Wordless Novel

I’ve long loved the graphic novel form, but I didn’t realize its origins are much earlier than I would have expected. With the forthcoming release of the collected works of Lynd Ward, we’re all about to get a valuable lesson about telling stories without words. “Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts” is available for preorder now.

From the eve of the Great Depression to the start of World War II, Lynd Ward (1905–1985) observed the troubled American scene through the double lens of a politically committed storyteller and a visionary graphic artist. His medium—the wordless “novel in woodcuts”—was his alone, and he quickly brought it from bold iconographic infancy to subtle and still unrivaled mastery.

The images reproduced in this volume are taken from prints pulled from the original woodblocks or first-generation electrotypes. The Library of America is proud to bring Ward’s masterworks to a new generation of readers, together with nine illuminating essays about his craft, including those he wrote for the long out-of-print Storyteller Without Words, a 1974 retrospective. 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.

via Boing Boing

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