Friday Faceoff – This is the priest all shaven and shorn… Brainfluffbookblog


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is a PRIEST OR MONK, so I’ve selected The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.


This edition was produced by Harvest Books in September 1994. I think is a shocking cover, when you look at it really closely. The row of skulls in the black darkness are raining a stream of blood onto a wall, spattering the kneeling priests and almost obliterating the king seated on the throne. The title font is well executed with that bloody wall as a backdrop. I think it effectively represents this remarkable book which has stayed with me ever since I read it soon after it was published, though it isn’t my favourite.


Published in June 1983 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (NYC), this cover has gone for a full-on medieval vibe. It is depicting some of what is going on within the confines of the abbey, where it should all be about praying and contemplating God. It is certainly colourful and eye-catching, though whether it gives a sense of the murder mystery at the heart of the book is debatable.


This edition, published by Vintage Books in April 2004 is my favourite. It is beautiful, with the star-studded sky, the gold author font jumping out from the black backdrop and the red-tinged abbey providing more than a hint of menace. I particularly love the lovely curling title font which finishes the effect.


Produced by Picador in October 1984, this one is a close contender for my favourite. It’s such a cleverly designed cover, using the medieval script to highlight the period and setting of the book. Not only is it featured in the title, which is beautifully linked to the drawing of the rose, but also used in the blurb to explain the book. And for once – this cover chatter which is always a pet peeve of mine – absolutely works. This so very nearly is my favourite…


This edition, published by Vintage in 2004 is another attractive, eye-catching offering. However I think the title font could have a bit more punch and their approach to the author font is plain odd. Who else wondered whether the author is called Vintage Eco when they read it? Such a shame to make such a fundamental, silly mistake, given the strong execution of that lovely rose illustration. Which is your favourite?

35 responses »

  1. What a great choice! I had a tough time with this one. I love the one you picked, but I am drawn to the last one, despite the issues you mentioned. I think this book is famous enough that I would immediately know who the author was, so “Vintage Eco” doesn’t really bother me

    • It is a cracking cover, isn’t it? No, I haven’t posted a review as I read this one back in the mists of time waaay before social media was a thing, sadly. But I can say that it is truly a remarkable read – and one that I can still recall allll these years later.

    • Yes – there isn’t a cover in this week’s selection that I outright dislike either.

      Ooo… you have this one on your Kindle? I’d love to know what you make of it! I generally don’t ever reread books, but this is one I recall vividly.

  2. I’m so glad you chose this book – I was hoping somebody would. The Harcourt cover caught my eye initially until I scrolled further and saw your choice – which I love and is definitely my favourite. I also like the last one but what on earth is going on with the author’s name!
    Lynn 😀

    • Yes – it is beautiful, isn’t it? I have to say, overall I was very impressed with the quality of the covers.

      But that business with Eco’s name on the last cover does strike me as sloppy…

    • Yes… I admit that I got quite a shock when I really focused on that cover – but it is very effective and thought provoking, I think. It certainly has a strong flavour of the book, though it isn’t gory…

  3. I LOVE reading your cover posts!! It’s SO much fun to take a look at all the covers you display, and analyze them to find a favorite!

    Well, at first glance, I went straight for the last cover, the one published by Vintage in 2004. I LOVE “the bold look” on covers!! However, upon closer inspection, I have to agree with you. Vintage Eco?! What’s UP with that?! And no, I don’t like the font used for the title, either. It should have been more ornate, more….heck, MEDIEVAL. Lol.

    Your favorite is kind of mine, as well, although I have to be honest — to me it looks like a Christmas card. Those yellow stars look more like falling snow, from a distance. And there’s a murder mystery involved, as you have pointed out. But I do like this cover a LOT.

    The cover with all the medieval script would be my favorite, except that, IMHO, it doesn’t look like a cover at all. Instead, it looks like a page INSIDE the book — perhaps the first page, when you open the book.

    I’ve left the two first covers for last because I totally HATE them. The first one makes me think of a horror book. And I LOATHE the horror genre. The second one is just MUCH too cluttered. And, as you’ve said yourself, a reader doesn’t get the feeling that a murder mystery is part of the plot of this book. In fact, this cover would be PERFECT for Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror”. It just gives me the feel of a nonfiction history book. I would NEVER have known that it was the cover of a novel, if the title had been missing, and I had only seen the image, before the book was printed!

    Anyway, there you have it! I’m kinda stuck between the “Christmas card” cover and the rose cover! Lol.

    Thanks for sharing!! Hope you’re having a GREAT Monday!! (You’ll soon be waking up, if you’re not up already, while I have yet to go to bed, lol. It’s 3:00 AM on Monday here in Miami, Florida, USA!!)

    CHEERS!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you for your detailed and informative feedback on the covers – I always look forward to your response, Maria:)). I suppose it does look a bit Christmas-card-y (is that an adjective??) It hadn’t occurred to me before… But given the strong religious theme running through the book, that isn’t too bad. AND that a lot of the action takes place at night when everyone ought to be asleep *I’m looking at you, kid! – 3 am?! I thought I was the only one with those SHOCKING sleep habits…*

      Take care and have a good week, my friend:)

  4. P.S. I really meant to type, “the first two covers”, instead of “the two first covers”. My brain kinda got jumbled up there, lol. It’s late…..’Nite!!!! ❤ 🙂

  5. I agree with you on the favorite, though I wasn’t really enthusiastic about any of the covers – perhaps as far as the writer goes, I prefer his Foucault’s Pendulum?

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