Thursday, May 20, 2010

Literary Luminaries

An interesting representation of Sylvia Plath can be found among a collection of famous author caricatures which are for sale at the graphic design company Literary Luminaries, Inc. Their website describes the project as follows:
Luminary Graphics, Inc., is a graphic arts product company that features the caricature art of Mike Caplanis of the world's most famous authors, applied to a variety of products. These products include note cards (in singles and boxed sets), bookmarks, coffee mugs, umbrellas and book bags.
Caplanis creates caricatures of English and American authors spanning the centuries, from Charles Dickens to Louisa May Alcott to, yes, Sylvia Plath. His representation of her can be purchased in the form of a note card (either Plath separately or a Plath card in addition to cards featuring a collection of other writers), a bookmark, an umbrella, a book bag, or a mug. The site also offers posters, journals, magnets, and playing cards which are not available in Plath's image.

In creating Plath's caricature, Caplanis has not only captured her beautiful, flourishing side: although Plath appears calm, her eyes seem a bit more fiery, as though she could explode at any moment into some sort of artistic or personal frenzy. This gives representation to her personality as well as her writing.

It is interesting that Caplanis has been able to use classic authors and market them in such a way as to make the products they are featured upon seem unique and almost trendy. He groups authors either singly (such as on an individual bookmark) or in a group (as in this umbrella, which features, clockwise from the top: Zora Neale Hurston, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Louisa May Alcott, and Virginia Woolf). To be frank, Caplanis has made famous writers fashionable. While Plath may not need as much of a boost as some other authors, since she commonly garners a great deal of attention anyway, the Literary Luminaries project seems relevant to literature today.

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