Illustration for Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death” — Ivor Abrahams

The Masque of the Red Death 1976 by Ivor Abrahams born 1935

Illustration for Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death,” 1976 by Ivor Abrahams (1935–2015)

“The Masque of Red Death”

by

Edgar Allan Poe


The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress nor egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death”.

It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence. Continue reading “Illustration for Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death” — Ivor Abrahams”

Illustration for “The Hare and the Black-and-White Witch” — Barry Moser

2020-07-05_160024

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

Canto X — Tom Phillips

Canto X: [no title] 1982 by Tom Phillips born 1937

Canto X, 1982 by Tom Phillips (b. 1937). From the Dante’s Inferno series.

Arnold Roth’s original illustrations for Thomas Pynchon’s 1964 short story “The Secret Integration” (and a link to the full text of the story)

ar 2

Thomas Pynchon’s short story “The Secret Integration” was first published in a December issue of The Saturday Evening Post, and later published again as part of Pynchon’s first and only short story collection, Slow Learner.

In a 2018 article published at The Yale Review, Terry Reilly suggested that by publishing “The Secret Integration” in The Saturday Evening Post,

…Pynchon uses the form of an apparently simple, entertaining adolescent boys’ story to engage and then to manipulate the Post readers; to invoke various features of the publication history of The Saturday Evening Post while simultaneously calling attention to the magazine’s limited scope and conservative bias concerning issues of civil rights and racial integration in 1964.

ar 3

Pynchon’s story was accompanied by three illustrations by the cartoonist Arnold Roth, including a header, a small illustration, and this full page illustration below:

ar

The first page of the story:

“The Secret Integration”

by

Thomas Pynchon


OUTSIDE it was raining, the first rain of October, end of haying season and of the fall’s brilliance, purity of light, a certain soundness to weather that had brought New Yorkers flooding up through the Berkshires not too many weekends ago to see the trees changing in that sun. Today, by contrast, it was Saturday and raining, a lousy combination. Inside at the moment was Tim Santora, waiting for ten o’clock and wondering how he was going to get out past his mother. Grover wanted to see him at ten this morning, so he had to go. He sat curled in an old washing machine that lay on its side in a back room of the house; he listened to rain going down a drainpipe and looked at a wart that was on his finger. The wart had been there for two weeks and wasn’t going to go away. The other day his mother had taken him over to Doctor Slothrop, who painted some red stuff on it, turned out the lights and said, “Now, when I switch on my magic purple lamp, watch what happens to the wart.” It wasn’t a very magic-looking lamp, but when the doctor turned it on, the wart glowed a bright green. “Ah, good,” said Doctor Slothrop. “Green. That means the wart will go away, Tim. It hasn’t got a chance.” But as they were going out, the doctor said to Tim’s mother, in a lowered voice Tim had learned how to listen in on, “Suggestion therapy works about half the time. If this doesn’t clear up now spontaneously, bring him back and we’ll try liquid nitrogen.” Soon as he got home, Tim ran over to ask Grover what “suggestion therapy” meant. He found him down in the cellar, working on another invention. Continue reading “Arnold Roth’s original illustrations for Thomas Pynchon’s 1964 short story “The Secret Integration” (and a link to the full text of the story)”

Ulysses (Wandering Rocks) — Roman Muradov

ulysses

Ulysses, 2013 by Roman Muradov

 

Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth (Book acquired 27 Oct. 2018)

img_1471

Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth is new in print again from NYRB, this time with a new introduction by novelist Nicholson Baker. The book is simply gorgeous.

img_1327

My eight-year-old son immediately asked if he might read it (he has been on a sort of comix probation since I caught him reading a R. Crumb collection), and he shuttled through the thing two or three times over half an hour.

img_1474

The Labryinth is 280 or so pages of illustrations with no story or plot, and he was a bit bewildered when I told him I planned to review the thing. “How?” I’ll figure out a way.

img_1472

For now, here’s NYRB’s blurb:

Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth, first published in 1960 and long out of print, is more than a simple catalog or collection of drawings— these carefully arranged pages record a brilliant, constantly evolving imagination confronting modern life. Here is Steinberg, as he put it at the time, “discovering and inventing a great variety of events: Illusion, talks, music, women, cats, dogs, birds, the cube, the crocodile, the museum, Moscow and Samarkand (winter, 1956), other Eastern countries, America, motels, baseball, horse racing, bullfights, art, frozen music, words, geometry, heroes, harpies, etc.” This edition, featuring a new introduction by Nicholson Baker, an afterword by Harold Rosenberg, and new notes on the artwork, will allow readers to discover this unique and wondrous book all over again.

img_1473

Cristiano Siqueira’s posters for Twin Peaks: The Return

21b4b3b6-f56f-46ff-a167-474799408a56_rw_1200f3e6bfb7-b3c3-456d-9d1e-52a8fff56c89_rw_1200f1edfd74-c9fb-4c3d-a542-3381c2294691_rw_1200ddc36d80-7648-48ec-9b5a-391e8e2fe914_rw_1200

I somehow missed Cristiano Siqueira’s series of posters for Twin Peaks: The ReturnSiqueira did a poster for each episode of David Lynch’s 2017 sequel—19 posters in all, including a bonus poster depicting Audrey. Check out all nineteen posters here.

The Third Day Was No Different — Maurice Sendak

img_9541

From Maurice Sendak’s retelling of Wilhelm Grimm’s Dear Mili.

Another Little Girl Was Standing Beside Her — Maurice Sendak

img_9540

From Maurice Sendak’s retelling of Wilhelm Grimm’s Dear Mili.

“We are still surrounded by mountains of ice” | Frankenstein illustration by Bernie Wrightson

wrightson

Cursed Forest — Kilian Eng

tumblr_oveiuu5e8b1qbluruo1_1280

Cursed Forest by Kilian Eng (b. 1982)

Illustration for Frankenstein — Bernie Wrightson

27698926799_ffde169509_o

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Illustrated by Rockwell Kent (Book acquired, 3 Feb. 2018)

img_9012

I couldn’t pass up on this illustrated Heritage Press copy of Leaves of Grass. I’m not sure of the exact date of publication, but this nice long post on the book suggests it was likely published in 1950 and designed in the mid-thirties.

img_9011

My daughter and I were browsing the poetry section of our favorite used bookshop—quite randomly actually—and she pulled this volume of Leaves of Grass downward like a lever, pretending it might open a secret passage. It didn’t open a secret passage, but when she pushed it back again, I saw Kent’s name on the spine. I love Kent’s work, and I’m a huge Whitman fan, and my copy of Leaves of Grass is literally falling apart. Plus only $10 and I had plenty of store credit…so…

img_9013

I’ll share some of the illustrations and verses over the next few months—a nice excuse to go through Leaves of Grass again.

img_9019

October — Alex Colville

october-1979large

October, 1979 by Alex Colville (1920-2013)

Penelope and the Suitors — Neil Packer

img_8025

From The Odyssey, retold by Gillian Cross and illustrated by Neil Packer, Candlewick Press, 2012.

The Laestrygonians — Neil Packer

From The Odyssey, retold by Gillian Cross and illustrated by Neil Packer, Candlewick Press, 2012.

September — Theodor Severin Kittelsen

EPSON scanner image