Graphic Witness: visual arts & social commentary
[select title to read
16 pages from Vertigo]
final page from Vertigoa Novel in Woodcuts
by Lynd Ward

Random House
All Lynd Ward's work, including images on this page, is copyright © Lynd Ward.
Anyone seeking permission to reproduce it must first get permission from Robin Ward Savage

Enter the book by selecting the title [above]. Each subsequent image of the detailed wood engravings from Vertigo is reached by selecting the current image on your screen. The last image [reproduced above], which is also the last image in the book, returns you to this page.

Lynd Ward authored a number of "novels in woodcuts," each page containing a single illustration that drives the story without the use of additional text or captions. Vertigo (Random House, 1937) tells how the dreams of two of the protagonists, a Girl and a Boy, are shattered by the Great Depression. With the inclusion of an Elderly Gentleman as the third main character, Ward explicates the underlying economic forces that figuratively take the blood of the poor (literally, in this tale) in order to preserve the lives of the rich.

The story of Vertigo is told in three parts, one for each of its three main characters: The Girl, The Elderly Gentleman, and The Boy. Each section is drawn from the perspective of its title character, including chapter-like headings that indicate the passage of time. In the section sampled here, The Girl, the seven chapters are years: 1929-1935. The Elderly Gentleman portion of the story is divided into 12 months, January through December. The final section, The Boy, takes the action day by day for a week, beginning on a Monday. These so-called chapters can be one image (one page) long, or run for many pages (images).

The annotation provided below each image fills in the visual blanks that are unavoidable, unless each page in the book were to be included, a highly desireable but impractical notion. In its entirety, no words are necessary, as can be seen from the last four pages of part 1 [The Girl], consecutive both here and in the original.
Please note: All images in Graphic Witness are for personal enjoyment or educational use. Any other use is prohibited.

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