Professor Allingham, the Contributing Editor of the Victorian Web for Canada, has created most of our large section book illustration, scanning more than a thousand images and writinghundreds of detailed commentaries. He writes in with news about his new book, which LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH in Saarbrücken, Germany, will publish:
At this late date we shall probably never fully understand how the Victorians read the illustrations that accompanied so much of popular fiction upon its initial appearance, that is, in the many illustrated periodicals that sprang up about 1860 and gradually declined in number and quality in the 1890s as a consequence of cheaper paper, public libraries, and a better educated reading public that resulted from the General Education Act of 1870. What effect did such pictures have upon the process of creative visualisation that every reader, no matter how capable or inept, experiences from the very first picture-book he or she encounters as a child? We shall never know, although, through a thorough analysis of the illustrations themselves, we may attempt to reconstruct the initial Victorian reception of a significant body of nineteenth-century literature, the prose fiction of Thomas Hardy. Some of the period's most capable graphic artists illustrated Hardy's serialised novels for the leading periodicals of Victorian England (including The Graphic, Belgravia, and Once a Week), but only recently have modern editions begun to reproduce these illustrations, albeit in much reduced scale, and only one critic has thus far examined the issue of how the illustrations affected the reception of the Hardy novels. The present volume also considers the illustrations that accompanied the short fiction, the publication context, and Hardy's changing attitudes towards and tastes in the visual accompaniments publishers provided for his fiction over the thirty years in which he produced the Wessex Novels and tales.
Last modified 5 April 2011