On William Stieg
September 1, 2011 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Roz Chast is pretty great in her own right.

Steig or Stieg?
posted by John Cohen at 10:42 AM on September 1, 2011

William Steig is fantastic! I haven't had a chance to read the full article yet, but our kids absolutely love his work. The Amazing Bone and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble are just wonderful, wonderful stories.
posted by mosk at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2011

the mincemeat those movies made of his Shrek! book is just ....ugh
posted by The Whelk at 10:53 AM on September 1, 2011

Steig, definitely.

I can see how Roz Chast would focus on him as an illustrative artist, but he was much of a wordsmith, too. And he resisted any and all attempts to dumb down his dialogue/vocabulary for children.

And, I will never forgive the makers of the Shrek movies from failing to include the priceless line--

"Pheasant, Peasant? What a pleasant present!"
posted by emhutchinson at 11:16 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't know much about Steig, but Chast his awesome. I think I have all her cartoon collections.
posted by DU at 11:34 AM on September 1, 2011

Chast his awesome. Indeed.
posted by DU at 11:35 AM on September 1, 2011

Steig is awesome, too. I loved Sylvester and the Magic Pebble when I was younger, as well as Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto.

Roz Chast writing about William Steig is kind of like the Green Lantern writing about Spider-Man.
posted by Madamina at 11:39 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chast mentions that he was a Reichian but says little about what that means besides an interest in psychology. Reich was not your standard psychiatrist. I suppose Seig was not your standard cartoonist either.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:40 AM on September 1, 2011

Roz is the sh*t!

(I mean that in the best possible way.)
posted by newdaddy at 12:08 PM on September 1, 2011

quentin blake seems to owe something to william steig as well. god damn, steig's lines are good, so expressive.
posted by beefetish at 12:48 PM on September 1, 2011

Great post, great article.

Steig was a Reichian!

Steig, who was a follower of Wilhelm Reich, was deeply interested in psychology.

Reich's due for a bit of a revival, I think-- especially those Orgone Energy boxes.

Chast is my favorite cartoonist. I don't recall any naming of names in her satiric work, but what an amazing thing it would be to be Chast-ized.
posted by jamjam at 1:20 PM on September 1, 2011

I have fond memories of sneaking into my brother's room at least once a year to re-read Dominic. Haven't read it for about two decades, though. I see the name "William Steig" and warm fuzzy contentment suffuses me, but I can't recall anything much about the plot except that it features Dominic, the dog carrying his stuff in a hobo stick-with-bag, on his journey to see the world. I think I'll go refresh my memory and warm fuzzies at the library tomorrow.

Oh hey I did not know that there's a name for the hobo stick-with-bag: bindle.

Thanks for the post.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:53 PM on September 1, 2011

quentin blake seems to owe something to william steig as well.

I think Quentin Blake is more in the tradition of Edward Ardizzone and Ronald Searle, but I'm sure there was cross pollination going on between the two sides of the Atlantic.

Steig was amazing. I only became aware of him when I came across his picture books when looking for books to read to my kids, and then I worked back through his career in the New Yorker… all the way to 1930.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:04 PM on September 1, 2011

I loved this book as a kid. Illustrations by William. I guess they were brothers. Very witty–at least to a kid who who played penny ante poker.
posted by cogneuro at 7:07 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Huge fan of Raz Chast, for ages. No surprise she's a wonderful, thoughtful and insightful writer too. Love her article. Made me see Stieg with deeper enjoyment.

Thanks so much, Cloud King, for posting this link here.
posted by nickyskye at 7:12 PM on September 1, 2011

One of my favorites writing about another-- what a treat! Steig is amazing, as much deserving of a museum exhibition as Maurice Sendak. My childhood is woven with his New Yorker cartoons and kids' books-- in addition to those already mentioned I'll add CDB!, CDC?, The Real Thief, and Roland the Minstrel Pig; my son had a brief fling with Pete's a Pizza. His work reveals such profound joys in the simplest pleasures.
posted by underthehat at 7:43 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

*Roz Chast and Steig. argh.
posted by nickyskye at 7:44 PM on September 1, 2011

nice; thanks for posting this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:10 PM on September 1, 2011

William Steig is just wonderful. I wish this piece had been longer. As a visual artist, she did point out some of the visual aspects of his work I hadn't considered, but as a writer that man was unparalleled (at least in the world of children's literature). The Magic Pebble is fantastic and even something as simple as Pete's a Pizza, which is just the story of a dad cheering up his grumpy kid on a rainy day, is so damned magical but Abel's Island just blew me out of the fucking water. It is so beautiful and perfectly written. Nothing much happens in it: A mouse is washed away in a rainstorm and gets stuck on an island, but the language and rhythm - I don't even have the words for how wonderful it is. He was brilliant.
posted by serazin at 8:44 PM on September 2, 2011

What my husband saw.
posted by serazin at 8:46 PM on September 2, 2011

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