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Prelude to a Million Years / Song Without Words / Vertigo

por Lynd Ward

Outros autores: Art Spiegelman (Editor)

Séries: Lynd Ward (2)

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843247,377 (3.79)3
In this, the second of two volumes collecting all his woodcut novels, The Library of America brings together Lynd Ward's three later books, two of them brief, the visual equivalent of chamber music, the other his longest, a symphony in three movements. Prelude to a Million Years (1933) is a dark meditation on art, inspiration, and the disparity between the ideal and the real. Song Without Words (1936), a protest against the rise of European fascism, asks if ours is a world still fit for the human soul. Vertigo (1937), Ward's undisputed masterpiece, is an epic novel on the theme of the individual caught in the downward spiral of a sinking American economy. Its characters include a young violinist, her luckless fiancé, and an elderly business magnate who--movingly, and without ever becoming a political caricature--embodies the social forces determining their fate. The images reproduced in this volume are taken from prints pulled from the original woodblocks or first-generation electrotypes. Ward's novels are presented, for the first time since the 1930s, in the format that the artist intended, one image per right-hand page, and are followed by four essays in which he discusses the technical challenges of his craft. Art Spiegelman contributes an introductory essay, "Reading Pictures," that defines Ward's towering achievement in that most demanding of graphic-story forms, the wordless novel in woodcuts.… (mais)
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The last three of Ward’s six woodcut novels. Surprising amount of nudity for the 1930’s. “Vertigo” is a wordless, narrative masterpiece. ( )
  Cail_Judy | Apr 21, 2020 |
Ward's woodcuts are unexpectedly precise and sophisticated. A blurb from Will Eisner claims Ward's Vertigo as "the forerunner of the modern graphic novel" -- and his woodcuts look familiar precisely because unacquainted readers easily could assume they're drawn. But Ward didn't rely entirely on technical craft. His stories are innovative in depicting scenes, and they had to be: his novels have no speech balloons, no captions or other narrative boxes, no sound effects, no words at all excepting as part of the scene (for instance a billboard or newspaper held by a character). Like the very best graphic novels I've read, not everything in Vertigo is evident from a single reading.

The three novels here (two shorter novels precede Vertigo) are supplemented with essays by Ward on each novel, his publishing collective Equinox, and the art of woodblocks. Art Spiegelman contributes an introduction, which mentions the three novels of Volume I. I was pleasantly surprised to read Ward was inspired specifically by Masereel's woodcuts and by German Expressionism generally, as my interest in each prompted me to read Ward.

//

This LOA edition, the second of two volumes, is a handsome book: orange cloth binding paired with an orange & white jacket (not the typical LOA design), and the endpapers adapted from Ward's board design for the Equinox edition of Prelude to a Million Years. Unlike most LOA books, this edition includes both a jacket and a choice of slipcase (for subscribers) or a custom orange box.

All but a small handful of the woodcuts are sharp and glossy black; these very few are slightly washed out, uncertain why that is (all are from Vertigo). ( )
  elenchus | Apr 23, 2016 |
Will Eisner is commonly and erroneously credited with creating the modern graphic novel (instead, he popularized it). Milt Gross and, more deservingly, Lynd Ward should have that title. This book compiles the remaining three graphic novels of Lynd Ward's marvelous works from the 1930's. His style reminds me of Rockwell Kent, but to my knowledge Kent didn't create any graphic stories.

"Prelude To A Million Years" is an odd little story in which an idealistic artist is so dismayed by the banal brutality of the world that he retreats to the purity of his own artistic creation, although the last panel shows that this is small comfort.

"Song Without Words" is another strange short story in which a woman, discovering her pregnancy, is so appalled by the world's evil (a repeat of the theme from the first story) that she cannot bear bringing a child into such a world. Here, though, the last panel is much more hopeful. "Vertigo", a much more ambitious work, paints a picture of the Great Depression through the eyes of several characters.

The book contains a foreword by Art Spiegelman ("Maus") and essays about each of the stories herein. ( )
1 vote burnit99 | Apr 22, 2012 |
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In this, the second of two volumes collecting all his woodcut novels, The Library of America brings together Lynd Ward's three later books, two of them brief, the visual equivalent of chamber music, the other his longest, a symphony in three movements. Prelude to a Million Years (1933) is a dark meditation on art, inspiration, and the disparity between the ideal and the real. Song Without Words (1936), a protest against the rise of European fascism, asks if ours is a world still fit for the human soul. Vertigo (1937), Ward's undisputed masterpiece, is an epic novel on the theme of the individual caught in the downward spiral of a sinking American economy. Its characters include a young violinist, her luckless fiancé, and an elderly business magnate who--movingly, and without ever becoming a political caricature--embodies the social forces determining their fate. The images reproduced in this volume are taken from prints pulled from the original woodblocks or first-generation electrotypes. Ward's novels are presented, for the first time since the 1930s, in the format that the artist intended, one image per right-hand page, and are followed by four essays in which he discusses the technical challenges of his craft. Art Spiegelman contributes an introductory essay, "Reading Pictures," that defines Ward's towering achievement in that most demanding of graphic-story forms, the wordless novel in woodcuts.

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