I love these black ink drawings by Leonard Baskin gracing the white or cream cover of the first paperback editions of Buber’s Tales of the Hasidim: Early Masters and Tales of the Hasidim: Later Masters. Perfectly handsome volumes, they tells us a little something about the American reception history of Buber and Jewish philosophy. This is what Judaism was supposed to look like, the mystical tradition. I used to think the images were cloying, but I think I understand better now that Baskin knew what he was doing. The ink is brutal and delicate. The figures are very modern, very savage, a little Chinese. The red typeface is ultra crisp. The lips and the teeth frame the open mouth of a deep abyss. Published in paper in 1961, the books cost $1.65 each.