The Daily Heller: Once a Great Series, Now a Great Artifact

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In 1952 Diogenes Verlag was founded by Swiss publisher Daniel Keel. As for why he based the name on the philosopher Diogenes, "I found Diogenes especially appealing because he battled against every sort of convention not just theoretically, but also in his lifestyle. And what really pleases me: He left no written record whatsoever, and yet his spirit lives on." Diogenes Verlag produced many now-rare books whose spirits collectively live on for me.

The first book published by Diogenes was U.K. illustrator/author Ronald Searle's Hurrah for St. Trinian's! In 1960 Keel moved the business to an office. Two years later, he began publishing British author Muriel Spark, and then the first Americans: Carson McCullers, Harold Brodkey and Patricia Highsmith, all virtually unknown in German-speaking countries. Keel died in 2011 and his son Philippe succeeded him in April 2012.

Although the elder Keel's focus was literature—contemporary authors in several languages, as well as classics—I particularly remember him for his catalog of art and cartoons, as well as illustrated children's literature. Diogenes' series were great references, and they also published portfolios by some of the same artists.

The books below are part of Diogenes' ongoing series of stunning (and rare) visuals from the world's most renowned satirists, illustrators and graphic commentators. In European fashion, these consistent series, while conforming to a style, showed off Diogenes' trademark diversity.