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From "Kubla Khan" to the Bronte Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray (The Graphic Canon #2)
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From "Kubla Khan" to the Bronte Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray (The Graphic Canon #2)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  217 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The Graphic Canon, Volume 2gives us a visual cornucopia based on the wealth of literature from the 1800s. Several artists—including Maxon Crumb and Gris Grimly—present their versions of Edgar Allan Poe’s visions. The great American novelHuckleberry Finnis adapted uncensored for the first time, as Twain wrote it. The bad boys of Romanticism—Shelley, Keats, and Byron—are vis ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Seven Stories Press (first published July 10th 2012)
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(this review is the same as the one I wrote for volume 1. I really liked both volumes so far. I think perhaps the second one was more consistent in terms of sensibilities and quality, but I think that had mostly to do with the time period it was covering. Lots of great, beautiful stuff in both. Of course when dealing with canonization, what gets included and excluded, there is a lot to be debated. These books aren't super imaginative in that context, but hopefully they open up a space for others ...more
Volume 2 was my first introduction to Kick's "The Graphic Canon" collection. I really enjoyed the volume, but I can agree with the drawbacks that other reviewers have listed: lack of diversity, lack of illustration for some pieces, and some illustrations that were "unreadable" or difficult to visually decipher.

That being said, I am glad I picked up the volume. Another reviewer said that she approached the book like she would an art museum, which I thought was a good comparison. I paged through
Christopher Rush
This volume was better than volume 1, but one has to say that with the same tone as one says "having a temperature of 104 is better than having a temperature of 106." Some of the artwork is great - this is a fine showcase of a number of up-and-coming artists who may make it big for all the right reasons. Some of the "artwork," though, is just sloppy mediocre pseudo-art pretentiously demanding we call it "art" just because it says so (even though Mrs. Wilson's 3rd-grade class could draw better th ...more
Just as good as the last one. This covers probably my least favorite era in literature - the 18th and 19th centuries - but it still has a few really beautiful adaptations, notably Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn.

A thought about the era: I recently read Jane Eyre and Les Miserables, two of the books adapted in this collection, and it's impossible to miss how much attention is given to minutia and detail, with Les Mis especially. My theory is that this was the first era where storytelling was domi
Like all anthologies, some of these were better than others. I personally enjoyed the following:

"The Message from Mount Misery"--Excerpt from Frederick Douglas famous speech
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"--Wordless! Loved it. By far my favorite.
"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"-- His escape with Jim. Does a great job showing slavery and how Huck was torn with helping Jim and turning him in as an escaped slave. The only part I did not like was Jim's thick dialect.
"Alice Gallery"--various artis
Boyke Rahardian
Again, similar with vol. 1, it's packed with gorgeous illustrations, one can simply flip through the pages and enjoy the spectacle even with limited knowledge on the context. Readers need not to worry though, as Russ's introductions before each piece give enough background information on the literary works which inspired them.

There are some drawbacks of course which several reviewers here already pointed out—lack of illustration for some pieces, and some illustrations that are difficult to decip
In this volume they cover mostly the Romantic and the Victorian Era. One of my favorite times in the Victorian literature with the sudden upraise in female writing. Loved the fact this volume included Middlemarch. Just finished that last year, so it was interesting to see it in comic book form. I also really like the Alice in Wonderland gallery they included. So much beautiful art! The only downside to this volume, and the others, is the fact I don't like some of the samples. I really don't care ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Susan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 800
spot illustrations + text =/= comics
Joe Rouse
I was fortunate enough to meet Russ Kick, the editor/curator of this amazing work, while he was in town for Books on the Banks. He mentioned (as he does deftly in the Introduction) that we are living in the "Golden Age" of graphic novels, and this behemoth is true testament to that. The popularity of graphic novels in both popular and academic cultures is not to be underestimated. Kick's appreciation of this is forward-thinking and prophetic, at the very least.

The Graphic Canon, volumes 1 and 2,
This huge volume of graphic novelizations of various poems, stories and novels is almost too much to get through, some portions actually including large sections of works (Grimm's Fables and others) in very small print with relatively little illustration to accompany them.

Overall I enjoyed the various artists twists on the stories, some of my favorites include the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by Wordsworth I thought was conveyed very nicely by PMurphy, very colorful,
I thought this was an absolutely amazing book. The classics and visual art combined. Great bios of authors so a great way to get the skinny on a lot of great writers. The artists were many and so varied in their art. I loved the Lewis Carroll/ Alice gallery, the Poe montage, again Carroll/The Hunting of the Snark and the reason I picked this book up, Wilde/The Picture of Dorian Gray. I skipped over some because the art was just too busy for me or I was very familiar with the book, but overall I ...more
Aseem Kaul
There are some real gems here, most notably Julian Peters' thrilling rendition of Rimbaud's Drunken Boat, Megan Kelso's delightful Middlemarch, Michael Keer and Nicole Rager Fuller's On the Origin of the Species, and Tim Fish's Wuthering Heights (plus the inevitable Alice Gallery), but on the whole the second volume of the Graphic Canon struck me as inferior to Vol 1. In part, this has to do with the book's narrower definition of the Canon: Vol 1. included extracts from Native American stories, ...more
The balance between the art and the excerpts was very poor compared to the first volume. Too much (sometimes unreadable) text and not enough image. I also felt like the creator's bias began to creep through in a way I didn't notice the first time around. That many pages on Nietzsche? Really?

PLUS, after only a week's worth of perusal the binding came unglued. Twice. Unprecedented for one of my mollycoddled books.
Keeps up the same high standards set by vol. 1.

Not much else to say about it, some of the interpretations are really interesting and it is nice to take a look at old classics with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective (such as seeing a black version of Lewis Carroll's Alice). It has inspired me to pick up a few that I may have overlooked in the past.
Only passable. The anthology claims to include "the world's great literature as comics and visuals," but this volume is truly the Western world only, and embarrassingly so. And while the editor chose a good selection within the canon -- and it is a pleasure to sample so many good works -- the number of selections means each one receives just a few pages. I'd have much preferred fewer works with more pages per work.

The art looks rushed. I didn't feel that all contributors offered their best work,
What an amazing idea – excerpts from great literature in graphic form! My favorite was “Jabberwocky” (Lewis Carroll) adapted by Eran Cantrell, all in silhouette images, beautiful work. “Anna Karenina” and “Middlemarch were also good – and “Huck Finn” – “Crime and Punishment” was spectral. All in all, a vivid and imaginative collection.
I enjoyed this, much like I enjoy art museums. There's stuff I like, and there's stuff I don't like. This series (of which this is the first book I've read) is certainly an immense undertaking, and I would imagine that there are tons of literary gems that were passed over in the editing process. But, the heart of this project is the art associated with the literature. Most of it is great, a few were so-so, only a couple did I find not to my taste. Some are comic in form, others have their roots ...more
Overall, this was still a good volume and a very good idea, but it didn't have quite the energy or pacing as the first. I was also disappointed by how often there were duplicate stories and plain illustrations. Several were really good like the Anna Karenina and Middlemarch ones, but it was often difficult to get through this.
2.5 There were some interesting choices and illustrations, but having only excerpts of classics is frustrating for me.
Carlos Vallarino
Went thru it and really enjoyed, did not know so much about some literaure. Made my list and will keep reading on.
One aspect of the first volume I loved was its global focus; the anthology managed to produce a collection that truly felt representative of the literary canon. Volume 2 disappoints in this respect, it is very much focused on western classics.

The diversity of contributors is still impressive, and there are some works I would love to see get full-book treatment (Huxley King's P&P illustrations at the top of that list, obvs). Fortunately my favourite pages did (Introducing me to Kish's work is
Jan 07, 2013 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I really enjoyed volume two of the graphic canon. The excerpts were amazing for the most part, and the art work was brilliant. I would list off my favorites of all the great artwork and adaptations, but honestly there are too many that I enjoyed. I think I enjoyed volume two a bit more than volume one, but that may be because I am slightly more familiar with the works in this period. I am excited to get the third volume in April. I can't wait to see more, and to have the complete collection!
Didn't like this one as much as I liked volume one. I think because it wasn't as diverse.
Surprisingly little invention. It reads like the artists had homework, and not like they were bringing the text to life with their art.
İlk ciltte olduğu gibi,
çok iyi seçilmiş yapıtlar,
çok usta grafikerler-çizerler,
çok iyi çeviriler,
şahane bir baskı,
muhteşem bir cilt,
mükemmel bir derleme olmuş...
"Kolektif kitap" çok başarılı bir tasarım yapmış...
Mutlaka çok seveceğiniz bir bölüm vardır... Edinin, tekrar tekrar okuyun...
Unexpected delight - and I've ordered Volume 1 and preordered Volume 3 as a consequence. Not only is it lovely to see passages of great poetry and literature interpreted by some very interesting artists, but it's also inspired me to explore some of the original works in their full version, pronto.
Phil Overeem

If you have a curious, intelligent, talented relative, you might want to seriously consider either volume as a holiday present for her. And one of their finest effects is to send the reader hurrying to the original work. Volume 3 coming in 2013!
Stephen Houser
As with most anthologies, this volume is hit or miss. Some beautiful work, especially with the works of poetry. Some drawing styles are particularly well adapted to certain works, as in the "Walden" excerpt. Others are far too idiosyncratic.
amy boese
The art is extraordinary. The idea that someone might want to sit down and read every story in the 11th grade 'literature' anthology back to back is ridiculous. Nice coffee table book, but not the epic read everyone had me believe it to be.
I liked this volume less than the first. I wasn't as drawn in by the selections this time around and I ended up skimming the volume more than actually reading it. I still plan to check out volume 3, but hopes are not high.
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Editor of the website The Memory Hole which publishes and archives hidden US government documents, including scientific studies and reports, civil rights-related reports, intelligence and covert action reports.

He is also editor-at-large for The Disinformation Company, where he has published several books including The Book of Lists and 50 Things You're Not Supposed to Know.
More about Russ Kick...

Other Books in the Series

The Graphic Canon (3 books)
  • From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons (The Graphic Canon #1)
  • From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest (The Graphic Canon #3)

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