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