25 January 2016

Anne of the Island and Other Mid-Winter Fantasies

Just the thing to combat the seasonal blues, this new edition of Anne of the Island provides ample evidence of Tutis Classics' lingering influence. Fans of the defunct Indian print on demand house will remember the sunny Canada that graced so many of its covers.

They will also remember the wonderful imagination on display in its editions of Catharine Parr Traill, Ralph Connor, Gilbert Parker, Grant Allen, Agnes C. Laut and other giants of Canadian literature. Egerton Ryerson Young's By Canoe and Dog-Train is a personal favourite.

This post isn't about Tutis but ebook publisher HMDS Printing Press. Not yet three months old, and already they have a certain place in my heart. Their covers – if ebooks can be said to have covers – may not be quite so sophisticated as Tutus, but they demonstrate just as much creativity.

Remember the time Anne tried to dye her hair black? HMDS's Anne of Green Gables imagines a much happier result.

In Anne of Avonlea,  the series' second book, our raven-haired heroine gets a dog.

I was reminded of nothing so much as the dog that features on the cover – but not in the text – of Tutis Classics' Kilmeny of the Orchard.

With HMDS's Anne of Ingleside, our heroine returns to her original hair colour and introduces the mini-skirt to 19th-century Prince Edward Island.

Sadly, the covers deceive. Paragraph structure aside, HMDS's editions stick to Montgomery's text; Anne's hair still turns green, there is no dog, and skirts remain long and heavy. Happily, the publisher's claim that each is "COLOR ILLUSTRATED" is accurate. HMDS credits the interior art to Leonardo, but I spotted works by Sargent, Bougereau, Rossetti, Thomas Girtin, Margaret Sarah Carpenter and Herbert James Draper.

Selection and placement are intriguing.

Sure to keep Montgomery scholars busy.

I wish HMDS Printing Press well, and look forward to the day in which they actually print something. 

A Bonus:

As is so often the case, I thank JRSM for bringing HMDS to my attention. His own thoughts on the mess can be found at Caustic Cover Critic.

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  1. Oh, bliss! Thank you for this post. It has brightened an otherwise rather wretched Monday. Regarding the actual PODs, I am speechless. (I find myself inexplicably cheered by the tropical theme of cover number one, repeated clip art and all.)

    1. It is cheery, isn't it. I think some of the attraction, subliminal surely, is that the dolphins and gulls are paired. I try not to think of the fact that they are identical… it only raises the spectre of Dr Moreau.

  2. As occasionally happens, but not frequently enough, words fail me...