How Do You Solve A (Design) Problem Like “Lolita”?

Posted: August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Fast Company has a great article on the difficulty of creating the perfect cover design for Nabokov’s Lolita.

Because of the intertwining, sometimes contradictory interpretations of the text, and the degree to which Lolita is dehumanized and victimized by Humbert Humbert, there have been many awful covers for Lolita over the years. Whether through sloppiness, a shallow reading of the text, or sheer callousness, many Lolita covers have been complicit with Humbert Humbert in portraying Lolita as a saucy, sexually voracious nymphet, a portrayal only exacerbated by Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 adaptation of the novel.

Bertram found these covers frustrating, and these frustrations bore the project. “Many covers make the mistake of being an almost glamour shot of an older adolescent who is sexually mature,” says Bertram. “It’s a gross misreading of the book that should never be there at all. You need to portray what Lolita has gone through, but there’s not a lot of leeway between the two extremes. It begins to suggest that the girl of Lolita should not be the subject of the cover at all.”

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