Lynd Ward's wordless, Depression-era woodcut novels

Library of America has announced a slipcased two-volume set collecting Lynd Ward's gorgeous, Depression-era woodcut "novels" -- wordless, book-length stories told in stark imagery. The set is edited by Art Spiegelman, and LoA has a short interview (PDF) with Spiegelman on Ward's work.

See LoA's Lynd Ward page for more info on the books (with visuals) or pre-order a copy at Amazon.

Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts (Thanks, Kirk!)


  1. That is great news. I am such a huge fan of woodcut art and Lynd Ward. Hopefully this will bring much deserved attention to his work.

  2. I own an original Lynd Ward woodcut novel, (number 39 of 200 if I recall). Anyone know what it might be worth?

  3. Ward was much influenced by Frans Masereel, who illustrated a (large) number of very powerful “novels without words,” and may have originated the concept. He was a close friend of Georg Grosz, and much of his work contains a similar indictment of the status quo and bourgeois life.

    Rockwell Kent was another whose work reflects quite similar graphic (and political) values. He, however, did not produce textless fiction; in fact, he was a remarkable illustrator, as witness his extraordinary Moby Dick and Candide.

    Ward, Kent and Masereel all promoted the individual against faceless bureaucracy (a major theme of Masereel). All three were very much left-of-center in their time. Indeed, poor Kent was considered such a leftist radical that the Department of State withheld his passport in the 1950s.

    I hope to see retrospective interest develop in Masereel, who I feel has (in the US at least) been underrated for far too long.

    1. Masereel was great too! There’s an anthology out with work by Ward, Masereel, Hyde and Giacomo Patri. It’s a nice starter collection for the uninitiated.
      And it’s edited by George A. Walker who is a very accomplished woodcut artist himself.

  4. I’ve had Ward’s Vertigo for decades. Dover has just started to reprint his work. I bought the reprint for around $10.

    But I will still pre-order the LoA set.

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