Notes: Lynd Ward's second wordless novel; this being one of 309 copies printed from the original wood blocks (essentially, this is a bound volume of 128 original wood engravings by Lynd Ward). Like Ward's other proto-graphic novels, he explores social-realist themes here, incorporating that with tropes from 19th century horror novels. The story begins with a white slave trader killing an African in order to steal his drum. The enslaver returns home to great prosperity, but gradually the curse of the drum takes hold and the characters become dissolute, die, are hanged, and are forced into prostitution. One even becomes a writer (the horror!).
The story is anachronistic, seemingly set during the slave trading era, but with Communists and large telescope observatories.
132 leaves, including two blanks (260 printed pages, with all the wood engravings printed on only the front (recto) of the sheets.
Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A very near fine copy in a worn and split slipcase. This is copy 209 of 309 printed from the original blocks and signed by Ward.
Publication: New York: Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1930.
Item No: #108836