All covers from Vintage

Possession by A.S. Byatt is one of my favorite books and one of the only novels that I’ve read more than once over the years. I last read it two years ago and, though it didn’t have the same hold over me as it did when I was 20, it was still an engaging and powerful reading experience.

I own a copy of no. 1, but I really do think all of the covers here are gorgeous and perfect for this book. What do you think? Have you read Possession?


  1. Joan Hunter Dunn

    Oh I love Possession. I read it on a working holiday in the part of Brittany where it’s set. I’ve front cover 5.

  2. I read Possession a few years ago and found it challenging but wonderful! No. 4 is the one I read and it’s my favourite of all the covers.

  3. I read No. 5 many years ago, I’ve been wondering about a re-read, and I’m going to take your cover collection as a sign that I should. that original paperback cover and No. 1 are my favourites, I think.

    • I think it is a book that demands to be re-read – I gleaned so much from reading it again, things I didn’t notice on the first read.

  4. I loved it, and number 1 is my favorite.

  5. I have edition no.5 but I love the Burne-Jones detail on the first one. Byatt is a favourite author of mine, I probably prefer the Fredericka novels which begin with The Virgin in the Garden, I also keep meaning to re-read Possession and some of her other titles.

    • I’ve only read The Children’s Book and some of Byatt’s short stories – I’d love to try the Fredericka novels. She’s a beautiful writer.

  6. Are there butterflies in Possession? I don’t remember there being, but I admit to skipping over a large portion of the poetry.

  7. I have no 5 which I think fits it very well. Loved this book!

  8. I have a copy with cover #1 and I think that’s my favorite. Like Jenny who commented earlier, I don’t remember a butterfly theme in the book…but I also skipped over much of the poetry! I tend to do that whenever I’m reading a novel and come to a passage of poetry or a transcribed song. It’s a bad habit, but in my defense I’m usually just eager to get on with the prose to see what happens next.

    • I usually skip over poetry and songs in novels also, but I made myself read them the last time I read Possession and they are amazing. Byatt is a genius.

  9. I have read it and loved it. My favorite is #5. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  10. I haven’t read A S Byatt but I really want to! I think I’d be most drawn to cover #4.

  11. 1 and 4 are the ones that are instantly recognisable to me. I think I like 4 the best, the colours with the flowers.

  12. Love cover 5. Pretty sure I owned cover 2 at one time but I couldn’t get into the book so gave it away. I do like A S Byatt’s critical articles, though. She’s great on Willa Cather!

  13. Possession, I think, is my favourite novel. I’ve only read it all the way through once and I’m kind of nervous about reading it again. When I first read it a few years ago it was during a very stressful time in my life and it helped me through.
    I own #5. I picked it up in a second hand book store for just $4!

  14. I know this is probably long overdue for a comment, but I just want to say No. 2 is my favourite, it’s also the one that I own. Was listening to the audiobook some time back and it was very good to hear the poetry recited by someone instead of reading through it myself. 🙂

    • I would love to listen to Possession on audio! I can only imagine how much more beautiful the poems are hearing them aloud.

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