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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Die Andere Seite by Alfred Kubin

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Re-reading Alfred Kubin’s strange fantasy novel Die Andere Seite (The Other Side) this week, I found myself suffering the same frustration as when I bought the book, namely that the illustrations in the Dedalus edition are very poor reproductions. When this new translation appeared in 2000 there wasn’t any convenient way to see better copies of Kubin’s drawings unless you had the earlier (and for me, elusive) Penguin edition. Thanks to Flickr we can now see reproductions from the first printing of 1909 in this set of photos. Not all the drawings are featured but the ones present are better than those in my volume. The illustrations are often rather perfunctory, and they lack the finesse and erotic weirdness of Kubin’s better known works, but a couple are as macabre as one would expect. And I love the cover design.

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As to the story, it concerns an unnamed narrator who receives a request from an old school friend, Claus Patera, to leave Munich and go with his wife to live in the city of Pearl, a newly-built metropolis in a nation known as “The Dream Realm” which Patera has founded in the Far East. Having travelled there the couple find themselves in a city filled with other displaced Europeans which is at first eccentric then increasingly nightmarish. It’s the kind of book you might expect an artist like Kubin to have written, in other words, and since the narrator is a thinly-veiled counterpart of the author we can occasionally glimpse the man behind the works. Anyone interested in Kubin the artist is advised to seek it out.

Alfred Kubin at Weimar

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Hour-Glass Sanatorium by Wojciech Has
Kafka’s porn unveiled
Hugo Steiner-Prag’s Golem

 


 

Posted in {art}, {books}, {cities}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}.

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3 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by @~

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    Was ages before I managed to get an affordable copy of The Other Side. Seems to be a few about now though. My copy is nowhere near as nice as the edition you’ve featured though.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    I was surprised to see it’s a) out of print again, and b) commanding excessive prices.

  3. #3 posted by Paul Rumsey

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    The first exhibition of Kubin in the UK, 21st July to 30th Sept, 2012.

    http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/art/alfred-kubin

 


 

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