Victorian Illustrated Fiction Criticism: Charles Dickens And His Illustrators - Essay

Michael Steig (essay date 1969)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Steig, Michael. “Dickens, Hablôt Browne, and the Tradition of English Caricature.” Criticism 11 (1969): 219-33.

[In the following essay, Steig argues that Dickens's novels provide an overall model for observing the development of literary illustration, focusing his discussion on the novels illustrated by Hablôt Browne.]

Since the word “caricature” has so often been applied to Dickens' literary methods, Dickens' own attitude toward caricature is of considerable interest. Writing in 1848, Dickens called his friend and contemporary, John Leech, “the very first English caricaturist (we use the word for want of a better) who has considered beauty as...

(The entire section is 6066 words.)

Donald H. Eriksen (essay date 1983)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Eriksen, Donald H. “Bleak House and Victorian Art and Illustration: Charles Dickens's Visual Narrative Style.” The Journal of Narrative Technique 13, no. 1 (1983): 31-46.

[In the following essay, Eriksen investigates Dickens's own views of art and his strongly visual writing style to illuminate the author's development of a more “modern” form of novel writing. Eriksen asserts that in Bleak House Dickens moves away from the Hogarth-inspired style of caricature and satire to a more symbolic form of imagery, a move paralleled by contemporary trends in the visual arts.]

In a letter to John Forster, his friend and biographer, Dickens commented...

(The entire section is 7477 words.)

Michael Hollington (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Hollington, Michael. “Dickens and Cruikshank as Physiognomers in Oliver Twist.Dickens Quarterly 7, no. 2 (1990): 243-54.

[In the following essay, Hollington proposes that Dickens and Cruikshank related to each other as rivals in the art of physiognomy with their depiction of the characters in Oliver Twist.]

The aim of this essay is to explore in outline the nexus of relationships between writer, illustrator and reader in the representation of human appearance in a novel where it becomes clear at a very early stage that this is a question of considerable significance. The first metamorphosis of state undergone by the infant Oliver is a fall into a...

(The entire section is 4191 words.)

Gareth Cordery (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Cordery, Gareth. “Furniss, Dickens and Illustration: Parts One and Two.” Dickens Quarterly 13, no. 1 (March 1996): 35-41; 13, no. 2 (June 1996): 99-110.

[In the following essay, Cordery argues for the aptness of Harry Furniss as an illustrator for Dickens. The critic asserts that Furniss, who illustrated the Charles Dickens Library Edition after Dickens's death, was a corrective to the exaggerated, moralizing style of Cruikshank, and thus was better suited for rendering the complex vision of the author.]


In a series of letters he wrote in 1882 and 1883 to his friend Anton van Rappard, Van Gogh expressed...

(The entire section is 6595 words.)

Catherine J. Golden (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Golden, Catherine J. “Cruikshank's Illustrative Wrinkle in Oliver Twist's Misrepresentations of Class.” In Book Illustrated: Text, Image, Culture, 1770-1930, edited by Catherine J. Golden, pp. 117-46. New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll, 2000.

[In the following essay, Golden finds that Cruikshank's illustrations for Oliver Twist sometimes frustrated Dickens's attempts to draw a sympathetic portrait of the lower classes, while at other times they revealed Dickens's own lingering hostility toward them. Focusing mainly on the characters of Nancy and Fagin, Golden demonstrates how Cruikshank's differing attitudes toward class, as reflected in his illustrations, sometimes...

(The entire section is 6502 words.)