The Graphic Canon, Volume 2: From Kubla Khan to the Bronte Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray

Overview

The Graphic Canon, Volume 2 gives us a visual cornucopia based on the wealth of literature from the 1800s. Several artists—including Maxon Crumb and Gris Grimly—present their versions of Edgar Allan Poe’s visions. The great American novel Huckleberry Finn is adapted uncensored for the first time, as Twain wrote it. The bad boys of Romanticism—Shelley, Keats, and Byron—are visualized here, and so are the Brontë sisters. We see both of Coleridge’s most famous poems: “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the ...
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Overview

The Graphic Canon, Volume 2 gives us a visual cornucopia based on the wealth of literature from the 1800s. Several artists—including Maxon Crumb and Gris Grimly—present their versions of Edgar Allan Poe’s visions. The great American novel Huckleberry Finn is adapted uncensored for the first time, as Twain wrote it. The bad boys of Romanticism—Shelley, Keats, and Byron—are visualized here, and so are the Brontë sisters. We see both of Coleridge’s most famous poems: “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (the latter by British comics legend Hunt Emerson). Philosophy and science are ably represented by ink versions of Nietzsche’sThus Spake Zarathustra and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

FrankensteinMoby-DickLes MisérablesGreat ExpectationsMiddlemarchAnna KareninaCrime and Punishment (a hallucinatory take on the pivotal murder scene), Thoreau’s Walden (in spare line art by John Porcellino of King-Cat Comics fame), “The Drunken Boat” by Rimbaud, Leaves of Grass by Whitman, and two of Emily Dickinson’s greatest poems are all present and accounted for. John Coulthart has created ten magnificent full-page collages that tell the story of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. And Pride and Prejudice has never looked this splendiferous!

This volume is a special treat for Lewis Carroll fans. Dame Darcy puts her unmistakable stamp on—what else?—the Alice books in a new 16-page tour-de-force, while a dozen other artists present their versions of the most famous characters and moments from Wonderland. There’s also a gorgeous silhouetted telling of “Jabberwocky,” and Mahendra’s Singh’s surrealistic take on “The Hunting of the Snark.”

Curveballs in this volume include fairy tales illustrated by the untameable S. Clay Wilson, a fiery speech from freed slave Frederick Douglass (rendered in stark black and white by Seth Tobocman), a letter on reincarnation from Flaubert, the Victorian erotic classic Venus in Furs, the drug classic The Hasheesh Eater, and silk-screened illustrations for the ghastly children’s classic Der Struwwelpeter. Among many other canonical works.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
Kick has assembled an impressive group of more than 100 artists to illustrate, adapt and visually interpret the text…The amount and density of content at first seem overwhelming, but Kick thoughtfully lays the work out for you…[his] preface to each piece introduces us to the artist and coaxes us along with enticing tidbits of unusual information about the original text. Every page sends you further down the rabbit hole, and before you know it, hours have passed…Work that might normally put you to sleep will leave you awe-struck.
—Annie Weatherwax
Publishers Weekly
Comprising original graphic versions of classic literature, from Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” to Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, this is the second volume of a must-have anthology for those who wish to lose themselves utterly in visual narrative adaptations of the works of the Western canon. Featuring spectacular graphic adaptations of some of the 19th century’s most famous works, contributors include Maxon Crumb, John Porcellino, and Megan Kelso. Each selection is prefaced with a short introduction to provide context, and a rationale is included for the marriage of a particular writer with a particular artist. And editor Kick certainly gets it right. Porcellino’s simple drawings are perfect for Thoreau’s Walden. Eran Cantrell’s silhouetted illustrations for Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” are positively stunning. And what PMurphy does with Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is marvelously original. Apart from containing insightful introductions and wonderful artwork, these selections have a not-to-be-underestimated pedagogical value that educators will no doubt find invaluable in bringing classic works of literature to a 21st-century audience immersed in visual culture. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"As with the previous volume, this collection has a wide array of applications for cultural scholars and historians (art and otherwise), but proves most powerful in its tear-inducing panoply of graphic talents and styles working in the comics medium."
—Jesse Karp, Booklist

"By turns playful and beautiful, this visual treatment is more than entertainment; it offers a new perspective for understanding these enduring works [of the nineteenth century]."
—Reader's Digest

"The tome is the best thing in literary comics since Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant and a fine complement to the best graphic nonfiction of the past few years."
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"Russ Kick, the man who's curating this tripartite series, must be some saint of artist-wrangling abilities, some theme-embodying savant . . . Dame Darcy's 16 pages of excerpts from Alice in Wonderland in this book might be worth the price of ownership all by itself."
—Austin Chronicle

"The majority of the work featured in Volume 2 of The Graphic Canon exceeds expectations for how it absorbs familiar texts and shapes new lives into them, reminding readers how words read in a book can color so much of life that exists far beyond the page."
Imprint

“This prodigious and astounding collection of literary adaptations is staggering in its ambition, but even more so in its execution and realization.”
—The Miami Herald

“One of the most ambitious [projects] in the history of the graphic medium.”
“The Graphic Canon continues to be an enrapturing experience. It has already sparked a sensation, and anyone who’s read the first two volumes most likely can’t wait for the third, currently set to come out this March. If all this effort renews interest in the classics, then more power to it. Still, The Graphic Canon, Volume 2 has plenty to offer those without lit degrees: a vibrant, feverish dance through some of the best parts of our artistic history … with an open invitation to join.”
—Paste Magazine 

 “If you’d like to add a little class to your comic collection, look no further: The Graphic Canon has what you need. A gorgeous, three-volume collection from Seven Stories Press and Russ Kick (with the final volume being released this coming April), The Graphic Canon is basically all of the greatest literature in the history of the world, as seen through the eyes of the greatest comic artists in the world. If you think that sounds pretty epically amazing, you would not be wrong.”
—DorkShelf 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609803780
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Series: Graphic Canon Series
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 534,966
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 10.68 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

RUSS KICK's best-selling anthologies, including You Are Being Lied To and Everything You Know Is Wrong, have sold over half a million copies. The New York Times has dubbed Kick "an information archaeologist," Details magazine described Kick as "a Renaissance man," and Utne Reader named him one of its "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World." Russ Kick lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee, and Tucson, Arizona.

From the Boxed Set edition.

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