The Worm Ouroboros (1922) is a heroic high fantasy novel by Eric Rücker Eddison – So predates Tolkien’s work. This cover is from the Ballatine Books Reprint in the 1960s – Edit 2013 May – the artist is Barbara Remmington.
The book describes the protracted war between the domineering King Gorice of Witchland and the Lords of Demonland in an imaginary world that appears mainly medieval and partly reminiscent of Norse sagas. A half-finished framing story describes this world as Mercury, though it is clearly a fantasy version of Earth, a “secondary-world” (no effort was made to conform to the scientific knowledge of Mercury, as it existed at the time of writing)… Read more at Wiki
This cover has come from a library of Ballatine Book covers here: http://www.skwishmi.com/interests/baf.html lots of other Art Nouveau / Psychadelic influenced Book Covers from the likes Bob Pepper, David Johnston, Ian Miller and more…
This novel aside, the Ouroboros itself is a very interesting concept that’s spanned across cultures and through generations – Ouroboros, the Worm, Serpent, or Dragon