Squeezing classic literature into one cartoon

Abridged Classics, vol. 1
Tackle a chunk of the Western canon in one glance with this literary cheat sheet.
Courtesy of John Atkinson via Creative Commons

Never read "Moby-Dick"?

No problem — cartoonist John Atkinson has you covered.

His one-panel summaries of classic lit are the perfect solution for those who consider even CliffsNotes to be lengthy reading.

Atkinson's tongue-in-cheek nano-synopsis squeezes Herman Melville's nautical classic down into just five words:

"Man vs. whale. Whale wins."

Abridged Classics, vol. 2
John Atkinson actually read the books before he squeezed them into his cartoons.
Courtesy of John Atkinson via Creative Commons

For the record, Atkinson wrote in an email, he has read all the books he summarizes in these cartoons. But now you don't have to.

He's completed two panels so far — covering pretty much everything you read in high school — and has another one planned.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.