Essays on Illustration
FOR SOMEONE who decried the encroachment of illustration in modern letters, James spent an inordinate amount of time discussing pictures in print. Preceding chapters of this book have documented the narrative strategies through which James responded in his fiction to the pictorial trend in publishing. This chapter examines his analytic techniques for appraising modern illustration in a series of essays he wrote on some of its best-known practitioners.
Ultimately James gave as much consideration to the medium of blackand-white illustration as any writer of his day. He contributed catalogue notes for several illustrators’ exhibitions, published lengthy appreciations of George Du Maurier’s work, wrote a group of essays on illustrators for Harper’s, devoted one of his “American Letters” for the periodical Literature to a discussion of illustrated magazines, and used the occasion of his final Preface to the New York Edition to contrast standard black-and-white illustration with the photographed frontispieces by A. L.