New York: Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1929 & 1930. First edition. Octavos [21 cm]; 1/4 black cloth over black and white illustrated boards. Both volumes Very Good, in professionally restored publisher's slipcase. Matted self-portrait in Near Fine condition. Item #63733
1930 Publisher's Gift Edition. Ward's first and second "wordless novels" sold in the Jonathan Cape slipcase illustrated with artwork from Mad Man's Drum. This set of the first printings was issued with a signed self-portrait of Lynd Ward. The set and print were likely made as a promotional piece and gifted to friends of the publisher and artist. The self-portrait was limited to 100 copies, as printed and noted only on the tissue guard accompanying the signed woodblock self-portrait. Scarce.
Ward wrote of the works "I had earlier believed that every block should be conceived in the simplest terms possible, then cut with an absolute minimum of tool work. I had worked on the premise that every image should be developed only as far as was necessary to produce a comprehensible statement for that particular point in the visual sequence. Now, with those earlier miles behind me, it seemed reasonable to take a different approach to the actual cutting the blocks. In God's Man, except for the use of round and flat gravers to remove the white areas, all the rendering of figures and landscapes had been done with a single line tool. I Madman's Drum, by contrast, I sought to develop a wider range of tool work and utilized small round gravers to break up a large dark area with small jabs of the tool, thus achieving a variety both of tonal effect and textural quality. At the same time, I put more emphasis on decorative patterns in such things as dress material and the walls of interiors, which I hoped would not only result in richer and more varied impact from block to block but also help the reader identify recurring characters and backgrounds more readily as the story developed."