The Sorrows of Young Abraham Lincoln

Reading between the lines.
Nov. 2 2012 11:00 PM

The Sorrows of Young Lincoln

A debut graphic novel explores the 16th president’s depressive early years as a lawyer in Springfield, Ill.

Page from The Hypo
An image from The Hypo

Illustration by Noah Van Sciver.

Springfield, Ill., 1837. Young Abraham Lincoln arrives to practice law after a successful term in the state legislature. Bedeviled by social and financial hardship, engaged to a woman he’s sure he does not love, alone in a bleak law office during a harsh Midwestern winter, Lincoln experiences a deep depression—which he calls “The Hypo”—that threatens his sanity and his future.

Dan Kois Dan Kois

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

Noah Van Sciver is a Denver cartoonist whose comic book, Blammo, was nominated for an Ignatz award. In his first graphic novel, The Hypo, Van Sciver’s dense, detailed pen-and-ink drawings offer a vivid portrait of a little-explored part of Lincoln’s past. His Lincoln is a thoughtful misfit, a young man gripped by despair who has no idea he will one day become one of our greatest leaders.


We’re very pleased to feature Noah Van Sciver as the Slate Book Review illustrator for our November issue.


The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln by Noah Van Sciver. Fantagraphics Books.

The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln

~ Noah Van Sciver (author) More about this product
List Price: $24.99
Price: $16.49
You Save: $8.50 (34%)


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.