The Diary of a Madman
New York: Summer Garden Editions, 1998. Mikhail Magaril. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Number XXX of 100 copies, large octavo size, 49 pp., signed by Mikhail Magaril. Fine. Item #CNJL1288
Mikhail Magaril (b. 1950) came to the United States from Russia where he had earned a Master's Degree from the Moscow Graphic Art School; today, he is a highly regarded illustrator, artist, and sculptor with his works in collections such as Yale and Princeton. Magaril "draws extensively on the visual culture of the Soviet avant-garde book illustration, where meaningful arrangements of the image and typography underscore daring linguistic experiments of poets and writers" (n.b., from the artist's web site).
"The Diary of a Madman" is a short story written in first-person diary-entry format by Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), whose work lends itself so well to the artistic treatment by Magaril. The story follows the life of a titular counselor during the corrupt and repressive reign of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia; the descent of the protagonist Arksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin coincides with poor treatment by his superiors and the unrecognized love of a woman engaged to another man. Eventually Poprishchin loses touch with reality, believing himself to be the heir to the throne of Spain. The story begs the question: is going mad the sane response to a mad world? The nine illustrations are composed of tortuous lines, with an abstract and almost frantic quality that builds on the world of the narrator.
Illustrated, designed, printed, and bound under the direction of Mikhail Magaril and published under his own imprint, Summer Garden Editions.
___DESCRIPTION: Original coptic bound tan linen covered boards with an illustration by the artist stamped in brown to the upper board, fore-edge uncut, title-page printed in black and brown, nine drypoint plates including frontis, hand-lettering and sketches by the artist throughout; Monotype Van Dijck type, Rives BFK paper, large octavo (10" by 6 5/8"), pagination: [i-vi] 1-49 [1 colophon], limited edition of 100 copies, this number XXX, signed by the artist. Housed in a wood and leather fall-down-back box with a pull-tab, designed to look like a leather journal that has been repeatedly scratched, paper label to the upper board and backstrip, lined in brown paper hand lettered by the artist.
___CONDITION: Fine, like new, in a fine case.
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