“Love Stories”, cover art by Joost Swarte, June 9 & 16, 2014.

The New Yorker: “Love Stories”, cover art by Joost Swarte, June 9 & 16, 2014. © Condé Nast.

“Love Stories” illustrates the theme for The New Yorker’s 2014 Summer Fiction issue.

Joost Swarte is a Dutch illustrator, graphic designer and cartoonist. This is not the first cover he draws for The New Yorker: Condé Nast lists two more covers from 2007.

Joost Swarte official website is Flash based, and sometimes a challenge to navigate. Joost Swarte Blog is being regularly updated at the time of writing (it is mostly in Dutch). Also in Dutch is Griffioen Grafiek website which offers a great selection of items by Joost Swarte, all properly identified. Finally, to learn more about him and his work, The Comic Journal has an interesting, in-depth interview from November 2012: “The Joost Swarte Interview” by Daniel Peniston and Kim Thompson.

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The theme of Joost Swart cover art for The New Yorker suggests both the intensity of summer loves and the passion for literature. As I stumbled upon this illustration, I was reminded recently of the torrid correspondence between Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin, and more specifically of a letter by Miller dated from August 14, 1932. Here’s a short excerpt:

Anais, I only thought I loved you before; it was nothing like this certainty that’s in me now. Was all this so wonderful only because it was brief and stolen? Were we acting for each other, to each other? Was I less I, or more I, and you less or more you? Is it madness to believe that this could go on? When and where would the drab moments begin? I study you so much to discover the possible flaws, the weak points, the danger zones. I don’t find them—not any. That means I am in love, blind, blind. To be blind forever!

The letter is reproduced in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller, 1932-1953 (ed. and introduced by Gunther Stuhlmann, New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, [1987] 1989, pp. 96ff). One can read the whole letter at Letters of Note. A French translation is also available at Des Lettres.

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