Though well-known as the author of Trilby and the creator of Svengali, the writer-artist George Du Maurier had many other accomplishments that are less familiar to modern audiences. This collection traces Du Maurier’s role as a participant in the wider cultural life of his time, restoring him to his proper status as a major Victorian figure. Divided into sections, the volume considers Du Maurier as an artist, illustrator and novelist who helped to form some of the key ideas of his time. The contributors place his life and work in the context of his treatment of Judaism and Jewishness; his fascination with urbanization, Victorian science, technology and clairvoyance; his friendships and influences; and his impact on notions of consumerism and taste. As an illustrator, Du Maurier collaborated with Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Gaskell and sensational writers such as M. E. Braddon and the author of The Notting Hill Mystery. These partnerships, along with his reflections on the art of illustration, are considered in detail. Impossible to categorize, Du Maurier was an Anglo-Frenchman with cultural linkages in France, England, and America; a social commentator with an interest in The New Woman; a Punch humourist; and a friend of Henry James, with whom he shared a particular interest in the writing of domesticity and domestic settings. Closing with a consideration of Du Maurier’s after-life, notably the treatment of his work in film, this collection highlights his diverse achievements and makes a case for his enduring significance.
Simon Cooke, formerly of the Universities of Birmingham and Coventry, UK, is Assistant Editor for Book Illustration and Design at The Victorian Web. Paul Goldman is Honorary Professor in the Department of English, Communication, and Philosophy at Cardiff University, UK.
'This is the first comprehensive critical assessment of George Du Maurier’s multi-faceted career as illustrator, novelist, and producer of composite image/texts. Editors Simon Cooke and Paul Goldman have brought together an impressive group of specialists in art history, literature, and periodical studies to analyze Du Maurier’s work in the context of the first mass media age. Persuasively situating Du Maurier as a major figure with a large and complex oeuvre, the essays examine what he contributed to nineteenth-century print culture in various genres of art and literature, including the interdisciplinary field of illustration studies. Mapping the continuities and disruptions in Du Maurier’s visual and verbal art, this important book also points suggestively to new areas for scholars and students to pursue. Future work on Du Maurier will be built on the collection’s foundation of archival research, critical analyses, and interdisciplinary methodologies'. Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University, Canada