Journal of Modern Literature
Lynd Ward’s “novels in woodcuts” — long-form narratives Ward pioneered in America between 1929 and 1937 and composed entirely in the medium of sequential wood engravings — have been widely neglected in both art historical and literary critical scholarship despite engaging crucial questions in American modernism and anticipating the contemporary rise of graphic narrative. Ward’s oeuvre here is viewed through his sustained ambivalence toward the commercialization of the arts, both in his texts and his work as a publisher. His critical erasure is as much a function of modernist scholarship’s continued irresolution toward the relationship between high art and popular culture as it is of the singularly hybrid status of his texts. Seen through the lens of comics studies, author/artists like Ward reside in a place at the intersection of literature and the fine arts, allowing us to reimagine many of the critical commonplaces of modernist scholarship.
Ball, David M. "Lynd Ward’s Modernist “Novels in Woodcuts”: Graphic Narratives Lost Between Art History and Literature." Journal of Modern Literature 39, no. 2 (2016): 126-143. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/614026