Wikipedia:Today's featured article/January 1, 2017

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Madman's Drum is a 1930 wordless novel by American artist Lynd Ward (1905–1985). Its 118 images tell the story of a slave trader who steals a demon-faced drum from an African he murders, and of the consequences for him and his family. The book was executed in wood engravings. It is the second of Ward's six wordless novels, after Gods' Man of 1929. Ward was more ambitious with this second work in the medium: the characters are more nuanced, the plot more developed and complicated, and his outrage at social injustice more explicit. He used a finer degree of detail in the artwork, through a wider variety of carving tools, and was expressive in his use of symbolism and exaggerated emotional facial expressions. The success of Ward's first two wordless novels encouraged publishers to issue more books in the genre. In 1943 psychologist Henry Murray used two images from the work in his Thematic Apperception Test of personality traits. Madman's Drum is considered less successfully executed than Gods' Man, and Ward streamlined his work in his next wordless novel, Wild Pilgrimage (1932). (Full article...)

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