Sunday, January 7, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 238: The Man Behind the Book, by Henry Van Dyke

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

*Late Edition*
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

The Man Behind the Book:
Essays in Understanding
Henry Van Dyke 
Trade Paperback, 388 pages
University Press of the Pacific
January 23, 2004
   Literary Criticism, Literary Essays

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is an incredibly GORGEOUS cover, with a design strongly influenced by the late 19th-century Art Nouveau style. This design is bold, with sinuous plant forms undulating and flowing all over the cover. The color scheme is limited to three colors, but is still highly effective. This design pulsates with life! Each form is clearly delineated, and each makes the eye move smoothly from top to bottom of the cover.

I love the way the title is framed by the vines, as well as how beautifully the grapes and tulips are integrated into the overall picture.

The font used for the title and author's name is a classic one, and unremarkable, really, but, framed by the plant forms, it becomes very remarkable indeed! I love that the subtitle has been done in upper and lowercase letters. That differentiates it perfectly from the title.

In short, this is an AMAZING cover! I would love to be able to give the name of the designer, but I'm sorry to report that I have been unable to find the name of that very talented person, as this book is out of print.

I am very much interested in the content of the book, too, by the way. It contains a collection of literary essays on several topics, as well as on the classic novels Tess of the D'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder, and Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather. Of course, I'm going to check Alibris and Abebooks, as these online stores specialize in out-of-print books!

What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. This is a great cover. As you allude to, sometimes an artist can do so much with just a few colors.

    The subtitle is depicted so well. I love the fact that it is basically just a white border. The interior of the letters is the same color as the background. I wonder if there is a name for this kind of lettering. It also complements the title and author letter design really nicely.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Oh, I LOVE this cover!! Yes, absolutely, a skillful artist "can do so much with just a few colors." Well said!

      I also agree with you on the effectiveness of the treatment given to the subtitle. i don't know if there's a name for this kind of lettering -- with a white border around the letters. But it's definitely PERFECT for this cover!

      I have a book on the Art Nouveau style which I intend to review on my other blog one of these days. This is such a LOVELY style! It's especially appropriate for book covers, although it was used in architecture, pottery, furniture, and jewelry. It's a very beautiful style!

      The other design style I love is Art Deco. It, too, is especially effective for book covers.

      BTW, I looked up this book on Abebooks, as it's not available on Amazon. It's not all that expensive, surprisingly enough. If I do get it, I will review it on my other blog.

      Thanks for the WONDERFUL comment!! Hope you're having a nice Sunday!! <3 :)

  2. Even though there aren't that many colors on this cover I do love how they fit together. It's really pretty with the green and blue. ♥

    1. Hi, Stephanie!

      Oh, this cover is just GORGEOUS!! And you're so right -- even though the colors are limited, they all go together so harmoniously!

      I want to make this book part of my home library, not only because of the cover, but also because of the subject matter. However, I will review it on my other blog, as this one (A Night's Dream of Books is dedicated mostly to YA fiction. :)

      Thanks for the nice comment!! HUGS!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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