Illustration for “The Hare and the Giants” — Barry Moser

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Barry Moser’s illustration for Lynne Reid Banks’s “The Hare and the Giants.” From The Magic Hare, Avon, 1994.

Salome — Barry Moser

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The Hare and the Flower — Barry Moser

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Barry Moser’s illustration for Lynne Reid Banks’s “The Hare and the Flower.” From The Magic Hare, Avon, 1994.

The Hare and His Magic — Barry Moser

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Barry Moser’s illustration for Lynne Reid Banks’s “The Hare in His Magic.” From The Magic Hare, Avon, 1994.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” — Washington Irving

The Headless Horseman, Barry Moser
The Headless Horseman, Barry Moser

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

by

Washington Irving


FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS
OF THE LATE DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER.

        A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
          Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
        And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
          Forever flushing round a summer sky.
                                         CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole ninefold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.

Continue reading ““The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” — Washington Irving”

Map of the world, showing major whaling grounds and the inferred track of the Pequod — Barry Moser

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Portrait of Flannery O’Connor — Barry Moser

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Animals of the First Creation — Barry Moser

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Octopus — Barry Moser

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Sa — Barry Moser

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Feathered Serpent — Barry Moser

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Work Work Work / Read Read Read (Barry Moser’s Advice to Artists)

The best advice I could possibly give you, and forgive me if this seems glib, is to work. Work. Work. Work. Every day. At the same time every day. For as long as you can take it every day, work, work, work. Understand? Talent is for shit. I’ve taught school for nearly thirty years and never met a student who did not have some talent. It is as common as house dust or kudzu vine in Alabama and is just about as valuable. Nothing is as valuable as the habit of work, and work has to become a habit. This I learned from Flannery O’Connor. Read her. Read her letters especially, and her essays. You will learn more about what it is you want to do from people like her and Ben Shahn and Eudora Welty than you will ever learn from drawing classes. Read. Read. Read. You are in the business of words more than pictures. You must understand words and the craft and art of putting words together to move men’s souls and minds and hearts. Listen to music. Listen to Bach’s Art of the Fugue and the Goldberg Variations over and over and over. Every day, day after day after day until you begin to sense, if not understand, what he is up to. Then try to implement what you intuit from Bach into your own work. I don’t care if you don’t like classical music. Do it. It is invaluable, but you have to listen, and then don’t listen. Let it fill your mind at one moment and then let it flow over you and into you until you are paying it no attention whatever. Bach will teach you form and structure and rhythm and all sorts of things you never imagined.

Advice Barry Moser gave to The Children’s Literature Symposium at Clemson in 1996. Read the rest of the address here (other advice includes eating green vegetables and not drinking and driving).

(And Yet Another) Moby-Dick (Book Acquired, 4.18.2014)

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So I bought yet another copy of Moby-Dick, despite the many several editions already in our home.

I’d looked for an edition of the Barry Moser illustrated M-D for years—casually, in used book shops—but after a few (ahem) glasses of chardonnay, I bought one for next to nothing on eBay.

Moser’s etchings are superb, of course, and they most often illustrate the technical, scientific, or historical aspects of the novel. Great stuff.

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Eudora Welty — Barry Moser

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Double Donald Barthelme (Books Acquired, 2.13.2014)

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Two remaining (late period) Donald Barthelme novels I haven’t read.

The King is a first edition paperback (with an author photo on the whole back cover—very odd) illustrated by the wonderful Barry Moser.

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James Joyce — Barry Moser

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Jonah — Barry Moser