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Words & Pictures

Jenny Uglow

Words & Pictures by Jenny Uglow is a beautifully illustrated little book exploring the relationships between British writers and artists.

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Date Published
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As children, learning to read, we look first at the illustrations – but how do these tell their stories differently to the words? Words & Pictures explores this question through three encounters between writers and artists. It looks at how artists have responded to two great, contrasting works, Paradise Lost and Pilgrim’s Progress; at Hogarth and Fielding, great innovators, sharing common aims; and at Wordsworth and Bewick, a poet and engraver, both working separately, but both imbued with the spirit of their age. A brief coda turns to a fourth relationship: writers and artists who collaborate from the start, like Dickens and Phiz, and Lewis Carroll and Tenniel.

Sometimes amusing, sometimes moving, this is a book to pore over and enjoy. The visions it considers link daily life to the universal, the passionate and the sublime.

Critic Reviews

This is a bonne bouche for lovers of book illustration. It will appeal to those who enjoy poring over engravings, knowing that entire narratives can be found in images by such artists as Hogarth or Bewick.

Francis Spalding, Independent
Critic Reviews

Uglow writes with keen perceptiveness and captivating enthusiasm . . . Illustration, as she notes, means to shed light on, to add lustre. Her own writing does exactly that: it shines with intelligence, and is aglow with affection.

Peter Conrad, Observer
Critic Reviews

In Uglow’s characteristically inviting manner, learning is well disguised, so observations give the impression that any reader/viewer might make them . . . Read, look and enjoy.

Jan Marsh, Times Literary Supplement
Critic Reviews

This brief foray into aspects of 18th-and 19th- century writing and illustration gains many of its effects from [Uglow’s] faultless pedigree as an art historian and a literary biographer . . . No one with an interest in the poetry, novel-writing, painting, engraving or cartooning of the period will want to miss out on it . . . This is a book that demonstrates and encourages minute inspection. It rewards it too . . . Amiable and intelligent.

Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph

Jenny Uglow grew up in Cumbria and now lives in Canterbury. Her books include prize-winning biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell and William Hogarth. The Lunar Men, published in 2002, was described by Richard Holmes as ‘an extraordinarily gripping account’, while Nature’s Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick, won the National Arts Writers Award for 2007 and A Gambling Man: Charles II…

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