Pulp fiction is perhaps the only genre as beloved for its cover art as for its prose. And rightly so: Classic pulp covers are glorious and garish, rich with saturated color and sexual innuendo. Rare is the cover girl who hasn’t undone at least a few of her buttons. And so the images have endured, both in the popular imagination and in the countless online galleries that collect some of the greats. (There’s even a site dedicated to the covers of “poulpe pulps,” which feature women and octopuses in compromising positions.)
In the 1950s, some publishing houses opted to release literary fiction with pulp covers. A striking edition of The Sheltering Sky, for example, promised “a strange tale in the exotic desert”—a tagline that is, when you think about it, both pulpy and apt. Taking such efforts as our inspiration, we asked a handful of designers to create lurid new book jackets for classics from The Iliad to Animal Farm. Click here to see the results.