#books #classics #covers #writing

Kafka Covers by Peter Menelsund

January 26, 2011

Christopher Jobson

In 2004 I moved from Chicago to Prague to finish a writing degree through Columbia College. For six weeks I wandered the narrow cobblestone corridors of Prague, drank beers the size of my head, and in my spare time read the complete works of Franz Kafka. We’re talking every single book including The Castle, his technically unfinished novel that is in essence, madness. I wouldn’t say that makes me any kind of authority on his work, but I will say that these incredible covers by Peter Menelsund, the art director for Knopf (that owns publishing rights to all of Kafka’s work), perfectly captures the essence and concurrent themes in much of his writing. Even the use of Mister K, a font based on Kafka’s own handwriting is surprisingly pitch-perfect and not gimmicky as one might expect. And the eyes:

So, as you can see, I’ve gone with eyes here (not the first or last time I will use an eye as a device on a jacket-book covers are, after all, faces, both literally and figuratively, of the books they wrap). I find eyes, taken in the singular, create intimacy, and in the plural instill paranoia. This seemed a good combo for Kafka- who is so very adept at the portrayal of the individual, as well as the portrayal of the persecution of the individual.

The books will be available in June or July of this year. (via coudal)

#books #classics #covers #writing


Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.



Also on Colossal

Related posts on Colossal about books classics covers writing