Book Review: Gobolinks

Gobolinks, or, Shadow-Pictures
for Young and Old
by Ruth McEnery Stuart and Albert Bigelow Paine
The Century Co., New York, 1896

I was reading about the origins of the Rorschach test, and the article referenced this book. Naturally I had to read it. Now, Gobolinks isn’t about art, or watercolors, or the 18th century, but it is so unique that I really wanted to share it with you.

It’s a book of poetry for children, and as Victorian children’s books go, it’s excellent. So much of late Victorian literature is dull or moralizing, but this book doesn’t suffer from any such thing.

Each poem is illustrated by an inkblot. There are instructions on how to make your own Gobolinks, and another page on how turn inkblot interpretation into a Victorian party game.

If seances and tarot cards aren’t your thing, bring out this book at your next 1890s tea party. I snapped photos of a few favorites, but there were too many to choose from:

I’m glad to see this book was recently reprinted. Hopefully it’s a quality reproduction. These photos are taken from the first edition, loaned to me from Kent State.

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