Victorian Illustrated Books (ENG910 F2020) Dashboard

Description

Students in Lorraine Janzen Kooistra's English Capstone Seminar at Ryerson University in Toronto in F2020 aim to make a virtue of pandemic necessity by engaging collaboratively and critically with the digital surrogates of a wide variety of Victorian illustrated books published between 1843 and 1899.

Using the interpretive model of image/text/context for both synchronic and diachronic analyses, and drawing on a range of digital tools, this course aims to understand the past through the present and the present through the past.

Our study begins with Charles Dickens's iconic Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas, illustrated by John Leech (1843), then turns to two examples of poetry and illustration: Alfred Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott," illustrated by Pre-Raphaelite artists William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1857); and Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market," illustrated by her brother, Dante Gabriel (1862). These mid-century works will provide the foundation for our study of the illustrated books that proliferated at the end of the century. We'll analyze a variety of fin-de-siècle genres and styles, starting with Arthur Conan Doyle's popular detective stories, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, illustrated by Sydney Paget (1892). Next up is Salome: A Tragedy in One Act, Oscar Wilde's censored play based on a biblical story, which was infamously "embroidered" by decadent artist Aubrey Beardsley (1894). Fairy tales and fantasies aimed at adult audiences allowed counter-cultural writers and artists to protest existing norms and imagine other worlds; our examples are Laurence Housman's self-illustrated collection, The House of Joy (1895) and Clemence Housman's gothic novella The Were-Wolf, with wood-engraved illustrations by the author after her brother Laurence's designs (1896). The Annancy Stories, a self-illustrated collection of folktales by Pamela Colman Smith, is the first-known publication featuring this Jamaican trickster figure (1899). Students examine the final work, A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel (2019), for evidence of the legacy of Victorian illustrated books today.

The following texts are available in COVE (see D2L for the other digital surrogates):

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas (1843): A COVE Studio Text for class annotation

Clemence Housman, The Were-Wolf (1896): A COVE Annotated Edition 

Christina G. Rossetti, Goblin Market (1862): A COVE Annotated Edition 

Alfred Tennyson: The Lady of Shalott (1857):  A COVE Studio text for class annotation

Victorian illustrated books resulted from the collaboration of a number of social agents, including authors, artists, engravers, editors, publishers, and readers. Using the COVE toolset, students and instructor work collaboratively to build resources that critically curate Victorian illustrated books in cultural contexts ranging from the nineteenth century to the present. 

We will use the COVE annotation tool to hone our close reading and editorial skills. In COVE Studio, each student will provide TWO TEXTUAL ANNOTATIONS, one on "content," one on "craft," for Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott."

We will use the Gallery Image tool to provide bibliographic and contextual information and iconographic commentary and analysis on illustrations, and to associate these with events in the Timeline and places in the Map.

We will use the Gallery Exhibition tool to critically curate illustrated books in cultural contexts, situating works synchronically, within their originating moment of production and reception, and diachronically, in terms of their ongoing moments of production and reception. 

We will use the COVE Timeline tool to provide information about historical events relevant to Victorian illustrated books, both at the time of their first publication, and in their ongoing re-production over time and across media.

We will use the COVE Map tool to associate places relevant to illustrated books and their makers and the cultural contexts that we showcase in the Gallery and on the Timeline. 

Galleries, Timelines, and Maps

Gallery Exhibit
Posted by Emma Fraschetti on Sunday, December 13, 2020 - 20:13

          The Were-Wolf  by Clemence Housman was first published as a stand-alone illustrated novella in 1896 by John Lane at The Bodley Head in London, England. The work was produced collaboratively by Clemence and her younger brother Laurence Housman, an established visual artist and author. Laurence designed six full-page illustrations to the text as well as the title page, the initial letter, and the bindings. As a skilful craftswoman, Clemence wood-engraved her brother’s illustrations by hand to be reproduced for the completed publication.

            The novella made its debut at a time when challenging sociopolitical concepts of gender began to pervade public discourse. The rising women's suffrage movement, and their campaign for equal enfranchisement at the fin-de-siècle,... more

Gallery Exhibit
Posted by Alessia Dickson on Friday, December 11, 2020 - 14:26

Visual Representations in Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf and The New Women’s Movement 

Introduction

The late 1890s was a transitional period in history that saw the rise of The New Women’s Movement, encompassing women who pushed back against the behaviours conventionally see as feminine by advocating for equal rights in areas of suffrage, education, and employment. Ideas behind the growing New Women’s Movement spilled into literary texts and illustrations of the time, such as Clemence Housman’s feminist text, The Were-Wolf (1896), which contains six illustrations by her brother, Laurence Housman. Using these images, this research project argues how the Housman siblings deliberately illustrate the female were-wolf White Fell as... more

Gallery Exhibit
Posted by Faye Hamidavi on Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 23:24

Paget’s Iconic Image of Holmes

Since his first appearance in Strand Magazine over a hundred years ago, Sherlock Holmes has reappeared in countless adaptations spanning across just about every artistic medium. This is to be expected, as detective fiction is one of the most heavily adapted genres in the world, constantly being remade in film and television because of its innate ability to offer commentary on cultural context whilst also providing blockbuster action moments (McGraw 11). Three recent reimaginings of the iconic Holmes character that have taken entirely different routes to offer such commentary are BBC’s Sherlock, CBS’s Elementary, and FOX’s Family Guy episode, “V is for Mystery.”... more

Blog entry
Posted by Alicia Puebla on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 23:55

This week I found it incredibly interesting to listen to everyone's Capstone presentation. Not only did I get to enjoy everyones presentations but I felt it was the perfect recap of many of the major themes we studied this semester. I also thought it was interesting to see the different interpretations of each illustrated text as well as the different interpretations the same illustrated novels in different ways. This class taught us the different ways to analyze and asses different themes within illustrated texts and it was interesting to see how those skills were being adapted to understand these texts for different students. In particular I enjoyed the discourse surrounding the themes of early feminism throughout many of the Victorian illustrated texts, from  The Lady of Shalot to the different editions of Goblin Market and The Werewolf  it was interesting to see people take these themes and interpret them differently through different texts...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Mila Kulevska on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 18:06

I found the capstone presentations incredibly engaging today in class! In particular, I enjoyed listening to all the different facets of these stories and hearing all these perspectives and arguments I would have never considered before today I think this speaks to the level of malleability that these Victorian texts have and how their literary illustrations are open to a multitude of interpretations with each according critical focus. For instance, I thought it was really interesting that both me and Kyle shared a similarity in our thesis with the connection to Charles Darwin, or how each capstone project for Sherlock Holmes: The Man with the Twisted Lip was analyzed for differing story elements, such as viewing opium as a form of capital. Or although there was a large group that did Goblin Market...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Faye Hamidavi on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 16:50

Today was out final class. It was a real treat to see everyone’s presentations to see what their research is all about. I’m particularly excited to see what my fellow COVE digital exhibitors are working on while we navigate this website and add some original scholarship on our topics to the world! I really enjoyed listening to all of my classmates share what they believe their research will bring to the scholarly table. It is really great to see how all my fellow English majors have progressed over the past four years and developed their scholarly voices. 

Something that was so interesting to me was seeing the presentations from groups that were all doing the same text and how different their research findings were. There were several people analyzing A Christmas Carol and Goblin Market, and while several members of each group were each applying the same contextual lens to the texts, they all came up with different...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Yousef Farhang on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 14:57

Today’s class was truly rewarding as we were all able to share our findings and how we were going to incorporate them in our text. I found it really interesting to listen to all the different and even similar routes my classmates took in analyzing their chosen text. Listening to presentations about the works we have covered in the semester was rewarding as it opened up a window into a scholarly conversation based on the works we have been reading this year, and such was rewarding as I was able to learn a lot more historical context based on the texts I did not write my essay on. I also appreciated the presentations that discussed why they chose a diachronic analysis. Since I picked a synchronic approach to my text, I was very interested to see how other classmates were planning to format their essay with so many different illustrations they had to cover. I especially appreciated the presentation on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as I was initially planning to...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Alicia Beggs-Holder on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 14:25

Despite the class being done through Zoom and there were some complications, I thought exploring Victorian Illustrated books through the various methods was interesting—especially as it brought new ideas and interpretations. For everyone’s presentations, I found it interesting that everyone literally thought of such different topics even though they were generally the same book (just published and done with different illustrations), it really shows that interpretation really is up to the artist and that the reader is an active participant to meaning-making. In that sense, even though the Victorian books were first published in that time period, it’s the power of the artist and audience that renews it and there are still echoes of the original evident in whatever rendition made.

I was kind of expecting this class to be the same as how it’s been when I’ve taken other past literature classes—repetitive and coming to the same conclusion, generally a boring or static class. But,...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Patricia Lucreziano on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:53

Listening to everyone’s capstone presentation was truly an honor. To get a look into the minds of my classmates, and be able to have an opportunity to see what they see in the works that we studied all semester was a great pleasure. I took a lot from it myself, and applied some concepts that they had mentioned to my own capstone because they had taken context from things that I did not think of yet. This is the great thing about with collabroating with peers, you have the oppurtunity to learn something that you were not expecting to. Something that was extremely interesting that I learned, that actually did not come from a capstone presentation was the moment when Dr. Janzen mentioned that Dante Gabriel Rossetti actually had Australian wombats in his backyard. He was a person who enjoyed having wild creatures surrounding his space. I thought this was extremely interesting because in his illustrations of the goblins, they absolutely without a doubt mirror the look of a wombat. This...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Andrea Aguiar on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:12

One thing that stood out to me the most throughout each of the class presentations was what everyone suggested that their analyses bring to the table, because they were all so dfferent from one another when considering the projects themselves and the contexts for interpretation. I know that in the class prior a few of my fellow students (and myself)were a bit confused with how to navigate the question of what our research brings to the table, but as I listened to all of the presentations I found that this had become much more clear. With my own research, I found that as I narrowed down my project and started to finalize what I was going to include in my essay, the purpose and impact of my own research became much more clear. One thing that I noticed through my own research on feminism in The Lady of Shalott is that much of the analysis was based on the text itself and did not consider the impact that the images published alongside the 1857 Moxon Tennyson edition has. The...

more

Pages

Individual Entries

Blog entry
Posted by Alicia Puebla on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 23:55

This week I found it incredibly interesting to listen to everyone's Capstone presentation. Not only did I get to enjoy everyones presentations but I felt it was the perfect recap of many of the major themes we studied this semester. I also thought it was interesting to see the different interpretations of each illustrated text as well as the different interpretations the same illustrated novels in different ways. This class taught us the different ways to analyze and asses different themes within illustrated texts and it was interesting to see how those skills were being adapted to understand these texts for different students. In particular I enjoyed the discourse surrounding the themes of early feminism throughout many of the Victorian illustrated texts, from  The Lady of Shalot to the different editions of Goblin Market and The Werewolf  it was interesting to see people take these themes and interpret them differently through different texts...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Mila Kulevska on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 18:06

I found the capstone presentations incredibly engaging today in class! In particular, I enjoyed listening to all the different facets of these stories and hearing all these perspectives and arguments I would have never considered before today I think this speaks to the level of malleability that these Victorian texts have and how their literary illustrations are open to a multitude of interpretations with each according critical focus. For instance, I thought it was really interesting that both me and Kyle shared a similarity in our thesis with the connection to Charles Darwin, or how each capstone project for Sherlock Holmes: The Man with the Twisted Lip was analyzed for differing story elements, such as viewing opium as a form of capital. Or although there was a large group that did Goblin Market...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Faye Hamidavi on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 16:50

Today was out final class. It was a real treat to see everyone’s presentations to see what their research is all about. I’m particularly excited to see what my fellow COVE digital exhibitors are working on while we navigate this website and add some original scholarship on our topics to the world! I really enjoyed listening to all of my classmates share what they believe their research will bring to the scholarly table. It is really great to see how all my fellow English majors have progressed over the past four years and developed their scholarly voices. 

Something that was so interesting to me was seeing the presentations from groups that were all doing the same text and how different their research findings were. There were several people analyzing A Christmas Carol and Goblin Market, and while several members of each group were each applying the same contextual lens to the texts, they all came up with different...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Yousef Farhang on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 14:57

Today’s class was truly rewarding as we were all able to share our findings and how we were going to incorporate them in our text. I found it really interesting to listen to all the different and even similar routes my classmates took in analyzing their chosen text. Listening to presentations about the works we have covered in the semester was rewarding as it opened up a window into a scholarly conversation based on the works we have been reading this year, and such was rewarding as I was able to learn a lot more historical context based on the texts I did not write my essay on. I also appreciated the presentations that discussed why they chose a diachronic analysis. Since I picked a synchronic approach to my text, I was very interested to see how other classmates were planning to format their essay with so many different illustrations they had to cover. I especially appreciated the presentation on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as I was initially planning to...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Alicia Beggs-Holder on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 14:25

Despite the class being done through Zoom and there were some complications, I thought exploring Victorian Illustrated books through the various methods was interesting—especially as it brought new ideas and interpretations. For everyone’s presentations, I found it interesting that everyone literally thought of such different topics even though they were generally the same book (just published and done with different illustrations), it really shows that interpretation really is up to the artist and that the reader is an active participant to meaning-making. In that sense, even though the Victorian books were first published in that time period, it’s the power of the artist and audience that renews it and there are still echoes of the original evident in whatever rendition made.

I was kind of expecting this class to be the same as how it’s been when I’ve taken other past literature classes—repetitive and coming to the same conclusion, generally a boring or static class. But,...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Patricia Lucreziano on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:53

Listening to everyone’s capstone presentation was truly an honor. To get a look into the minds of my classmates, and be able to have an opportunity to see what they see in the works that we studied all semester was a great pleasure. I took a lot from it myself, and applied some concepts that they had mentioned to my own capstone because they had taken context from things that I did not think of yet. This is the great thing about with collabroating with peers, you have the oppurtunity to learn something that you were not expecting to. Something that was extremely interesting that I learned, that actually did not come from a capstone presentation was the moment when Dr. Janzen mentioned that Dante Gabriel Rossetti actually had Australian wombats in his backyard. He was a person who enjoyed having wild creatures surrounding his space. I thought this was extremely interesting because in his illustrations of the goblins, they absolutely without a doubt mirror the look of a wombat. This...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Andrea Aguiar on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:12

One thing that stood out to me the most throughout each of the class presentations was what everyone suggested that their analyses bring to the table, because they were all so dfferent from one another when considering the projects themselves and the contexts for interpretation. I know that in the class prior a few of my fellow students (and myself)were a bit confused with how to navigate the question of what our research brings to the table, but as I listened to all of the presentations I found that this had become much more clear. With my own research, I found that as I narrowed down my project and started to finalize what I was going to include in my essay, the purpose and impact of my own research became much more clear. One thing that I noticed through my own research on feminism in The Lady of Shalott is that much of the analysis was based on the text itself and did not consider the impact that the images published alongside the 1857 Moxon Tennyson edition has. The...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Alessia Dickson on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:02

I really enjoyed our final class today and seeing the culmination of my classmate's hard work and their evolving ideas for the final Capstone Project. I found it very interesting to hear how each individual put their own unique spin on their chosen text. In particular, I really enjoyed the presentations on Goblin Market and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. In both groups, there was a diverse array of synchronic and diachronic analysis' of their chosen work. I really enjoyed hearing the juxtaposition of ideas of 19 C Goblin Market to Zeinab's ideas on the 1970's rendition of Goblin Market that focused on themes such as the femme fatale and the male gaze, with extremely homoerotic illustrations. I also found it super interesting to see the different approaches my own group took when analyzing The Were-Wolf. Whereas Nicole and I focused on the design of Laurence Housman's illustrations and the meaning that can be extrapolated, I found it...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Alexandra Monstur on Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 11:59

I enjoyed this final class for ENG 910, in which we all presented our capstone project ideas to one another. To see how far we have collectively come as a group with our research is fulfilling, especially with how difficult this semester has been for all of us. While listening to my classmates’ presentations, I realized just how dynamic all of these Victorian Illustrated texts are. While many of the contextual topics my classmates chose were similar, each of them used these contexts to analyze their stories in multiple ways that were interesting, original, and provided completely new insights that I had not considered before.

As for what I have learned skill-wise, I felt that this course only helped to solidify the vital research abilities I have acquired throughout the entirety of my major. Looking back, I realize that everything in my major truly has been building up to this moment, and to have completed a research project that encapsulates my...

more
Blog entry
Posted by Nicole Bernard on Thursday, November 26, 2020 - 23:50

Firstly, I must say that I am shocked to find that it is the end of the semester already. How time flies! Looking back on all of the texts we have studied, I can say that my appreciation for Victorian literature, as well as my capacity for analysis, has greatly grown. It seems the course is reaching a satisfying denouement as we now turn to A Christmas Carol once again.

The experience of reading the graphic novel certainly invokes palimpsest. It both expands upon and reflects the content of the original text. This story is quite remarkable in its ability to be reinterpreted again and again, each time invoking a different reaction. This only reinforced the ability of image and context to evolve the message of an original text.

We often discussed the collaboration of Victorian texts over the semester, and this Neo-Victorian graphic novel also adheres to this. Whereas in Victorian texts, the written word was reshaped through image and reader response, the Neo-Victorian...

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