The greatest Great Gatsby book covers

There have been some terrible book cover designs of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby over the years. And there have been some great ones.

Since its publication in 1925, The Great Gatsby has been the story that epitomises American extravagance and the excesses of privileged youth. Some publishers’ choices of book cover over the decades have just not been terribly inspiring. The latest film tie-in offering leaves me a little cold.

Thankfully, there are some great book covers available to us today. Here’s a run down of my top five – after some careful consideration of course.

 

5. Original 1925 design

rare first edition Great GatsbyThe original cover from US publisher Scribners, designed by Francis Coradal-Cugat, is the one we have probably all seen at some point. Called Celestial Eyes, it’s a little odd but nevertheless an iconic painting depicting some of the themes of the novel.

Two yellow eyes hover over a Coney Island scene amongst the dark blue night sky. The owner of these disembodied eyes appears to be crying. There are strangely surreal images of the human body lurking within those eyes.

Rumour has it that Fitzgerald saw the artwork and liked it so much that he included some of its themes in the novel.

If you want to own an original first edition, first print, hardback copy of the book, it will only cost you an arm and a leg. In other words, if you have a spare £200,000 you know, hanging around in the back of a cupboard, this will make a great gift for a special person (or perhaps you’d like to treat yourself).

Failing that, you can get one that looks similar on Amazon for a lot less (see right).


 

4. Penguin new edition

This new edition paperback will be available soon.

It is a typographical feast for art deco fans and features the dangerously beautiful yellow car in the novel — which really is a character in itself.

 


 

3. Tiffany & Co / Vintage Books

Not content with merely providing the jewellery for The Great Gatsby film, the iconic Tiffany & Co has collaborated on a new edition of The Great Gatsby book to celebrate the launch of Baz Luhrmann’s version of events.

Together with Vintage Books, they have produced a cover that I actually like better than the original. It’s beautiful and I’m a sucker for anything art deco – aren’t you?

This amazing hardback cover is based on original designs from the Tiffany archive so it has an authentic jazz age aesthetic.


 

2. Coralie Bickford-Smith design

gatsby gold and white
Another edition true to the art deco style era is the Penguin hardback edition in white and gold, created by Penguin designer Coralie Bickford-Smith.

This is a truly elegant design worthy of a gift for someone who is a Gatsby or Fitzgerald fan. But watch out. Your bookshelf might be too shabby for this number (I know mine is).

The Great Gatsby
You can rely on Penguin to give us great book covers.


 

1. And on the subject of Penguin…old sport

I can’t resist the classic Penguin book covers. Simple, classy, leaving what’s in the book to come alive using your own imagination. This has to be my firm favourite.

So, I’m sorry if it’s boring but this is my top choice for Gatsby book covers. Sadly, it’s not that easily available but I’ve tracked down a version on the Penguin Australia website.

If I find any others, I will update here.

The Great Gatsby book

You can even buy this pink version for a limited period which will donate $1 to McGrath Foundation breast cancer charity.


If you are hungry for more Gatsby covers and you happen to live near the University of South Carolina, F Scott Fitzgerald biographer Matthew J Bruccoli has amassed an amazing collection of Gatsby book covers from across the decades. See the collection here.

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