It Can't Happen Here

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
Binding by Minsky, 2018
Alum tawed goatskin, gold, panel of 8-point type, acrylic paint, artist's blood on Vermont Vigilance.
First Edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company. Garden City, New York, 1935.
8⅛" x 5¾" x 1⅞"

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote It Can't Happen Here, a novel about freedom of the press in the USA under a totalitarian despot who is elected President by acting like a populist buffoon. All laws were made to benefit corporations.

The protagonist is a Vermont newspaper editor. The government puts a supervisor in the office to make sure only their version of the news is printed. To combat this, the editor joins the New Underground Resistance, steals an old hand printing press and 8-point type, a pocketful at a time, to print Vermont Vigilance, a weekly pamphlet. This bookwork represents
what happens when the location of the press is discovered. The floor is covered in copies of the pamphlet, pied type, ink and blood.

I used some of my own blood, which is spattered on the spine and cover, and matched the color of the fresh blood with acrylic paint for most of the panel. The blood has, of course, turned brownish over time, so the acrylic maintains the illusion of immediacy. The photos above and just below were taken the day the book was completed. The last photo of the book in its box is several months later, and shows the browning of the blood.

Box for this book.

Box, interior.

Different lighting changes the appearance as the type reflects at many angles.

It Can't Happen Here, First Edition, 1935
2018 Minsky binding of alum-tawed goatskin, artist's blood, acrylic paint, lead type, Vermont Vigilance,
in a drop-back box with copies No. 1 of  the Newsprint and Superfine editions of Vermont Vigilance.


See another copy of It Can't Happen Here in a Minsky binding of alum-tawed goatskin,
and one in black calf