As previously stated, one of my big goals of this year was to start reading some of the beloved classic novels.

Fact:  Though I don’t read classics often, I collect the Penguin Deluxe Editions with covers illustrated by one of my favourite artists: Ruben Toledo.  Toledo illustrates, sculpts, paints and along with his fashion designer goddess wife Isabel, the two are perhaps one of the most artistic couples in the world.

I fell in love with Toledo’s work one day at Chapters when I saw a copy of Wuthering Heights which he had illustrated.  After some research, I learned that Toledo had illustrated three books for the Deluxe Editions: Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice and The Scarlet Letter.  Within a few weeks, I had bought them all.  Each edition contains a large drawing that spans the front, back and french flaps of each book.  His art is magical, incredibly eerie and undeniably creative.  Since then, three more classics have been released with his talented hand glowing on the covers: Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Jane Eyre.

Not only do I take great pride in my collection of Toledo’s work, but I feel a great sense of pride as I sit on my couch with the rain pelting down outside and clutch the most beautiful version of Jane Eyre I have ever seen.  Jane Eyre‘s design is my favourite, featuring a cloaked woman holding a lantern and heading up a winding path towards a Gothic castle.  On the first french flap, the castle is ablaze with fire in the windows and cobwebs surrounding the stone window through which the castle is visible.  On the back flap, the flames have been extinguished and a spider stands watch over the quiet castle.  The back of the book shows an eerie-looking Jane gazing pensively out a window and writing with a quill.  Basically, I could stare at this book for hours.  Toledo captures the Gothic essence of this novel with astounding precision.  See for yourself!

Also, since I am a serious romantic, I love the story of Toledo and his wife.  Talented and beyond crazy about each other.  Ruben and Isabel are a fairytale come true.  Read the article from Harper’s Bazaar here.


4 thoughts on “Ruben Toledo

  1. I remember you telling me about these books in class and I love them as well. They are beautiful and a really special collection. Good motivators to read the classics as well ;)

  2. Ever since you did a posting on these covers a couple of months ago I have been obsessed with them! I admire them every time I go into Chapters and covet them desperately! Unfortunately I haven't bought a single one for myself simply because I already own a copy of each book (with ugly covers) and can't find the excuse to purchase a book I already own :P And I loved the story about Toledo and his wife! So fairytale like! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. They are beautiful, aren't they?? I'm a Classics collector, even if I don't read them as much as I should, I'm very into all the classic covers!!! I love the Pride and Prejudice one, and I own Dorian Gray. It's nice to see who designed them though!!

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