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Cover Design for Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

October 11, 2007

This site reviews book designs, and I decided to post my comment to it:

http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/09/well-behaved-women-seldom-make-history.html

 

Here’s what I wrote:

I was honored to have my Christine de Pizan at Her Computer included as an illustration in this book, and Dr. Ulrich also suggested that I propose a cover illustration to the publisher. I didn’t pursue the project at the time, which I’m sure was a professional mistake, but instead followed another topical “thread” of my choosing. Anyway, my first reaction to the cover was disappointment, mainly because the image lacks complexity. I had envisioned a “rich historical pastiche” of some kind, like the type of images I create that mix illuminated miniature painting with contemporary narrative. My opinion of the cover has changed now, because of what I view as important about the book.

Well-behaved would be too much a re-telling of already well-known feminist history, if it weren’t for the beautiful interlacement of stories and connections leaping backwards and forwards through time. The cover strengthens the thesis of the book and reminds us W-b is more than anecdotes about strong women; it’s a look at how history can be recounted, recorded and reconstructed, thanks to more creative, diverse and inclusive accounts by historians. Particularly female historians. It’s a celebration of how history can be told, as well as a telling of it.

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