“Drawing on the Victorians is a singularly diverse and multinational collection, a fine critical embodiment of the palimpsest trope that stands … at its conceptual core.“
“Jones and Mitchell’s innovative and pioneering collection will establish new areas of scholarly debate. Moreover, its focus on ‘stories and poems, books and periodicals, comics, cartoons, and other ephemera’ will enrich discussions on the interplay between the production and reception of Victorian and neo-Victorian graphic texts and textual images.”
“Stunningly transnational … The editors take the notion of the palimpsest as their conceptual frame because it speaks to haunting of one text and/or image by another, a layering, they assert, that becomes particularly complex when linguistic, geographic, historical, and temporal boundaries are crossed.”
David L. Pike, American University
“Research in Victorian and neo-Victorian visual and verbal art receives a welcome boost from this collection. Not claiming to be a definitive map or theory, it nonetheless at every point opens up new questions for debate and new topics for investigation by future critics and scholars.”
David Skilton, Emeritus Professor in English, Cardiff University
Late nineteenth-century Britain experienced an unprecedented explosion of visual print culture and a simultaneous rise in literacy across social classes. New printing technologies facilitated quick and cheap dissemination of images—illustrated books, periodicals, cartoons, comics, and ephemera—to a mass readership. This Victorian visual turn prefigured the present-day impact of the Internet on how images are produced and shared, both driving and reflecting the visual culture of its time.
From this starting point, Drawing on the Victorians sets out to explore the relationship between Victorian graphic texts and today’s steampunk, manga, and other neo-Victorian genres that emulate and reinterpret their predecessors. Neo-Victorianism is a flourishing worldwide phenomenon, but one whose relationship with the texts from which it takes its inspiration remains underexplored.
In this collection, scholars from literary studies, cultural studies, and art history consider contemporary works—Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moto Naoko’s Lady Victorian, and Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies, among others—alongside their antecedents, from Punch’s 1897 Jubilee issue to Alice in Wonderland and more. They build on previous work on neo-Victorianism to affirm that the past not only influences but converses with the present.
Contributors: Christine Ferguson, Kate Flint, Anna Maria Jones, Linda K. Hughes, Heidi Kaufman, Brian Maidment, Rebecca N. Mitchell, Jennifer Phegley, Monika Pietrzak-Franger, Peter W. Sinnema, Jessica Straley
Anna Maria Jones is associate professor of English at the University of Central Florida. She is the author of Problem Novels: Victorian Fiction Theorizes the Sensational Self. Her recent articles have appeared in Victorian Literature and Culture, European Romantic Review, Criticism, Neo-Victorian Studies, and BRANCH. More info →
Rebecca N. Mitchell is reader in Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of Victorian Lessons in Empathy and Difference, coeditor of the anniversary edition of George Meredith’s Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, and coauthor, with Joseph Bristow, of Oscar Wilde’s Chatterton: Literary History, Romanticism, and the Art of Forgery. More info →
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Katherine D. Harris assesses the phenomenal rise of the literary annual and its origins in English, German, and French literary forms as well as its social influence on women, its redefinition of the feminine, and its effects on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century print culture.
In Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing eminent Rossetti scholar Lorraine Janzen Kooistra demonstrates the cultural centrality of a neglected artifact: the Victorian illustrated gift book. Turning a critical lens on “drawing-room books” as both material objects and historical events, Kooistra reveals how the gift book’s visual/verbal form mediated “high” and popular art as well as book and periodical publication.
Before he joined the staff of Punch and designed its iconic front cover, illustrator Richard “Dicky” Doyle was a young man whose father (political caricaturist John Doyle) charged him with sending a weekly letter, even though they lived under the same roof. This volume collects the fifty-three illustrated missives in their entirety for the first time and provides an uncommon peek into the intimate but expansive observations of a precocious social commentator and artist.
The Victorians were image obsessed. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented growth in the picture industry. Technological advances enabled the Victorians to adorn with images the pages of their books and the walls of their homes. But this was not a wholly visual culture. Pictorial Victorians focuses on two of the most popular mid-nineteenth-century genres—illustration and narrative painting—that blurred the line between the visual and textual.