Visualisation in Popular Fiction, 1860-1960: Graphic Narratives, Fictional Images

By Stuart Sillars | Go to book overview

1

THE NATURE AND FUNCTION OF VISUALISATION

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book, ' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?'

(Carroll 1982:1)

Alice's question, at the beginning of a book which itself contributed much to the tradition of Victorian book illustration, conceals an important assumption-that, by 1865, when the text was written, the illustrated book had become a primary form of literary entertainment. Defining the use of a book with pictures would by implication have been no trouble at all to Alice-it provided something that was more entertaining and less taxing than a book with neither pictures nor conversation. But when we move out of this world of Victorian certainties, to ask what the visual text contributes to the verbal, and what is the nature of the dual discourse that is produced by an illustrated text that truly unifies the two, the answer is far from straightforward.

What exactly does a picture do in a book? How does it modify the response of the reader to the written word? Does it enable him or her to enter more fully into the created fictive world, or does it present that world as more of an artifice? Does it amplify the concepts and structures of the words, or does it offer separate ones of its own, as a sort of visual commentary? If the two work together to provide a new discourse, how is it assimilated and how best analysed?

All of these are insistent questions. This book sets out to attempt to answer them by looking at works of popular illustrated

-1-

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Visualisation in Popular Fiction, 1860-1960: Graphic Narratives, Fictional Images
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Plates viii
  • Acknowledgements x
  • 1 - The Nature and Function of Visualisation 1
  • 2 - Graphic Narratives 30
  • 3 - Fairy Palaces 52
  • 4 - Illustrated Magazines 72
  • 5 - Gone to Earth and 1920s Landscape Ideology 93
  • 6 - The Romantic Continuum 113
  • 7 - Eagle and the Morality of Visual Narratives 132
  • 8 - Working-Class F(R)Ictions 154
  • Notes 175
  • References and Further Reading 179
  • Index 185
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