that I have.

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  24. This has arrived quite happily in my Google Reader so I hope that glitch with your blog yesterday was just a momentary aberation!

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  25. Confess I find it easy to ignore a cover that I find incongruous, though a good one will prompt you to pick up a book you might otherwise have passed over.
    I have just posted a review of A Far Cry from Kensington. Just wondered if people will post links here so I can see what others have been reading.
    http://www.silencingthebell.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/pisseur-de-copie.html
    Thanks for the project
    martine

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  26. My very battered Penguin edition of Memento Mori has a wonderful photogrpah of an old dear on the telephone. I've not been able to find an image of it on the internet to pilfer, so I'll have to try and take a photograph of it and post it on my blog at some point.

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  27. I actually really like the new (2007 - onwards) Penguin Modern Classics covers. My favourite isn't the one here - The Driver's Seat - but probably Eudora Welty's The Golden Apples.

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  28. I really like that cover for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Old book covers are so wonderful. Art that's very of its time.

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