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date: 24 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Where writers like James, Howells, and Wharton disdained illustrations, regarding them as a distraction from the psychological realism of their fiction, Jack London welcomed the visual embellishment. He recognized how pictures helped sell books and magazines. Throughout his career he lobbied for favorite artists and criticized others, argued for the usefulness of pictures as reading guides and marketing tools, and requested pieces of original artwork for his private collection. His motivation, however, wasn’t strictly commercial. The discursive and visual elements surrounding any publication inevitably leave their impress on our experience of the work. In London’s case, they suggest a more collaborative relationship between texts and paratexts than has previously been recognized. Equally important, they point to a postmodern self-referentiality that becomes increasingly pronounced as London’s career progresses.

Keywords: magazines, book history, illustrations, art and literature, visual culture

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