The Victorian illustrated book came into being, flourished, and evolved during the long nineteenth century. While existing scholarship on Victorian illustrators largely centers on the realist artists of the "Sixties," this volume examines the entire lifetime of the Victorian illustrated book. Catherine Golden offers a new framework for viewing the arc of this vibrant genre, arguing that it arose from and continually built on the creative vision of the caricature-style illustrators of the 1830s. She surveys the fluidity of illustration styles across serial installments, British and American periodicals, adult and children’s literature, and--more recently--graphic novels.
Serials to Graphic Novels examines widely recognized illustrated texts, such as The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit, and Trilby. Golden explores factors that contributed to the early popularity of the illustrated book—the growth of commodity culture, a rise in literacy, new printing technologies—and that ultimately created a mass market for illustrated fiction.
Golden identifies present-day visual adaptations of the works of Austen, Dickens, and Trollope as well as original Neo-Victorian graphic novels like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Victorian-themed novels like Batman: Noël as the heirs to the Victorian illustrated book. With these adaptations and additions, the Victorian canon has been refashioned and repurposed visually for new generations of readers.