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

By Stuart Sillars | Go to book overview

6

THE ROMANTIC CONTINUUM

Rebecca and internal visualisation

All the texts so far considered have been concerned with the creation of a dual discourse of word and image caused by the use of illustrations within fictions of different sorts. These illustrations may offer us involvement of a variety of kinds in the fictive discourse and hence its 'action'; yet they always have two elements in common. By being synchronic rather than diachronic, they serve-however effectively they are integrated into the fiction's diachrony-as frozen moments in the action. Secondly, however closely they integrate us into the action of the scene, perhaps by manipulation of viewpoint so that we share that of the protagonist, they place us outside the events, since the very externalisation of the seen image is an act of distancing. Of their nature, these illustrations function best in that kind of narrative fiction where there is the constant presence of a central directing consciousness, an omniscient narrator who presents the action, selecting, commenting and drawing moral points from it. Just as we are presented with the action in the verbal continuum from this figure's viewpoint, so we see what he or she wishes us to see, in the manner he or she chooses, in the illustrations. We are thus offered a compound of word and image sharing a common origin and control of view which has the effect of controlling our involvement in the action in terms of both pausing the continuum of experience at key moments, and of establishing the viewpoint from which we see it, in the mere fact of presenting it ensuring our partial exclusion from it.

There is, of course, another convention of the novel, in which illustrations do not appear at all, yet in which the visual sense is still more acute in importance. This is the tradition in which the reader directly shares the experiences of the narrator who is an invention

-113-

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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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