Cover to Cover with King Lear

As one of the most prolific and familiar authors ever, it’s high time that I took a look at some Shakespeare covers. Are you ready for a slew of angry and sad old men? Because that seems to be the theme of King Lear covers.

But I mean, I would be angry and sad too if I split my kingdom up between my daughters only to have them turn on me and cast me out into a raging storm. Even worse is realizing that you’ve alienated and banished the only people who really care about you. Even worse is when everyone seems to kick the bucket at around the same time – although that’s just par for the course in a Shakespearean tragedy.

Anyway. On to the angry and sad old men. It’s nice to see that at least a few of the covers portray Lear in his delightful crown of wildflowers – one of the few parts of the play where he actually gets to seem, you know, happy.

Cambridge edition   Graphic Novel edition   Illustrated edition

Oxford school edition     The Arden Shakespeare     wordsworth classics

I’m also a huge fan of this one, from Russian graphic designer Kseniia Shevchuk:

Kseniia edition

Finally, I can’t talk about King Lear  and not recommend Christopher Moore’s Fool, which retells the play from the Fool’s perspective. Absolutely hysterical. A great way to take in Shakespeare without actually slogging through Shakespeare.

Which cover is your favourite? I’d love to see your comments. Feel free to link to any great cover art that I’ve missed!

Cover to Cover is a weekly project comparing and critiquing the various covers of popular novels, published every Wednesday. Find more posts in this series here.


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