A book of new covers for Nabakov’s Lolita that were submitted by 60 well-known designers to a competition comes out in June.
Among the problems Nabokov’s Lolita poses for the book designer, probably the thorniest is the popular misconception of the title character. She’s chronically miscast as a teenage sexpot—just witness the dozens of soft-core covers over the years. “We are talking about a novel which has child rape at its core,” says John Bertram, an architect and blogger who, three years ago, sponsored a Lolita cover competition asking designers to do better.
My favourite is the one below by Peter Mendelsund because it directly refers to what I think are the finest opening sentences ever written.