What We See When We Read

Author(s): Peter Mendelsund

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A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading—how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of our very best book jacket designers, himself a passionate reader.

What do we see when we read? Did Tolstoy really describe Anna Karenina? Did Melville ever really tell us what, exactly, Ishmael looked like? The collection of fragmented images on a page—a graceful ear there, a stray curl, a hat positioned just so—and other clues and signifiers helps us to create an image of a character. But in fact our sense that we know a character intimately has little to do with our ability to concretely picture our beloved—or reviled—literary figures. In this remarkable work of nonfiction, Knopf's Associate Art Director Peter Mendelsund combines his profession, as an award-winning designer; his first career, as a classically trained pianist; and his first love, literature—he considers himself first and foremost as a reader—into what is sure to be one of the most provocative and unusual investigations into how we understand the act of reading.


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Product Information

Peter Mendelsund is the associate art director of Alfred A. Knopf and a recovering classical pianist. His designs have been described by "The Wall Street Journal" as being "the most instantly recognizable and iconic book covers in contemporary fiction." He lives in New York.

General Fields

  • : 9780804171632
  • : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • : Bantam Books Inc
  • : 0.531
  • : June 2014
  • : 203mm X 135mm
  • : August 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Peter Mendelsund
  • : Paperback
  • : en
  • : 448
  • : black and white images throughout