A short and sweet novella, written by the teenage Françoise Sagan that scandalised 1950s France, Bonjour Tristesse is the shimmering, stylish story of Cécile over one hot summer.

She leads a carefree life with her widowed father on the Riviera until he decides to remarry, with devastating consequences. Here we take a look at the design of some of the Penguin editions of Bonjour Tristesse since it was first published.

Bonjour Triestesse

The first Penguin edition, 1956
Here, the father’s new wife takes centre-stage, pushing our young protagonist to the fringes of the cover. This orange and off-white vertical grid was created by Penguin design legend, Jan Tschichold, as a replacement of the vertical tri-band that had gone before.



Despite this edition using the same translation as the previous one, with some of the more salacious details omitted for English audiences, the art department have left the matronly character off the cover entirely and gone with something a little more ‘swinging’. This illustration is by August von Briessen.


Penguin Great Loves, 2007

Following the success of Penguin’s Great Ideas series, they released 20 short romantic and erotic classics under the Great Loves moniker, all with illustrated plants and flowers on the covers, designed by David Pearson.


Penguin Modern Classics, 2013

A new translation by Heather Lloyd, this time with the saucy bits left in, called for a new edition. Bonjour Tristesse was one of the first titles to go in to the new Penguin Modern Classics template with the white box at the top, designed by Penguin Press Art Director, Jim Stoddart, using the Avant Garde font which had previously been used over the images themselves. This template reflects the 1965 edition.


Penguin Modern Classics, 2015

The book is chosen to be Waterstones’ inaugural ‘Undiscovered Classic’ and is re-jacketed to evoke the heat of summer on the Riviera. The image chosen is by Russian-American photo-journalist, Jerry Cooke.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. I’ve been wanting to read this, and I love the original penguin cover!


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