Thursday 19 November 2009


In January I posted about the first three Four Corners Familiars--classic books illustrated and redesigned by contemporary artists (but, importantly, with the texts unchanged), such as The Picture of Dorian Gray in the format of a 1970s men's fashion magazine, or an edition of Dracula which mimics the look of the first edition, but with new, disquieting illustrations and careful, inventive typography.

Just last night I bought my copy of the newest in this series, Nau Sea Sea Sick, a collection of short stories about the sea. The artist behind this one is Kay Rosen, whose area of interest is text and language.

As you can see, the cover makes the book look as though it's made of wood, though the pattern is actually meticulously hand-drawn.The internal design is unusual: the text is printed only on one side of each signature, which remains uncut. Like this:

Rosen's own text artwork adorns the stories--words from the text drawn backwards and forwards over the page from one another.


As for what the art means, well, I have no idea. But I like the effect. Nau Sea Sea Sick is a very pleasing object, as well as containing a number of ace stories (such as Stephen Crane, Katherine Mansfield, John Moore, and non-fiction from Isabella Bird, plus more) which is the whole point of this series.

Next up from Four Corners Familiars are a collection of stories by Jane Bowles and Denton Welch, with art from Colter Jacobsen, and then Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda, with art by Mireille Fauchon, which I'm particularly looking forward to.

(Click all pictures for much larger versions.)

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