For their first book, Visual Editions tackled one of literature’s most ambitious novels: Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. It’s also one that, fittingly, is ripe for a visual reimagining…
“At our last count, there have been more than 120 different editions of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. If we’re counting right, ours is the 123rd,” say Visual Editions.
“Of the many editions, our contemporary favourites – after this one – are American artist John Baldessari’s 1988 edition (which came out in a severe 400 copy edition) and Martin Rowson’s 1997 illustrated version [a new edition of which was published earlier this year by Self Made Hero]. We also like British film-maker Michael Winterbottom’s irreverent 2005 film all about Shandy’s unfilmableness: A Cock and Bull Story.
“The visual elements in this edition highlight and exaggerate what Laurence Sterne intended when he first wrote Shandy,” they explain. “We like to think that the designers at A Practice for Everyday Life (APFEL) put Laurence Sterne’s jacket on and went for a little walk with it.”
Visual Editions are also set to release Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, a die-cut reinterpretation of the text of Bruno Schulz’s book, The Street of Crocodiles, later this year.
VE will be profiled in the December issue of CR.