The Cover of My Book on the NMTs
Oxford has sent me the initial version of the book cover. Here it is:
The painting, “The Red Stairway,” is by Ben Shahn, a Lithuanian-born American artist who painted between the 1920s and the 1950s. In 1942 and 1943, Shahn created propaganda posters for the Office of War Information (OWI); his poster about the destruction of Lidice is an absolute masterpiece. The OWI considered a number of his other posters to be insufficiently patriotic — i.e., too overtly left-wing — and refused to issue them. “The Red Stairway” itself was painted in 1944 to illustrate the futility of war. Here is Shahn’s own description of the painting, which I had on my wall when I was 12 (funny how stable one’s aesthetic tastes are!):
It showed a crippled man walking up an endless stair, and then when he came to the top of that stair he went down again. And the whole thing was in a ruin of rubble and burned-out buildings. To me this is both the hope of man and the fate of man, you know. It’s obvious almost, that he seems to recover from the most frightful wars, the most faithful plagues, and goes right on again when he knows full well that he’s going into another one; but that’s that eternal hope in the human being.
I hope readers like the cover. My only question is whether the “Oxford” belongs on the top or bottom (with everything moved up if it’s on the bottom). Any thoughts?