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Gods' Man: A Novel in Woodcuts (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) Paperback – March 16, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Fine Art, History of Art
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (March 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486435008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486435008
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

The woodblock, whether cut with a knife or engraved, develops its image by bringing details out of darkness into the light. This seems to give it an advantage over ways of working that start with an empty white area. In a sense, what is happening is already there in the darkness, and cutting the block involves letting only enough light into the field of vision to reveal what is going on. .... The measuring stick, if anyone is making a list of what is or is not a pictorial narrative, is whether the communication of what is and what is happening is accomplished entirely or predominantly in visual terms. .... It has always been a matter of some surprise to me that this process can go on for a considerable period and all take place silently. I hear no sound; there is never a word spoken.

- excerpt from Storyteller Without Words - the Wood Engravings of Lynd Ward 1974, Harry N. Abrams Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The most important work of American artist and illustrator Lynd Ward, Gods' Man is a powerfully evocative novel, told entirely through woodcuts. Ward (1905–85), in employing the concept of the wordless pictorial narrative, acknowledged his predecessors the European artists Frans Masereel and Otto Nückel. Released the week of the 1929 stock market crash, Gods' Man was the first of six woodcut novels that Ward produced over the next eight years. It presents the artist's struggles in a world characterized by both innocence and corruptions and can be considered a forerunner of the contemporary graphic novel, popularized by artists such as Daniel Clowes.
Although best known for his "novels in woodcuts," Ward was also a successful illustrator of children's books. In 1953 he won the Caldecott Medal for The Biggest Bear, which he both wrote and illustrated. His illustrations also appeared in numerous books that received the Newbery Medal. Ward's final work was the acclaimed wordless novel The Silver Pony (1973).
Until now, Gods' Man has only been widely available in high-priced original editions. This top-quality, low-cost republication of Ward's masterpiece will be welcomed by collectors of his work as well as by readers new to his achievement.
Dover (2004) unabridged republication of the edition published by Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, New York, 1929.

Customer Reviews

Its a beautiful story, told without words and a sort of bittersweet ending.
Amazon Customer
One of Lynd Ward's greatest gifts was to touch the lives of children with such beautiful stories as the Biggest Bear and The Silver Pony.
D. Jaussi
This book is the perfect gift for the sensitive high school or college student.
Sorrel Wood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Chris Henderson on December 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I first ran across Lynd Ward's art at a Flea Market in Birmingham where a vendor had framed several pieces from one of his books. The images were so powerful that I had to know who the artist was. Lynd Ward, along with Virgil Finlay, has become one of the two major influences on my own black and white art and this book is one of his best. The story is clearly told with hauntingly beautiful, bold woodcut illustrations. This is probably the best of his woodcut novels. If you enjoy this novel I would also recommend tracking down a copy of Storyteller Without Without Words. This out of print Coffee Table Book collects six of his woodcut novels along with many of his other illustrations.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 13, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is wonderful to have this book back in print after so many decades. This is a real achievement in visual storytelling, and helped blaze the trail for the modern graphic novel.

The format is starkly simple: one woodcut image per page, black on white. Woodcut isn't a tonal process - grades of light and dark come from alternations of white and black, for which Ward favors fields of parallel lines. His vision tends towards angular, harsh geometries; still, he uses this style in some surprisingly warm ways. "God's Man" is a product of the 1920s Art Deco era, so the combination of hard edges and soft sentiment works well.

Since it's a novel without words, much of the imagery is open to interpretation. Even so, Ward delivers his story clearly enough to leave me wondering: is this his own story, about a young artist fumbling and then finding his way in the world? How literal is that amulet of artistic power in Ward's personal mythology? This woodcut artist wields his knives fluently and with grace, so there may a thinly disguised autobiographical note, about the feeling that his own power comes into him from his chosen tools.

Don't believe it, though. This artist has full control of his medium. It's an early work from a long, successful career, so I can't even say that he was yet at the height of his craft. "God's Man" is the first I've seen of Ward's work, but it's given me the taste for more.

//wiredweird
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Perry on January 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing wordless novel that somehow speaks volumes. I would just like to point out a mistake that many reviewers have made concerning this classic. Ward used little words in this work at least we should get the title right. The title is "Gods' Man" not "God's Man", this simple placement of the apostrophe makes all the difference and adds another level for which we can read the work. This work can be "read" over and over again, it is amazing and a great statement about the plight of artists in the 20th century.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Esther Dunder on January 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm one of those that read Peck's book as well - you know, the one where he treated a patient who was possessed and was unable to help her - this patient had been obsessed with Gods' Man as a child and Peck believed it was ONE reason she was possessed (there were OTHER reasons - take for one she was deeply lonely her whole life). I actually do believe in the devil and possession but it won't get me upset if you don't - I have my own reasons. If any of you have not read this book and are unsure/interested, you can check out Wilkpedia for information on it. It truly does have beautiful art inside. Lynd Ward, a pastor's son, is an incredibly gifted artist. I should know, I come from a family of artists. That said, as a Christian I was unable to finish the book. If you are not a Christian you probably won't be affected in the same way. It is a very seductive book despite it being extremely depressing in story-line, which is why so many enjoy it I suppose. If you want to comment and slam Peck without reading his book too, then you are close-minded indeed. He had some emotion wrapped up in this book so I can see his point. He also would be the first to admit he was not a perfect person. It was too heavy for me to even finish but I am giving 3 stars because while I do think it is potentially dangerous(especially for kids), it can be the type of book with a lesson well-learned and also, of course, the artwork is really good. If you think I'm weak for not finishing it, you are probably right. At least I can admit to it.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D. Jaussi on December 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Is Mr. Lier's review of God's Man for real, or is it just a left over piece from the McCarthy era? Doesn't it seem a little strange that someone's mental illness and the eventual suicide is blamed on the inner workings of a single book, especially when the content of that book is grossly misunderstood by all parties involved? Golly, why don't we just go ahead and imprison Galileo again for saying the earth revolves around the sun. Or maybe simply agree with Charley Manson that the Beatle's song Helter Skelter was to blame for Sharon Tate's death. GLIMPSES OF THE DEVIL is the made from the same kind of stuff that caused the Salem witch trials of the 1600's. Maybe Mr. Peck should stop worrying about the devil in the book of God's Man and start worrying about the pervasive and damaging sexual misconduct of priests in his own church.

At the heart of the graphic novel God's Man is the philosophical question that all artists must ask themselves: "How can I justify the selling my own God-given talents for the price of money and fame?" God's Man is an artistic masterpiece, that not only sets the groundwork for the modern day graphic novel, but it also sets a high quality standard for today's illustrators concerning new books and novels.

One of Lynd Ward's greatest gifts was to touch the lives of children with such beautiful stories as the Biggest Bear and The Silver Pony. What his earlier more mature works did, such as God's Man, was to give his audience insights into the darker side of human nature, especially concerning the social injustices of the1930's. Ward's wood cut novels from this time period, such as Wild Pilgrimage, takes a hard look at the racism and bigotry under the surface of every day life in America.
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Gods' Man: A Novel in Woodcuts (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)
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