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Gods' Man: A Novel in Woodcuts (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) Paperback – March 16, 2004
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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.
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Top customer reviews
If you like Ward's work, you may want to check out "The Haunted Omnibus"; a collection of short stories in which he did the illustrations, and they are very sophisticated in composition and style - just a lot going on visually. Beautiful line and curves, almost cubist composition. A whole narrative packed into each frame.
My descriptions don't do his work justice- get it! Worth the very low price.
The format is stark: one black and white image per page, for over 140 pages. The nature of woodcut, in the style used here, is that there are no greys. The black-and-white blacks are truly black, and whites blank white. Ward overcomes that with mastery of fine line, and with "gray" carefully modulated in their alternation. One scene, an optical effect of light streaming though a cathedral window, is simply mind-boggling.
Dover has printed these images beautifully in dense darks on heavy, opaque paper. Part of the reason that this book has been so long out of print may be that the technology for doing justice to Ward's images has only just matured enough to make books like this affordable. Don't assume that low price means inferior reproduction - Dover has created (or recreated) a book truly worth having.