Item #140945370 Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs). Helge Ilson Iwerstain, Helge I:son Ivverstain.
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)
Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)

Venom from an Angry Heart & Swedish Thougths (sic) and Sentiments (Outsider artist's handwritten illustrated memoirs)

Stockholm: [No Publisher], 1911.

Two 9.5" x 11.75" notebooks, apparently fragments of a larger autobiographical project or series of projects, with holograph entries and illustrations, some materials pasted on from magazines, sheet music, and newspapers. Titles handwritten in ink on front covers. Over five hundred pages of manuscript and illustrations, total. Near Fine.

The first volume, titled simply Venom on the front board is a dark, obsessive meditation on American arrogance and prejudice towards Swedes and other Scandinavians. The author, a Swedish immigrant, opens with an eye-catching, skillful ink illustration of a hand holding a pistol (the ring on the hand bearing the author's initials). The text below reads "ANYBODY CONSIDERING IT HIS PRIVILEGE TO USE MY PERSON AS A MEANS FOR THROWING DIRT ON THE FLAG OF SWEDEN IS KINDLY INVITED TO SEE ME ABOUT IT, PERSONALLY. I AM FOR INDIVIDUAL "LIBERTY." - DON'T TREAD ON ME !"

We then read a fictional dialogue between Swedes about Americans, how Americans believe they are the smartest people on the earth, despite having no basis for saying so, and are unsympathetic to immigrants. The narrator (a clear stand-in for the author) mentions the kindness of everyday Americans but is fixated on the cruelness of their newspapers, especially newspaper cartoons like Yens Yensen by Roy W. Taylor, which ran from 1906 to 1912 in the Philadelphia North American and the New York World (Joseph Pulitzer's paper). Ethnic humor was perhaps the most popular form of comedy at the time; this particular strip poking fun at Scandinavians. Iwerstain was furious at this. He pastes in examples of Yens Yensen, as well as his own drawing of the strip (very faithful to the original) to demonstrate his artistic skills and therefore his mastery over the offending strip. The rest of this notebook is consumed with Iwerstain's livid account of his frustration and agony in America, with occasional ink illustration and collage. He rails against the society that broke up his marriage, revealing that after suffering the loss of a child he has left a family in America.

The second notebook is a much more prosaic look at Sweden in postcards, sheet music, and photos, all glued to the pages of the notebook, with a long series of letters to a lady, a "Miss Adeline Bailhache."On section is titled "Boys of Sweden," with original photos (dated 1911) of a Swedish military marching band. Iwerstain's handwritten text is in this volume is more philosophical and less fevered, even though there is an underlying confessional quality and a mania to it throughout.

Who was this gifted, tormented author? We could find only one reference to him, in the Weekly Times-Advocate of Escondido, California, September 5, 1913, "Supposed Suicide Found Safe and Sound Asleep." Apparently Iwerstain went back to America despite his bad experience years earlier. He gave a friend a note to be opened in the event of his death, which friends took to mean he was going to kill himself. The article ends on this note, "Yesterday Iwerstain denied that he contemplated suicide. His friends declare he is very eccentric."

These two illustrated mixed-media notebooks are undoubtedly the work of an "eccentric," a singular, restless, disturbed mind with a keen artistic sensibility. They can be read as diaries of the immigrant experience in the USA in the early 20th century, as confessional memoirs, as testaments against ethnic prejudice, and (looked at as a whole) as works of what we today would call Outsider art or literature. Iwerstain was certainly an outsider in his day, or at least so he felt in America. In these notebooks he created something truly unique. Item #140945370

Price: $5,500.00