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Hardy's Illustrated Fiction. Edition No. 1
- ID: 1905507
- February 2011
- 512 Pages
- VDM Publishing House
At this late date we shall probably never fully understand how the Victorians read the illustrations that accompanied so much of popular fiction upon its initial appearance, that is, in the many illustrated periodicals that sprang up about 1860 and gradually declined in number and quality in the 1890s as a consequence of cheaper paper, public libraries, and a better educated reading public (probably resulting from the General Education Act of 1870). What effect did such pictures have upon the process of creative visualisation that every reader, no matter how capable or inept, experiences from the very first picture-book he or she encounters as a child? We shall never know, although, through a thorough analysis of the illustrations themselves, we may attempt to reconstruct the initial Victorian reception of a significant body of nineteenth- century literature, the prose fiction of Thomas Hardy.