5 Ridiculous Jane Austen Book Covers, Explained in Hilarious “Deleted Scenes”


This month marks the release of Margaret C. Sullivan’s book exploring the history of Jane Austen covers in print, Jane Austen Cover to Cover (Quirk Books). While the book showcases Sullivan’s skills as a publishing-history sleuth, we already knew the author for her witty Austen blogging and fan fiction. So naturally, we were thrilled at the chance to have her come up with some humorous “outtakes” from her cover collection. She obliged with five of the most absurd covers found in the book, paired with added “scenes that Jane Austen never wrote.”  — Sarah Seltzer

The publication history of Jane Austen’s novels stretches over 200 years, and the evolution of the covers used across the years includes a wide variety of styles, which reflect the time period and location of the publisher, the publisher’s purpose, and the whims of individual artists and designers. There are beautiful covers, serviceable covers, strange covers, misspelled covers, ugly covers, and downright hilariously wrong covers. Some of them even inspired me to imagine scenes from the novels that Jane Austen never actually wrote.