Originally published in November 1939, two months after World War II officially began, James Thurber’s The Last Flower: A Parable in Pictures is a graphic novel ahead of its day. Inspired in particular by the Spanish Civil War and the Nazi and Soviet invasion of Poland, it chronicles the eternal cycles of war, peace, love, and the resilience of one little flower and remains as relevant today as it was then. The text has been translated into dozens of languages worldwide, among them a French translation by Albert Camus and published by Gallimard in 1952. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Thurber was not only a cartoonist but also an author, humorist, journalist, playwright, and celebrated wit who joined the staff of the New Yorker in 1927 where he remained for most of his career.
Reissued by the University of Iowa Press in 2007, the first edition and later edition are temporarily available online to the UC community through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access service until the UC libraries fully reopen this fall. You can learn more about The Last Flower at the Columbus Public Library’s Art Unbound II exhibition installed in its Carnegie Gallery.