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Illustration Tourism Photography

  • Gillen D’Arcy Wood

Abstract

In December 1833, Charles Lamb received a volume of poems by his friend Samuel Rogers. Entitled The Pleasures of Memory, it featured illustrations by the most eminent book artists of the day, J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Stothard. Lamb delighted in the poetry but balked at the accompanying pictures. In chapter 1, we saw that Lamb rated the aesthetic experience of reading a Shakespeare play above its representation at the theater. Reading Rogers’ poems, the intrusion of visual images on the poetic text likewise upset his Romantic sensibility. In a sonnet he subsequently published in the Times, Lamb deplored the degrading effect of illustration on the “moral heart” of Rogers’ text:
  • …. thy gay book hath paid its proud devoirs,

  • Poetic friend, and fed with luxury

  • The eye of pampered aristocracy

  • In flittering drawing-rooms and gilt boudoirs,

  • O’erlaid with comments of pictorial art

  • However rich or rare, yet nothing leaving

  • Of healthful action to the soul-conceiving

  • Of the true reader …1

Lamb deploys the rhetoric of puritan outrage against pictorial additions to literature.

Keywords

Quarterly Review Visual Medium Camera Technology Magnum Opus Chimney Sweeper 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Complete Works and Letters (New York: Modern Library, 1935), 1098.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1997), 462.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    The first issue of The Illustrated London News appeared on 14 May 1842. It consisted of sixteen pages with two illustrations per page, and sold 26,000 copies. As well as current political and society news, the inaugural issue contained a survey of current visual-cultural offerings, including an account of a Royal Academy exhibition and an advertisement for yet another revival of the Waterloo panorama at Burford’s in Leicester Square. Christopher Hibbert, The Illustrated London News: A Social History of Victorian Britain (London: Angus and Robertson, 1975), 11–13.Google Scholar
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  5. 7.
    In his Autobiographical Reflections, Charles Leslie recalled visits to Abbotsford where Scott “talked of scenery as he wrote of it—like a painter; and yet for pictures, as works of art, he had little or no taste, nor did he pretend to any To him they were interesting merely as representing some particular scene, person or event; and very moderate merit in their execution contented him.” Quoted in Adele Holcomb, “Scott and Turner” in Scott Bicentenary Essays, ed. Alan Bell (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1973), 202.Google Scholar
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    Scott’s essentially modern, lowland viewpoint was no better in evidence than during his Highland tour after the grand success of The Lady of the Lake. The tributes of a gathering of Highlanders nominated him “the great Saxon poet,” and offered an extended encomium in his honor, in Gaelic, of which he understood not a word. This episode illustrates how the cult of Scott, in the tradition of Macpherson’s Ossian, belonged to a form of Romantic primitivism that pretended to recover an authentic, heroic, pre-industrial kingdom to the north, a culture almost as alien to a lowland Scotsman as to an Englishman. The irony was that, at Loch Katrine, the Lowlander Scott found himself a tourist in the very land to which he had presumed to give a voice. See James Buzard, “Translator and Tourism: Scott’s Waverley and the Rendering of a Culture,” Yale Journal of Criticism 8:2 (1995): 31–59.Google Scholar
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© Gillen D’Arcy Wood 2001

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  • Gillen D’Arcy Wood

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