I keep doing what i can to find that undiscovered Warhol designed dust jacket. But obviously it’s not an easy thing, and there are only that many search terms to try. And most of the time i unfortunately end up back at my own posts, guess i need to open my mind and try new things… I think i came pretty close this time though. And even if it’s nothing spectacular i still think it’s pretty cool and unlike most other books this didn’t require the biggest of shovels to find.
As usual i can’t remember exactly how i got from A to B but somehow i ended up at this guys impressive collection of different editions from all over the world of the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Besides all the images he also has a list of all 210 books in this collection with all kinds of details. And there it was – “Cover art by Yael Schwartz, based on Andy Warhol”, i guess those few words are what lead me to the site. Google is pretty amazing. Anywhoooo, even if he doesn’t have all the books himself i’m quite impressed by collections like this and the time it must have taken him to put it all together. The covers are really all over the scale with everything from great to terrible, and some even being quite disturbing.
The book that is of interest here though was published in Israel by HaSifriya Hahadasha/HaKibbutz HaMeuchad (i appologize for the most likely misspelling). There are many interesting things about this book and cover but for starters it seems that the first edition was published in 1986 when of course Andy Warhol was still very much alive. I have no idea if this first printing used the same cover design but assuming that it did it makes me wonder what Warhol knew about the use of his famous Coke bottles. I doubt any serious publisher, which i have to assume this is since they are putting out such a classic title, would use a design without permission. And not to mention a design by one of the most famous artists out there at the time. Very intruiging… The publisher has a website with at least some information available in english, i’ve tried contacting them to see what they might know but have yet to hear anything back. But i’ll keep at it and return with an update should i find out something interesting. The artist credited with the cover art is namned Yael Schwartz but sadly i haven’t been able to dig up anything at all about her. I’m not really sure what to think about her part of the design either, but as a whole i quite like it though. But it’s also… well, a bit unsettling. The first thing i thought was “alien autopsy” or something along those lines… Oh well, if nothing else it does stand out among all the other covers for the book where many feature a very alluring and seductive “Lolita”, on this cover she really looks, well quite dead.
I first got my eyes on this about six months ago and for some reason i initially thought that it would prove pretty hard to find. Turns out it was quite the opposite, at least once i started looking in the right places. A search on all the usual sites turned up nothing, and then i kind of forgot about it for a couple of months. Then as i was deleting some images on my phone i saw the cover again and thought that it was about time to go get it. All that was required was about two or three emails after which i had an offer for a used and cheap copy. The same seller then offered to order a brand new copy from the publisher, as it was still cheap enough i decided to run with that instead. The book is written in hebrew so everything is of course upside down and backwards and of course i can’t read a single word. But assuming the title is on the top right, that would mean i might now know what an “L” looks like, and that would mean an “O” is written as a straight vertical line… Oh well, i’m too old to learn a new language and even if i wasn’t i’m not about to start with hebrew. There are however about five things i do understand. And those are a phone number and next to that is what i assume is a fax number, there are also some websites mentioned and a couple of other numbers. And among those numbers are 1986, 2014, 1999 and … the only conclusions i can draw from this is that the first edition was an mentioned published in 1986 and then maybe the last and current in 2014? But i would also assume that the book i got was printed in 1999 and that it’s the third edition, but then i don’t understand why 2014 would be mentioned on a book printed in 1999… Well, who cares.
As with The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry i can not take any credit for “discovering” this since the Lolita-collector-guy put it out there in plain sight… So even if i’m sick of saying it, the quest will have to continue! But all things considered i still think this was a pretty great find and the closest i’ve gotten to something “new”. And even though it’s of course not truly a Warhol designed dust jack/book cover i think it’s definitely worthy of a place next to the “real” ones.