Vignette Title-Page, vol. 2, Illustrated Library Edition
Phiz (Hablot K. Browne)
Dickens's David Copperfield, ch. 50
Source: Nonesuch, xxii
Referring to both "Martha" (December 1849) and "Mr. Peggotty's dream comes true" (August 1850), the title-page vignette for the second volume of the 1858 Illustrated Library Edition accentuates the theme of the Fallen Women since in Emily's posture and hair Phiz visually alludes to those earlier, serial illustrations.
Rarely did Phiz have the opportunity to revisit his creations, but the title-page vignette for the second volume of the 1858 Illustrated Library Edition is one of those rarities. Although he retains sufficient background detail to reveal the setting as Emily's little garret, the illustrator, anticipating the practise of the later nineteenth-century French sculptor Rodin, creates a pose that remains forever in the mind's eye. The gentleness, compassion, and forgiveness which Dan'l Peggotty extends to his errant niece and which she reciprocates are a suitable symbol for the principal movement of the second half of the novel, reminding one in its composition of the return and acceptance of the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son as interpreted so many times in oils and etchings by Rembrandt in the seventeenth century. [continued below]
Image scan and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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