The Wild Party

( 3 )

Overview

"Spiegelman's drawings are like demonic woodcuts: every angle, line, and curve jumps out at you. Stylishness and brutishness are in perfect accord."
-- The New York Times

Art Spiegelman's sinister and witty black-and-white drawings give charged new life to Joseph Moncure March's Wild Party, a lost classic from 1928. The inventive and varied page designs offer perfect counterpoint to the staccato tempo of this hard-boiled jazz-age tragedy told ...

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Overview

"Spiegelman's drawings are like demonic woodcuts: every angle, line, and curve jumps out at you. Stylishness and brutishness are in perfect accord."
-- The New York Times

Art Spiegelman's sinister and witty black-and-white drawings give charged new life to Joseph Moncure March's Wild Party, a lost classic from 1928. The inventive and varied page designs offer perfect counterpoint to the staccato tempo of this hard-boiled jazz-age tragedy told in syncopated rhyming couplets.

Here is a poem that can make even readers with no time for poetry stop dead in their tracks. Once read, large shards of this story of one night of debauchery will become permanently lodged in the brain. When The Wild Party was first published, Louis Untermeyer declared: "It is repulsive and fascinating, vicious and vivacious, uncompromising, unashamed . . . and unremittingly powerful. It is an amazing tour de force."

When first published in 1928, this story of one night of debauchery in the life of a vaudeville dancer became a "scandalous" success. The Wild Party is now given new life and expression, with March's text accompanied by more than 75 remarkable drawings by Art Spiegelman.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Wild Party?. . . It's the book that made me want to be a writer."
-- William Burroughs

The Wild Party may have begun as a dark Prohibition-era morality fable, but, thanks . . . to Spiegelman, it lives again as a funhouse mirror of current fears."
-- San Francisco Chronicle

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A lost ``classic''? It's odd how strikingly some writing may date to an era yet can later be resuscitated because of its potential for art and camp, and thus gain a new audience. That's what Spiegelman (Maus I and II) has pulled off here by rediscovering and illustrating this jazzy, insistently rhyming roaring '20s period poem, banned in Boston when first published in 1928. What Spiegelman, in his introduction, calls his ``fetishistic'' pleasure in the poem, penned by the New Yorker's inaugural managing editor, is borne out by March's dither of hard-edged rhythms recounting the boozing, brawling and fractious lovemaking of an all-night party ending in a murder. The characters are hard-boiled and needy-and stereotypically presented. The women, especially, seem deliberately one-dimensional, even offensively so-if one is inclined to take offense at all. But the poem works as a bouncy artifact, and the black-and-white illustrations are appropriately, viscerally graphic, summoning up the sense of a knockabout urban spree with debonair zeal and well-appointed crudeness. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Published in 1928, this racy prose poem follows a night in the life of a vaudeville dancer that includes everything from hot sex to cold murder. This classy edition has 75 drawings by Art Spiegelman (MAUS) and red velvet endpapers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375706431
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 484,599
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Moncure March was a poet, journalist and screenwriter best known for his two verse narratives, The Wild Party and The Set-Up, the story of a washed-up black boxer. An editor for The New Yorker in the 1920s, he died in 1977.

Art Spiegelman is the author of Maus, A Survivor's Tale, for which he received a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992. He was co-founder and editor of Raw, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics, and is currently a staff artist for The New Yorker and comix editor at Details magazine. He is currently working on Crime Doesn't Pay, an opera libretto about the history of comics. He lives in New York City with his wife, Fran├žoise Mouly, and their two children, Nadja and Dashiell.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 25, 2013

    According to the introduction by Art Spiegelman, this is the boo

    According to the introduction by Art Spiegelman, this is the book that made William Burroughs want to become a writer.  It was also written in 1926, when March was 26, and it was "too hot for publication" for two years.  When it finally was published, it was banned in Boston.
    The first thing I noticed about this "lost classic" when I opened it was the red velvet end-papers.  They alone made me want to buy this book. 
    The writing itself is Jazz Age brilliant.  It is a poem -- William Burroughs said it is -- "it rhymes".  But a poem with a staccato rhythm, not unlike a machine gun.  It's a nursery rhyme hopped up on bathtub gin.  And the descriptive lines come so fast my head spun.  I'm pretty sure this is the first time the word "ambisextrous" was used in literature.  Like most things hopped up on bathtub gin, this story doesn't end well.
    Clearly, Art Spiegelman loved this poem when he illustrated it.  Not only does he say that he fell in love with the poem within his introduction that comes a few pages after the red velvet end-papers, he shows that he fell in love with the poem with every wonderful and sometimes decadent illustration.  This edition is almost as much about the artwork as it is the writing. Almost.  It's hard to beat "so dumb that it hurt".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    A beautiful representation of basic human tendency. The illustra

    A beautiful representation of basic human tendency. The illustrations are welded perfectly to the text, and the writing style is amazingly magnetic. One of my most favorite reads.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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