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The Victorian Illustrated Book [Hardcover]

Richard Maxwell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 27 2002 Victorian Literature & Culture
Throughout the 19th century, but most intensely in the reign of Queen Victoria, England and Scotland produced an unprecedented range of extraordinary illustrated books. Images in books became a central feature of Victorian culture. They were at once prestigious and popular - a kind of entertainment - but equally a place for pondering fundamental questions about history, geography, language, time, commerce, design and vision itself. Concentrating on the use of illustration in literature - especially novels, poems and children's books - the essays collected in this text address a wide chronological and stylistic range of work. They offer insights into such diverse topics as: the century's best-known illustrators, including George Cruickshank, William Morris and Aubrey Beardsley; the use of words as images; the intersection of children's books and shopping; the use of maps in fiction; the decline of illustrated volumes after Queen Victoria's death; and the proposal that Victorian illustration was a major inspiration for modernist and postmodernist experiments with the form of the book.

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Review

"A substantial, original contribution and a considerable pleasure to read..." -- John O. Jordan, University of California, Santa Cruz, coeditor of Victorian Literature and the Victorian Visual Imagination

About the Author

Richard Maxwell is Professor of English at Valparaiso University and the author of The Mysteries of Paris and London (Virginia) and editor of a new edition of A Tale of Two Cities.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Glimpses of yesterday Jan. 2 2004
Format:Hardcover
When you think of Victorian Britain, what images come to mind? Well, those of sepia toned photographs from 1850 onwards. But invariably for most, illustrations from musty old tomes also arise. The first country with mass literacy still found cartoons and other illustrations useful in many books. Remember that for them, the cost of including these was far greater than for a modern publisher. The plummetting cost of images since the 19th century should not blind us to this. Thus, by inference, when you see the wonderfully chosen examples in this book, the very existence, as independently decided by different authors and publishers over the space of a century, gives some clue as to the value the illustrations were perceived to have.
Maxwell shows some very traditional religious illustrations that explicitly hark back to medieval monasteries. But he also shows illustrations, especially by Aubrey Beardsley, form the late 19th century, that would not look out of place in today's New Yorker. The clean, clear cuts of Beardsley eerily anticipate by a mere 20 years those of Heath Robinson and the associated, minimalist Art Deco architecture. By contrast, the book has other illustrations from early in the 19th century that unmistakably are redolent of the century that just passed on.
Nice.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glimpses of yesterday Jan. 2 2004
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When you think of Victorian Britain, what images come to mind? Well, those of sepia toned photographs from 1850 onwards. But invariably for most, illustrations from musty old tomes also arise. The first country with mass literacy still found cartoons and other illustrations useful in many books. Remember that for them, the cost of including these was far greater than for a modern publisher. The plummetting cost of images since the 19th century should not blind us to this. Thus, by inference, when you see the wonderfully chosen examples in this book, the very existence, as independently decided by different authors and publishers over the space of a century, gives some clue as to the value the illustrations were perceived to have.
Maxwell shows some very traditional religious illustrations that explicitly hark back to medieval monasteries. But he also shows illustrations, especially by Aubrey Beardsley, form the late 19th century, that would not look out of place in today's New Yorker. The clean, clear cuts of Beardsley eerily anticipate by a mere 20 years those of Heath Robinson and the associated, minimalist Art Deco architecture. By contrast, the book has other illustrations from early in the 19th century that unmistakably are redolent of the century that just passed on.
Nice.
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