Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers, by Margret C. Sullivan – A Review

Jane Austen Cover to Cover Margaret Sullivan 2014 x 400

From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

In my opinion, the true sign of loving a book is owning multiple copies and versions of it. For example, I myself own six different copies of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Over the years, I’ve found annotated versions, paperbacks, hardcovers, illustrated, vintage, and many other types of printings. I enjoy collecting different copies to compare covers, prefaces, introductions, and illustrations (if they have them.) I love finding new and used bookstores and scouring the shelves for new copies of my favorite books. As a collector will tell you, you can never have enough. I was therefore understandably excited to receive a copy of Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margret Sullivan, which is a great companion for any Austen collector.

   pandppeacock_geoallen1894 x 175      emma_abbey-classics x 189

Cover to Cover is a collection of various Jane Austen covers, from the first printing of Sense and Sensibility to modern covers printed around the world. Interlaced with these covers are descriptions and historical facts, including a mini-biography of Austen’s life, as well as tips on collecting Austen’s works for the mini-librarian in all of us. Pertinent and humorous quotes are sprinkled in as well, along with the beautiful images of the covers themselves.  There’s also even a section displaying and discussing the covers of the movie adaptations of Austen’s works.

At first glance, I thought this book would be a perfect coffee table companion and a great conversation piece. It’s larger than an average novel, and it has an interesting collage of various Austen covers on its cover. I was really impressed with Sullivan’s commentary. It was very well researched, and didn’t read as a history lesson, but rather from one fan to another. She took the time to make what she was writing appealing, and her words pair well with the glossy covers that abut them.

Pulp the Classics Pride and Prejudice 2013 x 155          Jane Austen Spanish x 150

I really enjoyed learning about the international editions, some of them had some really funny 60’s and 70’s pulp covers that looked like the noir covers you’d find on old mystery books. On the other hand, you can’t help but admire the famous “peacock cover” of 1894. I even have a tee shirt with this cover on it from Out of Print.com! With all of these interesting covers to peruse, it’s easy to get lost in this book. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to the bookstore so that I can increase my collection (much to my husband’s chagrin!) For those of you with an Austen lover in your life, this Valentine’s Day would be a perfect time to gift this book!

5 out of 5 Stars

Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers, by Margaret C. Sullivan
Quirk Books (11 November 2014), 224 pages
eBook: ASIN: B00KEOF6LU
Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1594747250

Barnes & Nobel | Amazon | Book Depository | Indie Bound | Goodreads

 Additional Reviews

Cover & images courtesy of Quirk Books © 2014; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2015, Austenprose.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

13 thoughts on “Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers, by Margret C. Sullivan – A Review

  1. We think it quite charming that you own six copies of P&P Kim, but our first reaction was, only six? You have a few years of collecting to catch up!

    This book is fascinating. Seeing all of the different covers assembled together is really beguiling. One can get lost in it for hours. Margaret’s choices and commentary are insightful and humorous.

    You are right. It is the perfect gift for a Janeite. Thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • HAHA! LA I have SO many Austen books! I also don’t just collect Austen. When I travel internationally I buy classics written in the native tongue of the country I’m visiting. I have these amazing leather-bound illustrated Spanish versions of Don Quixote. When I go to England and France in August I’ll be increasing my collection again. (Much to Todd’s chagrin lol)

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  2. That is definitely the way to see if a person loves a book! Lol I just looked and laughed at my library. Well written :) Also Cover to Cover sounds amazing. They sent it to the right person!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s pretty funny Laurel Ann. That was my reaction too…only 6 copies but then I thought about it and realized I was a P & P snob because that’s all I collect Austen wise. 200 years is now on my must have list!

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  4. Kimberly: I smiled when I read the first line of your post: “In my opinion, the true sign of loving a book is owning multiple copies and versions of it.” Amen, sister. Like Ahab navigating the seven seas in the hunt for the elusive white while, a true book collector visits countless bookstores, patiently rummaging through towering stacks of books, reading the spines of miles worth of bookshelves to find that one version of a novel that he or she doesn’t already own. What would book collecting be without the eternal search for the white whale? Fortunately for incurable bibliophiles, certain authors (like Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy, Dumas, etc.) have never been out of print — over centuries. There are many beautiful editions to be rescued from forgotten, forlorn existences (or fiery deaths as libraries discard printed editions — the horror!) to find their home on a cherished bookshelf, together with their kindred editions. Cheers, Alex

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  5. I loved this book, too! It made me want to expand my collection beyond the various annotated editions. I think my husband will make me cull a few hundred books from my library first (non-JA stuff, of course), and I think it might be worth it! :)

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