Willy Pogány’s Treasury of Verse

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In the previous post I referred to Willy Pogány’s versatility, and this book of poetry for children shows the degree to which he could adapt his illustrative style to suit the written material. When compared to his minimal drawings for Padraic Colum’s Grecian tales, his Dulac-like Rubáiyát and the elaborate designs for the Tale of Lohengrin these illustrations could be the work of a different artist.

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A Treasury of Verse for Little Children was compiled by Madalen Edgar, and published by Harrap in 1908. The illustrations and page layouts are close enough to the children’s books being produced at this time by Charles Robinson that I wonder whether the similarity was deliberate on Pogány’s part. The drawings stray too much into the twee zone for my taste but the book is worth looking through if only to see the ways in which he varied the hand-drawn title designs for each entry. Pogány’s next commission took another change of direction with an edition of Goethe’s Faust.

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Willy Pogány’s Children of Odin

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I ought to have waited until Wotan’s Day to post this one. The title may suggest a black metal album but these are illustrations by the versatile Willy Pogány for a retelling of Norse myths by Padraic Colum. Pogány illustrated several of Colum’s books, including retellings of Greek myths for which the illustrations resemble the figures found on Grecian ceramics. Children of Odin was published in 1920 with illustrations and page designs closer to Pogány’s drawings and paintings for Colum’s novel, The King of Ireland’s Son. The four colour plates shown here aren’t always present in the editions available online.

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Iduna picking the Apples of Life for the Gods.

Jason and the Argonauts was one of my favourite films when I was 10 years old (and the story of the Golden Fleece happens to be the subject of a later Colum/Pogány volume) but I was never very interested in the written accounts of Greek mythology. The world of the Norse gods was darker and more mysterious, and I read Roger Lancelyn Green’s Myths of the Norsemen many times. I’m sure I would have done the same with Colum’s book, especially in this edition which contains over 40 illustrations. These days, any mention of Odin and Thor is blighted by association with the steroidal junk of “The Marvel Universe” and neopagan numbskullery. Feed them all to Fenrir and the Midgard Serpent, say I, and let the old gods rest in peace.

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Odin at Mimir’s Well.

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02021

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The Elephant Celebes (1921) by Max Ernst.

Happy new year. 02021? Read this.

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Desert Sunset (1921) by George Elbert Burr.

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The Great Tower (1921) by Giorgio de Chirico.

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Evening Glow at Yanaka (1921) by Kawase Hasui.

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Construction (1921) by Gustavs Klucis.

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Three Musicians (1921) by Pablo Picasso.

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Illustration by Willy Pogány for The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles (1921) by Padraic Colum.

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Sketch of Figural Movement for Dance (1921) by Oskar Schlemmer.

Willy Pogány’s Rubáiyát

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Willy Pogány’s work is no stranger to these pages, and I did once link to scans of his illustrated Rubáiyát although the site where those images were posted has since migrated. Pogány’s edition, which dates from 1909, presents the quatrains in beautifully lettered and decorated pages separated by watercolour plates. The Persian details may be Pogány’s own approximations but he thanks Arabic scholar Dr Julius Germanus for his assistance with the book. Some of the pages at the Internet Archive are the worse for wear but this is one edition where every page is worth seeing. Browse the rest of the book here or download it here. (There’s also a second Pogány edition from 1930—not 1900 as the site claims—which is worth looking at but seems crude in comparison to the earlier book.)

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Weekend links 96

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Sin título (monstruas) (2008) by Marina Núñez.   

• Salon asks Christopher Bram “Is gay literature over?” Bram’s new book, Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America, is reviewed here.

Robert Montgomery is profiled at the Independent as “The artist vandalising advertising with poetry.”

In addition to aesthetics, McCarthy noted a deeper link between great science and great writing. “Both involve curiosity, taking risks, thinking in an adventurous manner, and being willing to say something 9/10ths of people will say is wrong.” Profound insights in both domains also tend arise from a source beyond the limits of analytic reason. “Major insights in science come from the subconscious, from staring at your shoes. They’re not just analytical.”

Nick Romeo meets Cormac McCarthy at the Santa Fe Institute.

• For FACT mix 316 Julia Holter mixes radio broadcasts, street recordings and music.

• This week in the Tumblr labyrinth: fin de siècle art and graphics from Nocnitsa.

“There’s a widespread cultural barrenness across art and political culture. But there are some pockets of resistance on the extreme margins, like the techno-savvy protest movements, small press, the creator-owned comics, that seem to be getting some signs of hope for the future,” he says. “All of the genuinely interesting work is being done on the margins, with independent companies, self-producing, and alternative distribution networks.”

Alan Moore on Watchmen’s “toxic cloud” and creativity v. big business.

Stone Tape Shuffle, a 12” LP of readings by Iain Sinclair. Limited to 400 copies.

Monolake on how we cope with death: mythologies, rituals, drugs and Ghosts.

Kraftwerk perform at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in April.

Kathy Acker (in 1988?) interviewing William Burroughs.

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Willy Pogány’s erotica: illustrations for a 1926 edition of The Songs of Bilitis by Pierre Louÿs.

• Nicholas Lezard on David Lynch: director of dreams.

Did otherworldly music inspire Stonehenge?

Coilhouse has an Eyepatch Party.

Tanzmusik (1973) by Kraftwerk | The Model (1992) by the Balanescu Quartet | Trans Europe Express (2003) by the Wiener Sinfonie Orchestra & Arnold Schönberg Choir.