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date: 27 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The illustrated book between 1880 and 1920 was a prime locus for contesting the relative roles of literature and art, authors and artists, and their representational abilities. Debates over book illustration extended beyond aesthetic, semiotic, and hermeneutic issues to engage philosophical, political, psychological, historical, technological, and scientific subjects. As new photomechanical technologies produced new aesthetic styles, extended the consumption of illustrated books, and reshaped their interpretations, older illustration technologies were revived to resist them in both progressive and nostalgic ways. In spite of (or rather because of) the power and popularity of illustrated books, their discourses contained the seeds of illustration’s subsequent neglect in literary studies, as critics worked assiduously to displace pictorial illustration with verbal commentary—another sense of ‘illustration’. Yet discourses of illustrated books segued into debates over literary film adaptation, where they have continued to the present day.

Keywords: book illustration, periodical illustration, canon formation, literary film adaptation, Victorian literature

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