The Rime of the Modern Mariner

The Rime of the Modern Mariner

by Nick Hayes
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

An extraordinary, timely update on the classic Coleridge poem

Is it possible to update a masterpiece? Only, perhaps, with a brand-new masterpiece. Written in 1797, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” was the original eco-fable; drawn in 2010, The Rime of the Modern Mariner is a graphic novel, now set in the cesspool of the North Atlantic

Overview

An extraordinary, timely update on the classic Coleridge poem

Is it possible to update a masterpiece? Only, perhaps, with a brand-new masterpiece. Written in 1797, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” was the original eco-fable; drawn in 2010, The Rime of the Modern Mariner is a graphic novel, now set in the cesspool of the North Atlantic Garbage Patch—thus adding a timely and resonant message about the destruction of our seas.

Hayes’s visually striking debut is drawn with complex, iconic images reminiscent of old woodcuts. Emerging from every exquisite page are the poem’s enduring themes: compassion for nature, a sense of connection among all living things, and rightful outrage at man’s thoughtless destruction of the environment. Powerful and evocative, lush and stark, The Rime of the Modern Mariner will appeal to fans of Habibi and Persepolis.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The updating of a literary classic is always fraught with peril—which could be why so many authors prefer to create their own offshoots (Sena Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife). But Hayes’s startlingly fresh and innovative take on Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” could be studied as an example of how to modernize a classic without pretending to supplant the original. Hayes turns Coleridge’s 1797 apocalyptic epic into an ecological warning, wherein a careless litterbug of a businessman is accosted by a sailor with burning eyes and a tale of woe. Part of the story mirrors Coleridge’s (a carelessly murdered bird brings damnation upon the crusty mariner’s vessal), but the atmospherics are more charged with the dangers of modernity. This mariner’s boat is trapped in a floating archipelago of fouled plastic garbage (much like the real one, the size of a country, which swirls today in the Pacific), which mutely rebukes the viewpoint of the businessman and his “world detached of consequence.” Hayes is a political cartoonist, and his writing isn’t nearly as memorable as his illustrations, which convey the beauty of the world and the pity of its destruction with a gorgeous brand of vehemence. His panels, awash in light blues, swoop and flow like aquatic woodcuts of an earlier era. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
A visually arresting and verbally cadenced transformation of the Coleridge classic into a timely (and timeless) eco-apocalyptic fable. Where most graphic narratives tend to be heavier with text, this book debut by an award-winning British cartoonist relies far more on the power of its dreamlike visuals, where subtleties of color and motion suggest psychedelic woodcuts. The words on each page are never more than couplets, sometimes phrases, while there are stretches of pages of indelible images with no words at all. The poetry evokes the spirit of the original, written in a tone of millennial prophecy in 1797, now imbued with greater urgency in a sea of sludge and oil spill, in phrasing that somehow intersperses 18th-century diction with references to email, Blackberry and Tupperware without jarring the reader. It begins with a man who is a bit of a detached dandy and who has just executed his divorce, tossing aside his marriage (his wife is barely mentioned) like he does a plastic foam cup. He encounters a mariner who proceeds to tell him a tale, one that involves a seafaring adventure, the fateful killing of an albatross, a descent through an ocean of pollution into hell and a rescue that allows the mariner to survive and sound his warning. After hearing the mariner's soliloquy, the divorcé brushes it off, returning "To a world detached of consequence / Where he would not live for long." The reader will likely find the story far more moving, as the nightmarish imagery trumps the occasional tendency toward thematic overkill. More than a classic-comics adaptation, this is an original work of art.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670025800
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/25/2012
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.04(d)

Meet the Author

Nick Hayes is a political cartoonist for The Guardian and was a founding editor of Meat Magazine, which showcased new writing, comics, and illustrations. He has won two Guardian media awards.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >