Everything has been said on the cover of the new translation by Ottavio Fatica, but what is the graphics of The Fellowship of the Ring? Here is a brief reflection!

It is from 30 October that The Lord of the Rings it's back on the mouth (and keyboards, bulletin boards, newsfeeds, and whoever has more than ever put it!) of all. Perhaps more out of controversy than out of love, but it certainly cannot be said that the welcome of the new translation was not warm!

So here we are, talking about this new volume, but this time from editorial point of view. In fact, if at first sight a book always remains a book, each edition brings with it details that tell a lot about what the publisher and curators try to express, in addition to the content of the story itself.

For those interested in our articles on the new translation of Ottavio Fatica, here are some links! THU let's recap the war (and lawsuit!) to the new translation, Thu we present the new translation e Thu let's talk about pre-reading judgments a The Fellowship of the Ring.

But now let's see the graphics of The Fellowship of the Ring translated by Ottavio Fatica.

The graphics of The Fellowship of the Ring: The cover

Who better than Bompiani can it open the dance on this subject? On October 31st the publisher publishes a article where he explains some of the choices he made for the new edition.

In the aforementioned article, Bompiani states that the effect of the cover would refer to the gold of the One Ring. However, at first glance the color choice of the earthy tones of Mars little recalls the precious metal, and is limited to a metallic effect, however impactful.

But there is a trick and it shows. When we look at the book in someone's hand, the light, reflected on the reader's face, reveals thecover gold. This recalls in the mind of the beholder the now iconic moment in which Frodo holds the One Ring in his fingers and scrutinizes the words engraved on it. Seeing is believing.

If the effect was really wanted, Bompiani would deserve not only the applause, but a real standing ovation. However, as long as this hypothesis is not actually confirmed, it is enough to remember that it is a sin to think badly, but generally one takes it, giving back to the cover its role as a simple metallized cover.

The evolution of the covers of The Lord of the Rings

A side note always based on the aforementioned article. The Art director of Polystudio (who has taken care of the Bompiani Tolkien covers since the early 2000s!), Francesco messina, reports that the images chosen for the covers of the new edition are photographs of the soil of Mars. This suggests that probably we will have to make the call to this type of postmodern aesthetic.

Moreover, on their website it is still possible to observe the different evolutions in aesthetic and editorial choices During the years. It goes fromextreme synthesis of the paperbacks, alla wealth of images of the editions illustrated by Alan Lee. The detachment occurred with this new version of The Fellowship of the Ringcompared to previous editions, it cannot be clearer than that. 

A small example of the internal graphics of The Fellowship of the Ring
A small example of the internal graphics of The Fellowship of the Ring

The graphics of The Fellowship of the Ring: layout and character

Compared to previous editions, the layout is by more breathing. Fewer lines, airy line spacing and leaner page encourage the reader to go into reading the chapters, without being too intimidated by the number of pages in the volume.

The font used is einaudi garamond, a variant of the garamond simoncini, typeface that reigns in the Italian publishing field. If you want to know more about the Italian books and the fonts used, we recommend reading this article. The character ne The Fellowship of the Ring it is printed at a size such that the eye gets less tired, can rest more while reading and do not struggle in the transition from one line to another when the paragraphs become longer or denser.

Photo (very amateur) of the under cover. What do you think of this graphic of The Fellowship of the Ring?
Photo (very amateur) of the under cover. What do you think of this graphic de The Fellowship of the Ring?

The message of the new cover: The Lord of the Rings is it a classic and not a fantasy?

In this cover, Bompiani expresses a non-indifferent declaration of intent: this book is not a fantasy, it is a classic.

Moreover, being meticulous readers, at some point we will have to remove the dust jacket from the book, and here we will find confirmation of being in front of a classic. The choice of white editorial canvas with golden inkin fact, it is clean and elegant, and reinforces the feeling of holding an object of a certain value (including economic value).

The new edition may like, displace or even be annoying, but in its aim of creating the new image of a classic, it raises several questions.

Is it really that difficult to give a cover to a classic? 

We know that the Lord of the Rings it presents multiple stories and characters, and as a choral story it is difficult to grasp its essence in a single image. An example is the cover of the edition illustrated by Alan Lee, where the illustration with Frodo, Sam and Gollum was chosen at the gates of the Morannon Gates. It is perfect for conveying the tension and difficulties of the journey of small hobbits, but all too decontextualized for those unfamiliar with the work.

It is said that the dress does not make the monk, but from this cover it is almost impossible to understand if the book is a fantasy novel or the new intimate diary of Knausgård. There are no symbols, fantastic elements, a colorful or impactful illustration, all those elements we are used to when we look at it cover of a fantasy. A striking example is the cover of Oath by Brandon Sanderson, recently published by Mondadori.

But, at this point it would be right to conclude by asking a crucial question: does Bompiani just want to bring a greater number of readers closer to this work? Or is it an attempt to "Ennoble" a classic, distancing it as far as possible from its kind of belonging?

What is certain is that we will have to wait for March 25, 2020 to have the second, already bookable, volume in hand.