Wednesday, February 29, 2012


ABOUT A WEEK BEFORE news broke that a new James Joyce picture book was to be published, I discovered (through this site) that my usually exhaustive research had somehow missed an English-language edition of James Joyce's only other picture book, The Cat and the Devil: the first UK edition, published by Faber and Faber in 1965, and illustrated by Gerald Rose.

Gerald Rose shot through the ranks of British children's illustrators when he won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal with his third picture book, Old Winkle and the Seagulls (1960), so it is no surprise that he was handed the honor of illustrating Joyce's book five years later.

The book alternates between lush four-color paintings (which bring Maira Kalman's work to mind), and kinetic black and white line drawings.

Despite the appeal of Rose's bold colors, it is in his black and white illustrations that the book really feels in sync with Joyce's text. The visual jokes and the almost sketchy line work match Joyce's storytelling and the spirit in which the story was originally written.

I will always prefer the Richard Erdoes edition, which is more consistent in its composition, but it is hard to resist Rose's portrayal of Joyce as the devil (an idea suggested by Joyce himself in his postscript).

And this cat. Of all the editions, this is the best cat.

For more of the actual story The Cat and the Devil, refer back to my very first blog post, linked up above and again right here.

(In the interim between my finding out about this edition and getting my hands on it, one of my readers, Simon Sterg over at Yahoo! 360, also alerted me of my oversight.)

All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.


  1. Great to see the pages from Rose's book! It's interesting how the publisher's constraint of one colour spread, one black and white spread has brought about such great results from Rose and other illustrators (John Burningham, David McKee in the Mr Benn books...).

  2. I really like Gerald Rose's illustrations, he is one of my favorite illustrators.