Book Covers that Move You

Book Covers That Move You: Pride and Prejudice Across the Ages

In case you have not already heard, Pride and Prejudice  recently turned two-hundred years old. The consummate Austen fan, I could not pass up the opportunity to celebrate this historic anniversary with a small gesture of my own–a retrospective look at Pride and Prejudice covers.

pp 1938

Penguin Illustrated Classics, 1938


This cover depicts Elizabeth’s famous horseback jaunt to Netherfield in the rain. One has to wonder what the engraver meant to say about Pride and Prejudice with this image. Always trust mother? Caring for your sick sister will eventually land you the man of your dreams?




pride and prejudice 1946

World Publishing Company, 1946


Who exactly is depicted on this 1946 cover of Pride and Prejudice? The green military uniform suggests Fitzwilliam. But does this mean that the man in blue with the blond/grey hair is Mr. Darcy? Or, is that Mr. Bingley? If so, Mr. Darcy is conspicuously absent from this 1946 cover. . . On a final note, I cannot help but be amused by the riotous plumes sported by both ladies and gentlemen alike.






1950s Pride and Prejudice

Regent Classics, 1950s (Photo Courtesy of Penelope Cat Vintage)




What stripes?! Barbershop “Betty Crocker” Elizabeth meets Darcy the Music Man. Their union is foretold by singing “Hot Cross Buns.”







Tom Doherty Associates, 1984


“Mom’s fishing for husbands–but the girls are hunting for love. . . ”

Like the subtitle, everything about this 1984 Pride and Prejudice cover is downright ridiculous. From the white picket fence and the trellis to Elizabeth’s midair suspension and Botox smile, it’s a wonder this cover inspired readers to do anything other than laugh.






puffin pride

Puffin Classics, 1995



This cover designer captures the subdued, introspective elements of Pride and Prejudice–The pink and pining Elizabeth. And, Darcy now has highly defined side burns.





pp modern library

The Modern Library, 2000



This time Elizabeth has turned blond! Or, are we looking at Darcy and Jane? Perhaps the cover designer was trying to send a subliminal message about the fates of our favorite couples.






pp oxford

Oxford World’s Classics, 2008



No Mr. Darcy here. Pride and Prejudice really is all about Elizabeth. . . .








~ Michelle


4 thoughts on “Book Covers That Move You: Pride and Prejudice Across the Ages

  1. Some of these…. what were they thinking? I could see the 1938 one on a bookshelf nowadays though. Interesting how the covers changed so much.


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