The Zankiwank and the Bletherwitch – Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
The Zankiwank and the Bletherwitch is a true classic of Children’s literature; an imaginative foray into unchartered territories, situations and characters. It was written in 1896 by S. J. Adair Fitzgerald, and has remained a popular, though little understood book ever since. On its initial publication, Adair’s text received a lukewarm critical reception (in a very similar manner to Lewis Carroll’s literary-nonsense works), with the ‘Zankiwank and his company touching too close to the sense of the riciculous’ as reported in the Spectator. Since then however, The Zankiwank and the Bletherwitch has been re-instated and re-appraised as a delightful children’s book.
The work is accompanied throughout by a series of dazzling colour and black and white illustrations – by a master of the craft; Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). One of the most celebrated painters of the British Golden Age of Illustration (which encompassed the years from 1850 until the start of the First World War), Rackham’s artistry is quite simply, unparalleled. Throughout his career, he developed a unique style, combining haunting humour with dream-like romance. Presented alongside the text, his illustrations further refine and elucidate Fitzgerald’s captivating storytelling.