This weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the publication of Toni Morrison’s masterpiece Beloved, a novel about a woman who kills her own child rather than let her be swallowed by slavery, and who is haunted by that decision in more ways than one. Beloved is widely recognized as one of the greatest American novels ever written—it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988 (it was nominated for, but did not win, the National Book Award, a slight that forty-eight writers and critics protested with a letter in The New York Times), as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award, the Melcher Book Award, the Lyndhurst Foundation Award, and the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award. In 2006, The New York Times found it to be the best novel written in the previous 25 years.
Prizes or no, this novel should be read by everyone, and luckily, it has been published in many incarnations and translations, here and all over the world. In celebration of the novel’s birthday, here are 75 of its covers—some harrowing, some gorgeous, a few wildly inappropriate (I’m looking at you, Swedish blonde baby-doll cover). Which one is your favorite?