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Re: That Blonde Anne of Green Gables Cover

So this cover image probably would make L. M. Montgomery turn over in her grave-- but let's be honest, so would all those bilingual road signs:

blonde anne

It's actually just a self-published reprint (through CreateSpace) of a public-domain text, so I wouldn't be surprised if the seller chose an image specifically to drum up controversy. And it worked -- this thing is everywhere.

In addition to (and kind of unpleasantly tangled up in) all the dismay at the hair color fail, here's been a lot of pretty heated fanrage about the cover being, e.g., "sultry" a "sexpot" a "pin-up" and having a "come-hither look," and the horrible canon-defiling inappropriateness thereof. I like a good fanrage as much as the next person, but I can't really get on board for this one. The model is pretty and posed like a magazine ad, but so is every other model in the "winsome young woman" (as distinct from the "pigtailed orphan in train depot") school of Anne covers. To me she just looks confident and a little wry, which is not a bad look for the Anne-girl.

But wait, I guess she's also. . .leaning on something? And making eye contact. . .at the same time? And you can sort of tell she has breasts even though she has a shirt on?

Shameless! Shocking! Where are my smelling salts?

I don't know; I feel like there might be some kind of "gaze" issue here? But like, when I was in high school grown men sometimes thought me and my friends were coming on to them because we were doing sultry, provocative things like fixing our hair or drinking through a straw in public, so it's possible that I'm touchy about gaze issues.

And even if it was chosen specifically to annoy the Annedom, this cover isn't even much of a departure from standard reprint practice -- ambiguously anachronistic covers have been used to market older books to young readers for a long time. I like this one from 1935. And glamorous magazine-ready Annes are a tradition stretching all the way back to the first edition (whose cover image was an exact copy of an illustration from The Delineator):

anne closeup

Here's a very Stage and Screen Anne from the 30s:

30s anne

And in this Anne of Avonlea, Anne's hair has darkened here to a real pretty. . . auburn? I guess this is auburn:


And this is a later book with an older Anne, so we can forgive Anne's resemblance to 1957 Barbie, but I'm pretty sure that rouge is Not Canon:

40sishanne of ww

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not sure that anything in particular makes these Annes "not sexy" and the present Anne "sexy" except that the present Anne is a contemporary image of a young woman and the earlier ones are not anymore.

I don't want to defend the tower of wrong that is Anne's golden tresses, but otherwise? Anne's cover-art persona has been influenced by contemporary fashion modeling from the beginning*; her attractiveness is canon and insisted on by the narration, and the picture in question isn't actually outrageously sexy to begin with.

*This was true even before there was an Anne, but don't get me started on Evelyn Nesbit or we'll be here all day.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
It's Ruby Gillis, obviously. There's a real missed opportunity here - the "publisher" should have saved that photo for the cover of Jane Eyre.

Anne doll from last year: http://in-a-dollys-world.blogspot.com/2012/06/prairie-dawn.html
Feb. 13th, 2013 06:44 am (UTC)

that doll is adorable to me, I don't know. Freakishly big head & eyes = The Spirit of Anne.

"It's Ruby Gillis!" was actually the first thing I thought when I saw the CreateSpace picture. Not necessarily inappropriate for a cover given the thematic importance Ruby takes on when [SPOILERS].

Edited at 2013-02-13 07:19 am (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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