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OCTOBER2002
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THE CLASSICS COME TO COMICS: WE KNOW YOU READ THESE INSTEAD OF THE REAL THING

From 1941 to 1971, the well-loved yet controversial Classics Illustrated series brought abridged, comics-style versions of literary masterpieces such as Homer's Odyssey, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Goethe's Faust, and Victor Hugo's Les Miserables to children and adults worldwide. Through his series, Classics Illustrated founder Albert Kanter, a Russian Jewish immigrant, introduced millions of Americans to the works of dozens of "classical" authors. The series' abridged comic-book style brought criticism from purists, which in turn was countered by those who felt that the successful introduction of serious books to a popular audience was more important than the style or technique of the introduction. Others praised the work of the many illustrators who contributed to the series.

Mr. Jones's volume describes popular reaction to the series and the issues that it raised, emphasizing the cultural context of the times. As a reference work it includes a list of the contents of each issue, information about the careers and contributions of each of the illustrators, and a generous sampling (totaling more than 200 illustrations) of each of their works.

photo of Classics Illustratedphoto of author

//www.loc.gov/locvideo/classics/.

A. Credit: Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History with Illustrations, William B. Jones Jr., 2002. McFarland & Company.

B. Credit: Author William B. Jones Jr. with issues of Classics Illustrated comic books, 2002. Publicity photo.

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