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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Anne of Green Gables and Sylvia Plath Get Sexed Up

Posted by on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 4:25 PM

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The Toronto Sun notes:

[Anne of Green Gables], typically portrayed as a young redhead with freckles, has been transformed on the cover of a new edition of the Lucy Maud Montgomery classic. She is now a busty blonde propped up against a bail of hay.

Here's Anne's first appearance, at the beginning of Chapter 3 of Anne of Green Gables:

Marilla came briskly forward as Matthew opened the door. But when her eyes fell on the odd little figure in the stiff, ugly dress, with the long braids of red hair and the eager, luminous eyes, she stopped short in amazement.

Later in the book, she identifies herself as eleven years old. Which makes this cover extra-terrible. But Anne, at least, is not alone in the weird publishing hell of being misrepresented on a book cover. There's a sexy Bell Jar cover, too:

The London Review of Books called the cover “silly,” while everyone from Jezebel’s Tracie Egan Morrissey to Letters of Note founder Shaun Usher called it “hideous.” Journalist Sarah McAlpine termed it “an insult to women everywhere.”

The cover’s detractors say that it both contradicts the book’s messages about gender oppression and condescends to today’s readers.

Who says women are misrepresented in the publishing industry? I can't wait for the sexy A Room of One's Own cover, featuring a woman in lingerie and heels sprawled across a bed with a vibrator tucked discreetly away in her hand.

 

Comments (35) RSS

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Anna Anna Anna 1
or Plathed up.
Posted by Anna Anna Anna on February 6, 2013 at 4:32 PM · Report this
seatackled 2
Did Canadian lasses in the early 20th century wear plaid cowboy shirts, too?
Posted by seatackled on February 6, 2013 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Jessica 3
Okay, so someone couldn't find a stock photo of a redhead ANYWHERE? And Anne never even wanted blonde hair, she always wanted hair that was "a beautiful raven black" which is why she bought the potion from the peddler that turned her hair green and I JUST HAVE A LOT OF ANNE SHIRLEY FEELINGS.
Posted by Jessica on February 6, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
seatackled 4
@3
Here's a radio report I heard last night from a Canadian broadcast.
http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/features/2…
Posted by seatackled on February 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this
5
Oh my god, almost her entire arm is bare.
Posted by GermanSausage on February 6, 2013 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
Just remember, sexy sexy Canadians don't have half the hangups the Brits or Yanks do.

Look at that ankle!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 7
Photos of sexy beautiful women, oh the horror.

Paul, the really sad thing is you work with Dan Savage and you still can't man up enough to come out of the closet.

Keep hanging in there pal, it gets better.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 6, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
8
Never judge a cover by its book
Posted by bradl on February 6, 2013 at 5:21 PM · Report this
Fnarf 9
They should have gone all the way and put her in a bra and panties. Or on a pole.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 6, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
@9 I think you mean Polish Canadians.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Mary P. Traverse 11
OK @5, @6, and @7, this is not about being prudish, it's that the stock photo is COMPLETELY WRONG for the story! Anne Shirley is a gawky pre-adolescent with red hair. Period. @3 is TOTALLY RIGHT AND I SHARE YOUR FEELINGS!
Posted by Mary P. Traverse http://www.nerdhole.org/ on February 6, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 12
@11
No, the issue is Paul Constant attempting to conceal his sexual identity and not coming to terms with who he is. It is pretty sad, but I wish him strength in completing his journey through life.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 6, 2013 at 5:45 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 13
Not defending the ridiculousness of putting a sexy blonde in contemporary clothes on the cover, but it is a three-book box set, including Anne of the Island wherein Anne is old enough to go to college.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 6, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this
14
She was NOT blonde. She never dyes her hair in the book. This is ALL BS. And here's what else:

“If Sylvia Plath hadn’t already killed herself, she probably would’ve if she saw the new cover of her only novel The Bell Jar,” wrote Jezebel’s Morrissey, who then added her aesthetic judgment of the artwork: “Also, it’s ugly and the colors suck.”
Posted by westello on February 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 15
3 & 11 have got it. The issue of sexuality is sold to get the prudies on their side. The important part is the hair. Anne Shirley's red hair is a major part of her character, a constant throughout the books. It would be like casting LeBron James as Frodo or Jackie Chan as Pope Pius XII. The publisher's have a profound misunderstanding of what it is they're printing.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 6, 2013 at 6:11 PM · Report this
Jessica 16
@13: the raciest Anne ever got was dating Royal Gardner and turning down his proposal, not banging in the hayfields of PEI.
Posted by Jessica on February 6, 2013 at 6:13 PM · Report this
17
Then don't buy it, people. Don't buy it. I wouldn't.
Posted by floater on February 6, 2013 at 6:17 PM · Report this
18
Megan Follows was soooooo fine!
Posted by paulus on February 6, 2013 at 6:29 PM · Report this
seatackled 19
@18
She was the only reason I watched the PBS broadcasts.

I saw her on an episode of Law and Order once playing the accused mother of a dead child. I thought that she was going to make it big in Hollywood, but I guess she decided she'd rather go for steady work in Canada.
Posted by seatackled on February 6, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
20
I won't even buy a book that has the movie-version of the characters pictured on the cover. This is an abomination.
Posted by StuckInUtah on February 6, 2013 at 7:04 PM · Report this
21
@11, no, no. It's really, really prudish.

You can argue about hair color of the cover model vs. the character all you want. That's a really inane and obsessive thing to do, but hey, some nerds don't have anything better to do. Turning this into something sexual is just plain prudery.
Posted by GermanSausage on February 6, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
Julie in Eugene 22
@21. It's actually not at all an inane and obsessive thing to do when it is a major plot point in the books that she's a redhead. It's not just a one-line throwaway description -- whole story lines revolve around her having red hair (e.g., the hair dying incident @3 mentions).
Posted by Julie in Eugene on February 6, 2013 at 7:45 PM · Report this
23
Frankly, I'm surprised this is getting any traction with anyone, but of course! The original article forgot to mention that this isn't even a real publisher-- there's an industry out there of people who just get every public domain title they can get their hands on, slap some half-assed (probably not licensed) image and text together to make a cover and churn it out in ebook format or even upload as POD title.
So this is one tiny step removed from self-publishing. And we know the kind of covers that show up in that field...
Posted by Vlad on February 6, 2013 at 7:56 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 24
"50 Shades of Green (Gables)"
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 6, 2013 at 7:57 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 25
@24
lol
Touche my friend, touche.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 6, 2013 at 8:12 PM · Report this
26
The cover is terrible. Not because it is "sexed up" or whatever, but because it is TERRIBLE.
Posted by wingedkat on February 6, 2013 at 10:19 PM · Report this
27
@22 - Exactly.

@21 - I guess we're nerds who are passionate about Anne of Green Gables and have "nothing better to do". You're a person who's taking the time to fight with a bunch of people who love Anne of Green Gables. So ... that's where you're at.
Posted by Amanda on February 6, 2013 at 11:30 PM · Report this
28
What's Anne of Green Gables?
Posted by catsnbanjos on February 7, 2013 at 5:30 AM · Report this
Resident Clinton 29
This reminds me of my favorite cover for Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. http://bit.ly/XnKpHD
Posted by Resident Clinton on February 7, 2013 at 7:00 AM · Report this
Resident Clinton 30
@12 Paul Constant is actually a woman. Duh!
Posted by Resident Clinton on February 7, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
Cracker Jack 31
I haven't been as active on SLOG lately... Are GermanSausage and Canadian Bacon one meat-headed troll or two?
Posted by Cracker Jack on February 7, 2013 at 8:28 AM · Report this
32
People are missing the important thing. These editions will probably go out of print soon, and they will be highly prized sources of comedy for future generations. Especially the Bell Jar cover.

I've got some used copies of Swann's Way and Jane Eyre whose covers make them both look like trashy 80's romance novels, and I totally do not regret those purchases.
Posted by redemma on February 7, 2013 at 9:02 AM · Report this
Cornichon 33
Some may bewail the new art for Anne, but the Toronto Sun can't even afford even one lousy proofreader?

"...propped up against a bail of hay" indeed.
Posted by Cornichon http://cornichon.org on February 7, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
34
@33: It's the Toronto Sun. They issued a correction earlier this year that mispelled "correction." YEP.
Posted by Gloria on February 7, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this
35
@33: It's the Toronto Sun. They issued a correction earlier last year that mispelled "correction." YEP.
Posted by Gloria on February 7, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this

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