Saturday, 15 November 2008

The books they tried to ban

Test your knowledge of censors and would-be censors in this quiz from the Guardian.

The cover illustration is from the first printing of Candide in the Penguin Classics series (1947). This was volume 4 in the series. The text may be a very early design by Jan Tschichold, who took up his role at Penguin in March 1947, but the setting, in Monotype Bembo 270, does not follow his famous composition style – dashes are unspaced em-rules, there are extra spaces after sentence full stops, and the long-tailed R is used.

The cover is the original pre-Tschichold design by John Overton; the roundel is by William Grimmond.

Edit
I’ve now managed to look closely at the first few Penguin Classics, and the Overton/Tschichold question is rather more complex than implied by the above, or by the simple statement in Baines, ‘only the first seven titles appeared in this design, before it was re-styled by Jan Tschichold in 1947–8’. Not surprisingly, the transition from one design to another in a series in production was not clear-cut. There are early PCs with Overton covers/Overton text; Overton covers/Tschchold texts and vice versa. Some books feature pre-war bowing Penguins, some a Penguin standing on an open book (Baines, p. 251); at least one with a Tschichold Penguin on the half-title, but no device on the title-page. Another has an Overton ‘jacket’ wrapped around what looks like a Tschichold cover.

Baines, P. (2005) Penguin by design. London: Allen Lane (pp. 46, 64–7)

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