Illustrating Poe #5: Among the others


The Conqueror Worm (c. 1900) by František Kupka.

Poe’s illustrators are legion, you could easily devote an entire blog to nothing but depictions of his stories and poems. By way of rounding off this week of posts I thought I’d point to some of the works which have caught my attention over the years, several of them being obscure enough to warrant further investigation.

František Kupka’s drawing is, as far as I can gather, one of a series based on Poe’s poem; this seems to be a related piece. As with many Symbolists artists, you can spend a great deal of time scouring the available resources to find more of their work. We’re told that one of Kupka’s more well-known paintings, The Way of Silence (1903), was inspired by the poem Dream-land.


Berenice (1905) by Alberto Martini.

Alberto Martini (1876–1954) is a fascinating artist whose work bridges the decline of Symbolism and the rise of Surrealism. He’s also another talent whose work is woefully underrepresented on the web so let’s hope that changes soon. Wikipedia describes him as having produced 135 Poe illustrations of which only a small handful are visible online, and most of the ones that are go unlabelled. I know this one is for Berenice since I have it in a book but any Poe reader should guess the title from those blazing teeth. A few more of Martini’s drawings can be seen here.


The Tell-Tale Heart (1912) by Martin van Maële, engraved by Eugène Dété.

Another obscure illustration by an artist who’s now mostly known for his strange pornographic drawings, possibly not what he anticipated from posterity. Wikipedia (again—information is scarce) lists 95 engravings produced for a 1912 edition of Poe. This particular drawing is so grisly I’ve wondered for years what the rest of the book was like.


The Premature Burial (1935) by Arthur Rackham.

The only fully illustrated Rackham book I own is a reprint of his illustrated Tales of Mystery and Imagination. For an illustrator with his reputation it’s a major disappointment, he really wasn’t suited to this kind of atmosphere and I imagine the job having come at the urging of Harrap, the publisher. I do like this drawing, however. Golden Age Comic Book Stories posted a number of the others.


The Tell-Tale Heart (undated) by Virgil Finlay.

It’s a shame Finlay worked predominantly for magazines, he could have produced a splendid book.


A couple of pages from a recent edition of The Raven by French collage artist Emmanuel Polanco. A few more pages can be seen here while this page has examples of other work.


Finally, A Journey Round My Skull has two further collections: this one from 1932 by John Buckland Wright and this one from 1946 by E. McKnight Kauffer. The Wright illustrations are especially good.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Illustrating Poe #4: Wilfried Sätty
Illustrating Poe #3: Harry Clarke
Illustrating Poe #2: William Heath Robinson
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
Poe at 200
Kafka and Kupka

3 thoughts on “Illustrating Poe #5: Among the others”

  1. This is a great series. I’ve studied Poe illustrations for a while now, and you’ve lead me to some wonderful illustrations I did not know about. Thank you!

  2. Some of the best illustrations of Poe’s short stories in recent years, in my opinion, were done by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein. Not generally known as an illustrator, he really did Poe proud. The ‘Unheimliche Geschichten’ volume published by Verlag Weingarten in 1979 is really astounding, not only for the technique (Rotring Rapidograph), but also for the moments and events that he chose to illustrate. It was remaindered just about everywhere in bookshops in Vienna in the 90’s but I think it will be less easy and more expensive to track down now, I would urge any fan to do so. Below is a link to his website which sadly shows only one of the pictures but gives an idea of the look a picture serch will provide a few others.

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