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Serials to Graphic NovelsThe Evolution of the Victorian Illustrated Book$
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Catherine J. Golden

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062297

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062297.001.0001

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Caricature and Realism

Caricature and Realism

Fin-de-Siècle Developments of the Victorian Illustrated Book

(p.150) 4 Caricature and Realism
Serials to Graphic Novels

Catherine J. Golden

University Press of Florida

At the fin de siècle, the Victorian illustrated book experienced what some critics consider a decline and others call a third period of development. “Caricature and Realism” examines the validity of both viewpoints. Publishing trends and intertwining economic and aesthetic factors led to the decline of newly released, large-circulation fiction during the final decades of the nineteenth century in England. These include the waning of serial fiction, cost factors, a rise in literacy, the changing nature of the novel, new developments in illustration, and competition from other media. However, the Victorian illustrated book thrived in several areas—certain serial formats, artists’ books, children’s literature, and the U.S. market—and in some of these forms of material culture, we witness a reengagement with the caricature tradition as well as a continuation of the representational school. This chapter surveys late Victorian illustrated fiction marketed to different audiences according to social class, age, gender, and nation. This chapter also foregrounds two fin-de-siècle author-illustrators—Beatrix Potter, best known for The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and George Du Maurier, who gained fame with Trilby—to demonstrate continuity in the arc of the illustrated book and a media frenzy of Pickwickian magnitude.

Keywords:   caricature, realism, fin de siècle, novel, Du Maurier, Trilby, U.S. market, Victorian illustrated book, Potter, Peter Rabbit

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