Seymour Chwast: Mark Twain’s War Prayer (Fantagraphics) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, July 19th, 2024  

Mark Twain’s War Prayer


Seymour Chwast

Jun 27, 2024 Web Exclusive
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Legendary 92-year-old graphic and font designer Seymour Chwast takes a dazzling, multidisciplinary approach to Mark Twain’s 104-year-old prose poem in this slim but radical new book. Through drawing, pastel painting, type design, and computer color, Chwast breathes life into Twain’s savage rebuke of religion’s role in jingoism and violent patriotism.

Twain was famously unable to find a publisher for War Prayer during his lifetime but, over the last century, this short piece has found a special place in his body of work, remaining as sharp and relevant as ever. Chwast introduces the poem with an excerpt from Twain’s essay The Lowest Animal, highlighting man’s “indecency, vulgarity, obscenity,” and incredible cruelty. Then he launches into a bold reimagining of War Prayer with a series of startling modern images that expertly elevate and compliment Twain’s words.

Mark Twain’s War Prayer is a powerful reminder that the more things change the more they remain the same. But its existence alone is ultimately hopeful. Chwast’s fresh take on this classic is an artful work of protest that, after all these years, still helps hold religion and government accountable for the death and destruction they often create. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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