Introduction: Modernity and the Visual

I had some understanding about how important images could be when paired with text. In my undergrad children’s literature class, it was discussed how the drawings were as important as the story in the Victoria era, but the importance of visual art within novels has seemed to fade away. The original copies that were illustrated can be bought today but with the images removed. I think it is very interesting how form was married to content, and the entirety of the magazines (down to when and how it was published) was a calculated expression of the magazine’s response to/struggle with modernity. An example of this being Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon waiting several years between the publication of The Dial: An Occasional Publication, as a way to champion quality over the new modern printing methods that chose quantity.

I also find it interesting how there was a recognized shift occurring within in Victorian society but many struggled to deal with it, while others accepted it. Modernism seems to be defined by the clash and transition between traditional and modern values and ideologies, so it is also intriguing that the push back against modernity is also considered a part of modernism. This includes the firing of Aubrey Beardsley from The Yellow Book for being associated with homosexuality but also the idea discussed in the reading, “Modernity and the Rise of Modernism,” that high literacy was a threat to culture.