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A Visual Encyclopedia Of Literature

What if the color of a famous writer’s nose could tell you more than what a raging alcoholic they were?

A common stereotype about writers is that they’re always drunk. Let me tell you from a first-person position of authority that this isn’t true: sometimes, we’re merely hungover. Regardless, more than a few authors–Oscar Wilde, Kingsley Amis, Charles Bukowski, and Ernest Hemingway–have had alcohol-induced rosacea. So here’s a weird thought: What if the color of a writer’s nose could be used to discern more than just their alcoholism, but was color coded to their school of writing?

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That’s the idiosyncratic conceit of Literalogue, a new Kickstarter from U.K. designer John O’Sullivan that collates 100 literary greats into a series of postcards and prints. Sullivan calls it a “visual encyclopedia of literature, literary movements, and the greatest literary figures.” Each card or print features writers, backed by a cheat sheet of their greatest works, where and when they lived, the period when they were writing, similar authors, and the movement to which they belonged.


That’s where Literalogue’s central gimmick comes in. On the front of each print, there is a flattened portrait of each author, whose nose has been colored to reflect the movement in which he worked. So William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac both have green noses, because they were Beat Generation writers; Oscar Wilde’s nose is purple, marking him as an Aesthetic. It’s an odd little contrivance, sure, but I sort of love it, and the colored noses run the gamut from the Augustans and the Metaphysical Poets to Oulipo and Imagism.

Now on Kickstarter, the London-based designers of Literalogue are selling their designs as either a set of 100 postcards for $40, or a postcard plus six posters (with whatever noses you like) for $60. You can pre-order them for July delivery here.

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