I submit to you, dear patient reader, the first two pages of a partial comic adaptation of Jakob von Gunten, the full series of which will appear in the upcoming issue of the online literary magazine, Narwhal.
Jakob von Gunten, the titular character of Robert Walser’s early modernist novel, is a young aristocrat who runs away from home to enroll in a school for servants. His impish and masochistic antics, to a contemporary reader, seem subtly and, yet palpably, sexual, yet few reviewers make much of this aspect, focusing instead on Jakob as a prankster and a free spirit, who makes a mockery of power and subordination rather than truly falling in love with it.
My “Lessons” 1 through 10, along with an expanded commentary, will be available when the new issue of Narwhal Magazine is online. In the meantime…
Your homework, dear reader, is to create a comic adaptation, in whole or in part, of a text. Or, as always, submit anything on this text in particular.
I submit to you, my dear reader, a visualization (click to enlarge) of the structure of Roberto Bolaño’s novel, The Savage Detectives. This is an autobiographical novel, framed by a coming-of-age story of sex, poetry and violence. But it is a biography whose subjects–a pair of dadaist poets–are always disappearing.
To you, dear reader, I submit a painting–my first since high school art class–inspired by the poem, “The Unicorn” by Billeh Nickerson. But, as is always the case, the translation, through both error and intention, has resulted in something quite distinct from the original.
I submit to you, dear reader, a painting by Lucien Durey, whose explanatory note, submitted long ago to an art school English class, is now lost. But looking at the painting now in my home, I imagine it may have claimed that in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Blanche DuBois, fluttery and dressed in white gowns, is likened to a moth—not only in that she is a moth to Stanley’s flame, but also in her fragility. A moth is so delicate that even a single fingerprint on its wing can be devastating. The moth of the painting, on a sticky red substance whose grain seems to echo the loops and whorls of a fingerprint, navigates no less precariously than the moth that approaches the flame. No less precariously than Blanche circles her own desire, shame, and self-destruction.
Your task, dear reader, is to illustrate one of the qualities of a particular character from any text. Provide a short explanatory note if necessary.
For an alternative assignment, as always submit anything else on this book in particular.
I submit to you, dear reader, a crude pencil drawing, with some digital enhancements, of the climactic scene of Beatrice & Virgil. Avert your gaze, or even click away if need be. And if the image seems ridiculous, it’s working.