A Confederacy of Covers

I think most of us are fairly interested in cover choices, especially if one book gets a lot of different ones. So I thought I’d turn this post over to various A Confederacy of Dunces covers –









The one I really like was actually from a competition to make Polish covers for favourite books; I don’t think it was every published in this edition. More details here.


Which is your favourite and least favourite? My least favourite, by a country mile, is the hideous neon one which seems to abound in bookshops currently – the fifth one down in this post.

12 thoughts on “A Confederacy of Covers

  • June 22, 2011 at 12:34 am
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    I loved this book! We have the one with cover #4 – and, I like it better than the others. Maybe it was having seen the cover before actually reading it that influenced my visual image of the character – and, that's how I see him. How about illustrating the mother?

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  • June 22, 2011 at 1:11 am
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    I have to agree with you that the 5th one down is the worst. I like the two below it, though.

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  • June 22, 2011 at 2:17 am
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    I am nostalgically partial to the old Penguin covers, plain as they were.

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  • June 22, 2011 at 7:05 am
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    I too like the old Penguin — the second one — and then after that the new Penguin. Haven't read the book, though — I wonder if I'd change my mind if I did?

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  • June 22, 2011 at 10:47 am
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    I am actually most drawn to the first cover – I like the limited colour range. That is definitely the one I would want to pick up in a bookshop. Though, as with Harriet, my opinion would probably change if I'd read the book!

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  • June 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm
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    Another vote for the orange cover as my favourite and I agree with you on number five…blech!

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  • June 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm
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    I agree about the fifth cover – it's ugly and it doesn't make a lot of sense. The first copy I had in the 70s had the 4th cover down – that was a common practice then, I think, to show the characters on the cover ('look at all the fun kooky characters in this novel!')but you often feel like the illustrator didn't read the book.
    My favorites are the last two – only because I'd rather look at them than any of the others.

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  • June 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm
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    ^ Just saw it was published in 1980 so I guess I couldn't have seen it in the 70s! Although it feels like I did – the confusions of aging.

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  • June 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm
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    Interestingly, based on any of these covers (except the plain Penguin one) I would choose not to read the book, because they evoke the gross physicality which you had problems with; I too have a very limited appetite for that kind of thing.

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  • June 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm
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    I ve the cupcake version of this came in a penguin box set ,all the best stu

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  • June 23, 2011 at 7:46 pm
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    Mine was the ghastly green one #5. I like the orange penguin first, then the black and white drawing one near the end.

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  • June 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm
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    Nancy – when I searched my inbox for the title, I found a very old recommendation of the novel from you! I've got to say, the cover you've got seems least to capture the spirit of the book for me, but I suspect that's because all the others are quite similar.

    Susan – I can't believe the 5th one got chosen – the whole range of covers for that series is on caustic cover critic, and msot of the rest are brilliant.

    Lisa May – I often am, but in this case I think it is a little too plain for the hilarity and absurdity of the novel.

    Harriet – I suspect you might… I'd lend you a copy, but I actually borrowed mine from the library, and don't own one.

    Escaping – I do like that one too; not very close to the book, but very striking.

    Darlene – I would never have picked it off the shelf with the 5th cover, definitely.

    Melinda – I hate it when illustrators obviously haven't read the book in question – at least most of these seem to know what clothes Ignatius always wears.

    Anna – the first few pages are the same; I wouldn't have got beyond them under my own steam.

    Stu – oh, I didn't realise they'd done a whole boxset – I love the other covers in that series.

    Annabel – b/w one was the first edition, so obviously they should have stuck with something that worked(!)

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