(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘cover art

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts”*…

James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Alfred A. Knopf (1953)

Book jackets are supposed to do heavy sales duty:  evocative art, enticing text– it’s all supposed to instill an irresistible urge to “buy me, read me.”  Facsimile Dust Jackets is a colossal collection of covers, mostly from the 1920s-1950s, that one can buy to wrap around one’s own old books, frame as the works of art that they are… or simply browse for the pleasure of peaking through a colorful window back in time.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, The Hogarth Press (1925)

Ian Flemming, Casino Royale, Jonathan Cape (1964 reprint based on ariginal)

Read all about it here, and browse the collection– currently over 9,300 covers– here.

* Charles Dickens


As we dust our dust jackets, we might send sentimental birthday greetings to James Hilton; he was born on this date in 1900.  While Hilton capped his career as a successful screenwriter (Mrs. Miniver, Foreign Correspondent, Camille, and many others), he is probably best remembered as a novelist– especially as the author of Lost Horizon (thus, the creator of Shangri-La) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

James Hilton, Lost Horizon, The Macmillan Company (1933)



Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 9, 2013 at 1:01 am

Lurid is as lurid does…


Readers can craft their own sensational pulp novel covers (your correspondent’s first essay, above) at Pulp-O-Mizer.

[TotH to Richard Kadrey, whose example your correspondent follows in this, as in so many things…]

For inspiration, readers can browse Steven Brower’s wondrous Breathless Homicidal Slime Mutants- the Art of the Paperback.


As we prepare to turn the page, we might send glamorous birthday greetings to Sári Gábor, better known in the U.S. as Zsa Zsa Gabor; she was born on this date in 1917… or so the preponderance of sources suggest.  While the month and day of her birth are agreed, other sources suggest the year was 1918, 1919, or 1920.  Ms. Gabor has not been forthcoming on the question.

Crowned Miss Hungary in 1936, Gabor emigrated to the U.S. five years later, and began a career as an actress.  But while she had some success in supporting roles on stage and in films, her celebrity was as a socialite and as a frequent visitor to the altar.  She has been married nine times.  She is the second of three sisters:  her elder sister, Magda was a socialite; her younger sister, Eva, an actress and businesswoman.  Together, they were known as “The Gabor Girls”– in the words of Merv Griffin, “glamor personified… All these years later, it’s hard to describe the phenomenon of the three glamorous Gabor girls and their ubiquitous mother. They burst onto the society pages and into the gossip columns so suddenly, and with such force, it was as if they’d been dropped out of the sky.”

A man in love is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished.

I am a marvellous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.

A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 6, 2013 at 1:01 am





Michael Gross, the art director of the National Lampoon in its 70s heyday and creator of the (in)famous work above, also created a parody issue of Print.

Read all about it in “The Cutting Humor of Michael Gross” in ImPrint

[TotH to J.J. Sedelmaier]


As we reach for the rubber cement, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that Richard Wayne Penniman– better known as Little Richard– recorded Tutti Frutti.”  As History.com reports,

Tutti frutti, good booty…” was the way the version went that Little Richard was accustomed to performing in his club act, and from there it got into lyrical territory that would demand censorship even by today’s standards. It was during a lunch break from his first-ever recording session that Little Richard went to the piano and banged that filthy tune out for producer Bumps Blackwell, who was extremely unhappy with the results of the session so far. As Blackwell would later tell it, “He hits that piano, dididididididididi…and starts to sing, ‘Awop-bop-a-Loo-Mop a-good Goddam…’ and I said ‘Wow! That’s what I want from you Richard. That’s a hit!'” But first, the song’s racy lyrics had to be reworked for there to be any chance of the song being deemed acceptable by the conservative American audience of the 1950s.

An aspiring local songwriter by the name of Dorothy La Bostrie was quickly summoned to the Dew Drop Inn [in New Orleans] to come up with new lyrics for the un-recordable original, and by the time they all returned from lunch, the “Tutti frutti, all rooty” with which we are now familiar was written down alongside lyrics about two gals named Sue and Daisy. In the last 15 minutes of that historic recording session on September 14, 1955, “Tutti Frutti” was recorded, and Little Richard’s claim to have been present at the birth of rock and roll was secured.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

The Sincerest Form of Flattery…

Sarah Johnson, a reference librarian at Eastern Illinois University, and keeper of Reading the Past, began to notice some striking similarities in the cover art of books she was reviewing.  She began to collect examples, and viola– Reusable Cover Art, from whence, the example above.

Click through for many other striking (and often, amusingly ironic) resemblances– and all the way to the bottom of the gallery for a nifty set of links to even more.

(Thanks to reader NM)

As we contemplate Shepard Fairey’s predicament, we might recall that it was on this date in 1884 that the first edition of The Oxford English Dictionary was published.   Edited by James Murray (“The Professor” in Simon Winchester’s wonderful The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary), it was originally a project of the Philological Society of London, devoted to cataloging the English words that had evaded inclusion in then-current dictionaries.  The first edition had the benefit of 27 years of work, by dozens of contributors; it sold 4,000 copies.

James Murray in the Scriptorium, the home of the OED,
on Banbury Road in Oxford (source)

Amazing covers for Amazing Stories (and other magazines)…

Clintriter (Glenn Harris) has given us the gift of his collection of vintage speculative fiction magazine covers…  the wonder!  the awe!

Marvel at them all here.

As we get down with our inner Jules Verne, we might run in gleeful circles– on this date in 1912, Keystone Pictures premiered Hoffmeyer’s Release, the first Keystone Kops picture.

Keystone Kops (The policeman at the left in extreme background is Edgar Kennedy; the hefty officer at extreme right is Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle.)

But while comic genius Mack Sennett’s career took off, another important artist was stalled:  on precisely that same day, Nouvelle Revue Francaise, rejected an excerpt from Remembrance of Things Past (or, as the translation is now somewhat better known, In Search of Lost Time).  Following a series of similar rejections, Marcel Proust was reduced to publishing his first volume, Swann’s Way, at his own expense the following year.  Thankfully for Alain de Botton (and us), it was a great success.

The Master of the Madeleine

Here begineth your correspondent’s annual hiatus, the period when the responsibilities of the Holidays and the exigencies of travel overwhelm his (already marginal) capacity to focus…  There will likely be a post or three over the next ten days or so, but these missives will resume regularly early in the next decade.  (“Next decade”…  has a nice ring, doesn’t it?)

Meantime, Happy Holidays!

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