Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sod’s Law sub-clause 304(b)

No sooner do I pontificate about mainstream book reviewers being interested in theme, plot and character, not technique, than John Mullan posts an article for The Guardian about how Alasdair Gray’s cover and illustrations for his own novel Lanark: A Life in Four Books illuminate his work (in more senses than one). A whipped dog, I shall growl only that it has taken twenty-six years since publication for the press to notice.

Curiously, my copy of Lanark, a 1987 Paladin paperback edition, has a completely different cover, also by Gray, and taken from the title page to Chapter 4. Perhaps the nude lady was too much for Paladin's editors. It obviously draws on the imagery of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, but it has been too long since I read the book for me to comment otherwise.


Joe said...

It always amused the booksellers in my last shop that the cover to Lanark was a parody of the cover of the Penguin Classics edition of Hobbes' Leviathan. I was quite pleased when the rights reverted back to Edinburgh's Canongate a few years ago, especially as they used the occasion to make a beautiful box set, splitting it into the four books of the title, each with different covers, all the artwork on them and the slipcase by Alisdair of course, just a lovely book to have.

Steve Flanagan said...

Oooh, that edition sounds appealing. But I really can't justify splashing out on another copy. Can I?

Laurence said...

Hi there,
it's good to see there are quite a few gray fans out there!
I was wondering if maybe you or anyone who happens to come round here has the original 1981 copy of Lanark and could maybe send me a scan? (I'm writing a dissertation and I can't seem to figure out which cover is the original one!!!)