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Jessica R. Feldman’s Saul Steinberg’s Literary Journeys

Saul Steinbergs Literary Journeys

Published by the University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, Virginia and London, in 2021, Jessica R. Feldman’s Saul Steinberg’s Literary Journeys, the first book-length study of Steinberg’s art and its relation to literature, explores his complex literary roots, particularly his fondness for modernist aesthetics and iconography. The Steinberg who emerges is an artist of far greater depth than has been previously recognized.

Feldman begins with Steinberg as a reader and writer, including surveying his personal library. She considers the practice of modernist parody as the strongest affinity between Steinberg and the two authors he repeatedly claimed as his “teachers”—Vladimir Nabokov and James Joyce. Viewing Steinberg’s art in tandem with readings of selected works by Nabokov and Joyce, Feldman illuminates the fascinating bonds between Steinberg and these writers, from their tastes for popular culture to their status as mythmakers, émigrés, and perpetual wanderers. Feldman also relates Steinberg’s uniquely literary art to a host of other authors, including Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Gogol, Tolstoy, and Defoe.

Generously illustrated with the artist’s work and drawing on invaluable archival material from The Saul Steinberg Foundation, this innovative fusion of literary history and art history allows us to see anew Steinberg’s iconic art.

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