Pulp! The Classics: The classical canon gets pulped
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Monday 15 April 2013
Is this how to sell Robinson Crusoe and Bleak House to a new generation? To package them like pulp fiction (complete with cheap-looking yellow-sprayed colour edges), give them a raunchy cover and précis the contents with a trashy tagline? Oldcastle Books thinks so. Its “Pulp! The Classics” imprint has already brought out retro versions of Pride and Prejudice (“Lock Up Your Daughters – Darcy’s In Town!”), Robinson Crusoe (“Solitude Was Driving Him Nuts!”) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (“Murder… Mystery… Walkies!”) with cover art by David Mann, and inevitably it has turned its sights on The Great Gatsby, to coincide with the movie’s release on 15 May.
On the new cover, featuring the titular hero in a trenchcoat, flanked by a brace of dames in strapless décolletage, F Scott Fitzgerald’s slender masterpiece gets the shoutline, “When it came to loving… He knew which Daisy to pick!” Purists may claim this is a reductive encapsulation of Gatsby’s hopeless longing for Daisy Buchanan and his lifelong campaign to make himself worthy of her, but it has, you must admit, a breezy appeal. It’s a long way from Germano Facetti’s 1973 Penguin Modern Classic cover design, that used a satirical detail from Montparno’s Blues by Kees Van Dongen; but it’s way better than having a movie still of Leo DiCaprio’s bland little face on the front of the book.
Not that Oldcastle Books is averse to incorporating movie-star faces. The cover of its Wuthering Heights gives us a Bogart as Heathcliff (complete with cigarette dangling from his lips), Tess of the D’Urbervilles (“She’s No Angel!”) pictures Tess as a barmaid-ish Monroe, and The Picture of Dorian Gray offers us the picture of what seems to be Ryan Gosling in a wing collar…
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Game of Thrones season 5: Emilia Clarke praises characters who 'accept their femininity'
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Glastonbury 2015 tickets: How to make sure you’re successful in Sunday's re-sale
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate