I’ve been working on another freelance book cover project for Twisted Spoon Press, this one another collection of writings by Bruno Jasienski. Jasienski was a leader of the Polish Futurism movement who was deported from France on the basis of his ‘catastophist’ novel I Burn Paris (which I also did a cover for, due out in the fall via Twisted Spoon), and wound up eventually perishing in the gulag of the U.S.S.R. after initially receiving a hero’s welcome there on his arrival.
The most celebrated story in this collection is ‘The Legs of Izolda Morgan’, a delirious tale about a worker who steals his girlfriend’s legs after she’s run over by a tram and sliced in two in the opening lines of the story. The worker basically flips out and decides that machines are out to get us, and strikes back by attempting to sabotage the factory he works in. As a characterization of someone whose sanity seems to have been tainted by contact with the machine age, ‘The Legs of Izolda Morgan’ isn’t exactly as sympathetic as you might expect to technology and modernity as you might expect coming from an avowed Futurist. The story is accompanied (and further obfuscated) by a weird little preface, Exposé, that contains lots of odd provocations and baffling statements, such as this passage that I’m thinking about using on the back cover:
I do not claim that the present book should stand as an example of how the contemporary novel ought to be written. But it is most certainly an example of how the novel cannot be written these days (the joke that you wish to make here, dear reader, only confirms your naivité).
Sometimes, Jasienski doesn’t seem so much a committed ideologue as just somebody who likes stirring up controversy and rattling chains, which I suppose puts him in good company with many other practitioners of Futurism, a movement that was basically founded by a brilliant and subversive clown.
Another story in the collection is called ‘The Nose’, which presents a tempting cover design opportunity in that the cover could be divided in two between nose and legs. However, as ‘Legs’ is the most celebrated story, I’ve inevitably come back around to letting this one be the star of the show. The publisher and I discussed using an all typographic cover, which sort of led me in the direction shown here that I’m currently leaning toward:
The idea would be to print this on a rough recycled paper, to get the same feeling as those great Bukowski publications from Black Sparrow Press. Still very much kicking this one around, though — a few things about it don’t entirely sit well with me. Mainly, it doesn’t look ‘of its time period’ (e.g. 1930s), which is something I’ve made a conscious effort to achieve with my other Twisted Spoon covers. But maybe that’s a welcome change… ?