Visual Words: Art and the Material Book in Victorian England

Visual Words: Art and the Material Book in Victorian England

by Gerard Curtis
Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis


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Visual Words: Art and the Material Book in Victorian England

Victorian England witnessed a remarkable growth in literacy culminating in the new literary nationalism that emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century. Visual Words provides a unique and interdisciplinary evaluation of the relationship between images and words in this period. Each chapter explores a different aspect of this relationship: the role of Dickens as the heroic author, the book as an iconic object, the growing graphic presence of the text, the role of the graphic trace, the ‘Sister Arts/ pen and pencil' tradition, and the competition between image and word as systems of communication. Examining the impact of such diverse areas as advertising, graphic illustration, narrative painting, frontispiece portraits, bibliomania, and the merchandising of literary culture, Visual Words shows that the influence of the ‘Sister Arts' tradition was more widespread and complex than has previously been considered. Whether discussing portraits of authors, the uses of iconography in Ford Madox Brown's painting Work, or examining why the British Library was equipped with false bookcases for doors, Gerard Curtis looks at artistic and literary culture from an art historical and ‘object' perspective to gain a better understanding of why some Victorians called their culture ‘hieroglyphic'.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781840146578
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/01/2002
Pages: 318
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Shared lines: pen and pencil as trace; The hieroglyphic image; The art of seeing: Dickens in the visual market; Portraits of the author; The empty biscuit tin; Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index.

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