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Alphabet Books for Adults

Authors have used the alphabet as a structure for their writings. The books shown here are satires, using this simple structure to give unity to the wit of the text.

William Hone, 1780-1842.

The Political Alphabet, with notes and illustrations; embellished by thirty-one engravings from designs by George Cruikshank. London: Published for William Carpenter [1831].

A satire in verse on the parliamentary reforms introduced during the reign of King William IV. Though best known for his illustrations of the works of Charles Dickens, Cruikshank worked with William Hone on a series of pamphlets attacking the King and the House of Lords.

Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953.

A Moral Alphabet. With the original pictures by B. T. B. and Nicolas Bentley. New York: Knopf, 1951.

Hilaire Belloc was a prolific writer of criticism, history, biography and poetry. In A Moral Alphabet, he satirizes political figures and the society of his time.

Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970.

The Good Citizen's Alphabet. Drawings by Franciszka Themerson. London: Gaberbocchus Press, 1953.

Bertrand Russell, a multitalented philosopher, historian and mathematician, was also a prominent anti-war activist. This satiric alphabet book juxtaposes the simplicity of its whimsical design with the subversive bite of the text.

Edward Gorey, 1925-2000.

The Gashlycrumb Tinies. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1963.

Edward Gorey subverts the idea of children's alphabet books with rhymes of death and destruction. For each letter a child dies in a macabre fashion.





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01/25/10

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