One of the more popular novels that Jane Austen has written is Pride and Prejudice and this popularity has brought numerous adaptations with both movies, miniseries, along with different book covers. Conservative Growth Inc. took their own understanding with this timeless classic and created a rather intense romantic scene and put it on the front cover. Standing front and center are two models posing in a sexual matter. While they possibly portray two characters within the story, the male model leans into kiss the female model as he pulls down her dress. The female herself is leaning her head so her neck is more exposed and the facial expressions indicate that she is enjoying what is going on. This still-life itself indicates that this novel could be a romance with sexual scenes within the pages.
Avid Jane Austen fans would find this cover a false advertisement for a book company trying to sell books. One clear indication that this book is historically inaccurate is the dress attire the female model are wearing. Austen fans would quickly point out the woman’s dress suggests that she is not proper. Jane Austen herself never had her female characters wear dresses that included the color red. Red dressed women during these times meant that they engaged in prostitution, and within Pride and Prejudice no character was intermingled with such behavior. The male model is wearing a sport coat, which during Austen’s time was also uncommon. His hair is also styled in a modern way, which indicates this book is from the current time-period.
It is hard to figure out which two characters the cover is depicting, but an educated guess would be Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, who are the two central characters of the novel. The two do indeed marry by the end of the narrative, but they never engage in any sexual behavior, especially portrayed on the cover. Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy unappealing in the way he acts toward her and others during a gathering in the beginning part of the novel and when he proposes the initial time, she denies the request.
“Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of all that he felt and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well, but there were feelings beside those of the heart to be detailed, and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride” (Austen 131).
This portion of the paragraph explicated from Austen gives a clear understanding that Elizabeth finds Darcy unfit and in turn rejects him. This backs up the notion that the cover gives an inaccurate depiction of the actual storyline. It instead depicts a steamy romance novel that instead stems away from Jane Austen and more toward a modern-day romance novel full of sex appeal.
A second part of the cover that tries to make Conservative Growth Inc. a profit is the audience it serves. Above the two characters are the words “Classics in Large Print” and on the back cover there is a sentence that reads “This new series, making use of the latest in printing methods for seniors and visually impaired readers, is making available many of the greatest books ever written” (Conservative Growth Inc). Before that sentence, there are two questions asking if ones’ eyesight is declining and if they enjoy reading classic novels.. Not until the bottom of the page do you get the synopsis of the novel. Back on the front, the calligraphy-styled title hints that the book is a classic and so does Jane Austen’s name, but that is an after thought compared to the fact that the book is in large print.
Between two models portraying sexual acts that ‘occur’ inside Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice and the promotion of being in large print, the Conservative Growth Inc. publication did an inaccurate depiction of Austen and are more worried about selling publications to visually impaired adults. People who haven’t read Jane Austen instead have to get past the cover portrayal in order to understand what Pride and Prejudice is all about.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: W.W. Norton and Company Inc..
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Lexington: Conservative Growth Inc..