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Literary criminals, caught on paper

Posted by Christopher Shea  November 20, 2009 01:25 PM

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The Believer asked the "forensic artist" Barbara Anderson to sketch eight literary criminals, working from descriptive details offered by their creators. In real criminal cases, observes The Believer's Joshua Cohen, it is amazing that sketch artists like Anderson "work from so little information": a few half-remembered glimpses from one shaken witness, perhaps. Likewise, novelists can be stinting with the details: "just a hint here, a shade there."

From such hints, Anderson drew up sketches of such notorious rogues as Dickens' Fagin, Dostoevsky's Raskolnikov, and Nabokov's Humbert Humbert, and also a few lesser-known bad guys, including Judge Holden, a rapist and murderer in Cormac McCarthy's Gothic-Faulknerian Western "Blood Meridian."

Raskolnikov: "He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair … his face was pale and distorted."


Cormac McCarthy's Judge Holden: "… bald as a stone and he had no trace of beard and he had no brows to his eyes nor lashes to them … His face was serene and strangely childlike."

(Illustrations: Barbara Anderson)

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1 comments so far...
  1. Raskolnikov is supposed to be somewhere around 24 years old.

    Posted by Rhody November 24, 09 10:22 AM
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