Laurence Sterne and the Visual Imagination  book cover
1st Edition

Laurence Sterne and the Visual Imagination

ISBN 9781138376038
Published December 19, 2018 by Routledge
268 Pages

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Book Description

The first full-length and comprehensive study of the illustrations of Sterne's work, this book explores the ability of Sterne's texts to inspire the visual imagination. It helps to explain why scores of editions of his fiction have been illustrated, some profusely: to fulfill the reader's desire, as well as the artist's compulsion, to visualize Sterne's words. Gerard places his subject in a clear and innovative theoretical framework which opens the field to general word and image studies. The author begins by examining the distinct varieties of pictorialism in Sterne's texts. The remainder of the study takes into account three remarkable series of illustrations-representing Trim reading the sermon, didactic sentimentalism in A Sentimental Journey and Henry Mackenzie's Man of Feeling, and the many and diverse portrayals of 'poor Maria' - to demonstrate the ways in which culture projects these texts differently through the various artists.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The pictorial appeal of Sterne; Text, imagination, picture; Eight ways of looking at Trim reading the sermon, 1883-1995; The ethics of vision: sentimentalism in contemporary illustration of A Sentimental Journey and The Man of Feeling; Icon of the heart: Maria as sentimental emblem, 1773-1888; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

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W.B. Gerard is an Associate Professor of English at Auburn University Montgomery, USA. His research examines Laurence Sterne, the long eighteenth century, and visual culture.


’...excellent book... Well-illustrated (47 full-page plates), with a useful fifty-page catalogue of visual representations between 1760 and 2005, a bibliography and index, this is a study which should be of interest to anyone interested in reception studies and the impact of book illustration... [Gerard] is to be commended for having travelled far and wide to inspect hundreds of editions on-site in libraries and private collections, and to have scoured rather unusual sources... a very useful and well-written groundbreaking study.’ Sharp ’... an invaluable source book of material and stimulating argument for subsequent students of this field.’ Journal of the Printing Historical Society ’Mr. Gerard deserves praise for assembling and systematically analysing the illustrations of Sterne’s novels. The instructive catalogue of illustrations of Sterne’s works from 1760 to 2005 is a highly welcome reference source. Mr. Gerard’s highly readable good is recommended for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of Sterne’s works and the representation of sentimentalism.’ The Scriblerian