Tomi Ungerer Museum/International Center for Illustration (Strasbourg)
Literary illustration between texts and paintings
Special guest speakers:
Stéphane Heuet, author of the graphic novel adaptation of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (first published by éditions Delcourt, translated into 15 languages)
Stephen Crowe, illustrator of Joyce (Finnegans Wake, ‘Wake in Progress’ project, and Dubliners, de Selby Press)
Many literary illustrators find their inspiration in paintings as much as in the texts themselves: Arthur Hopkins represents Hardy’s heroine Eustacia Vye in a pre-Raphaelite style, some of J. R. R. Tolkien’s landscapes in The Hobbit look like Japanese etchings, and in his adaptation of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, Stéphane Heuet bases Elstir’s paintings on the Impressionists. Thus literary illustration creates a relationship between texts, images and the many other images with which they interact. Rather than the traditional text/image dichotomy, the focus here is on text/illustration/painting, a triptych which can be analysed from many perspectives, among which hermeneutic, semiotic, narrative or aesthetic.
The artists’ social status will also be examined, including the reasons for becoming a literary illustrator rather than a painter, as well as those for pursuing both activities in parallel. The importance of art institutions (art schools, museums, collectors, publishers) in the relationship between painting and literary illustration also deserves a mention, as well as that of artists’ training, in order for instance to ascertain the role of painting in the genesis of illustrations. Is the hypothesis that the two activities are unequal always verified (for example, in the work of painters-illustrators like John Martin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais or Henry Selous, painting seems to inspire illustration, rather than the opposite)?
Possible areas for research and reflection include:
How do pictorial references in illustrations modify our reception of texts? For example, what happens when Bosch, Goya or Redon meet Poe, Nerval and Dostoevsky through Alfred Kubin’s drawings?
Does the pictorial style of an illustration echo that of the text, or is there a dissonance between them? We may look at aesthetic and chronological discrepancies, such as John Martin’s illustrations for Milton’s Paradise Lost in the romantic style of the 1830s.
How do illustrations and paintings relate to pictorial references in the text (Liliane Louvel’s theories in Iconotext and Le Tiers Pictural may be used as a framework here)?
Can the impact of classical training on illustrators be measured (Henry Selous at the Royal Academy, George du Maurier in the Paris atelier of Charles Gleyre, or Günter Grass at the Düsseldorf and Berlin Academies)?
What is the status of pictorial works inspired by literature, such as those taken from Shakespeare by Zoffany, Fuseli, Delacroix and others, Joseph Cornell’s surrealist collage Sorrows of Young Werther (1966) from Goethe, or the many illustrations of The Decameron,including Botticelli’s four famous paintings?
We are open to all theoretical and methodological approaches. English literature will be given priority, but as part of ILLE’s European perspective (www.ille.uha.fr), papers in other fields and areas of research will be considered. Papers may deal with all literary and artistic periods. French and English will be the working languages. Participants will be required to give a summary of their papers in both languages. There will be a publication. According to the objectives set by Illustr4tio (http://illustrationetwork.wordpress.com), contributions from academics, as well as writers, artists, publishers and other book professionals are welcome.
Please send 500-word proposals with short bio-bibliographies by 15th September 2014 to
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