While Haggard downplayed the seriousness of his fictions by characterizing them as "book[s] for boys" (Days I: 220), his contemporaries as well as more recent literary critics look to Haggard's boyish prose romances to elucidate decidedly adult themes. Sigmund Freud, for instance, said in The Interpretation of Dreams (1899) that Haggard's "strange book" She (1887) was "full of hidden sense" concerning "the eternal feminine" and "the immortality of our emotions" (317). Since the 1980s, postcolonial and feminist critics have done the most to position Haggard as an author meriting academic regard.1 Illustratively, Patrick Brantlinger has plumbed the cultural and historical significance of Haggard's, "quest romances with Gothic overtones in which the heroic white penetration of the Dark Continent is the central theme" (189). It is the intention of Visual Haggard to build on this rich body of scholarship by adding visual cultural studies to the list of critical inquiries that this Victorian author illuminates. This line of inquiry is especially fitting because visuality has long been important to Haggard's legacy. Graham Greene, articulating an experience shared by countless readers, traces the attractiveness of Haggard's novels to the facility with which, "he fixed pictures in our minds that thirty years have been unable to wear away" (209). While the vividness of Haggard's prose plays a significant role in the endurance of his novels, surely the novelist's illustrators added to the visuality of his novels.
Haggard offers a uniquely opportune case study for an illustration archive because his visually significant romances balance popular appeal with critical importance. Illustrated editions served as an effective means to invigorate (or reinvigorate) interest in a text, so late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century publishers tended to print several illustrated editions of Haggard's formulaic but almost invariably successful novels. Consider Haggard's lost world fiction King Solomon's Mines (1885), which sold the enormous quantity of 31,000 copies in its first year of publication, another 25,000 copies the year after, and it remains in print to this day (Pocock 63‚ 68). The publisher Cassel produced several illustrated editions of KSM in response to its popularity, including the 1888 edition illustrated by Wal Paget (1863-1935), the 1905 edition illustrated by W. Russell Flint (1880-1969), and a 1912 edition illustrated by A. C. Michael (n.d.). Importantly, within Haggard's bibliography the canonicity of KSM does not make this text's publication and illustration history altogether exceptional. Visual Haggard archives four editions of Haggard's far less canonical romance Dawn (1884), which was also illustrated by at least three different artists. The sheer number of Haggard editions published throughout the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, combined with the quantity and diversity of illustrations that Haggard's fictions compelled, make him a standout example for historians of literature and visual culture. This multiplicity of illustrations fosters a nuanced conversation about the visual lifespan of an author, illustrator, text, and publisher. By archiving these different editions, Visual Haggard uniquely empowers scholars to juxtapose a single text's multiple illustrated interpretations.
The close friendship between Haggard with his frequent illustrator Maurice Greiffenhagen (1862-1931) serves as another important reason why this novelist is of consequence to visual cultural studies. Unlike the more anonymous author-illustrator relations common during the fin de siècle, Haggard and Greiffenhagen's friendship nourished and informed both men creatively. This intimacy inspired Greiffenhagen to name his son Rider, and, for Rider Haggard's part, Greiffenhagen's She illustrations appealed to the novelist so strongly that he hung several in his Norfolk home–an honor not afforded to the first illustrator of She, E. K. Johnson (1825-96). In total, Greiffenhagen contributed illustrations to nearly a quarter of the romantic fictions Haggard published (twelve total), but it was the caliber of their accord that led many Victorians to consider their collaborations singular. The 1894 Art Journal, for instance, marveled at Greiffenhagen's sympathy with Haggard, as demonstrated not only by "the apparent ease with which…scenes have been depicted," but also by the "degree of mysticism…in a manner which must have captivated the author of the book by their evident comprehension of his story. For it is not given to every man rightly to interpret pictorially such stories as 'She'" (Temple 225-26). This mutual and cross-directional bond between illustrator and author creates unique interpretive opportunities for scholars. Visual Haggard highlights the overlapping critical, literary, and artistic biographies of H. Rider Haggard and Maurice Greiffenhagen, and thereby foregrounds reasons why Haggard's novels make an ideal subject for an illustration archive.
Visual Haggard intends, in large part, to fill a scholarly void. Despite Haggard's significant bibliographic relationship to the pictorial arts, access to illustrations from his novels remains scarce. I know of no current illustrated editions of KSM (including the popular Penguin and Oxford Classics editions), and while illustrated editions of She exist (I am thinking particularly of the 2002 Modern Library Edition with notes by James Danly, as well as the 2006 Broadview edition edited by Andrew Stauffer), opportunities to compare and assess this novel's several illustrators Johnson, Greiffenhagen, and Charles Kerr (1858-1907) has received little attention. Illustration's absence and marginalization in print extends to microfilm and digital reproductions. Illustrations are generally all-but illegible in microfilm reel form, a black-and-white duplication technology instituted in the early twentieth century, which erases all nuance in graphic images. Unfortunately this reductive and colorless reproduction method has carried over into the twenty first century. Many editions in Google Books and Internet Archive's vast scanned collection of nineteenth-century novels render illustrations haphazardly and in poor DPI quality. Reducing the size of these files keeps costs low for these databases, however grainy and low-resolution scans implicitly argue for the general unimportance of what illustration studies pioneer Paul Goldman terms "The Look of the Book" ("Defining" 17). Visual Haggard seeks to reverse the trend instituted by some digital archivists, like filmers and contemporary book publishers, of asserting illustration's secondary and therefore optional status. This archive takes illustrations out of the margins by suggesting that visuality deserves a more central role in nineteenth-century literary and cultural studies.
I collect and curate the illustrations of one popular nineteenth-century author to validate illustration's cultural and historical relevance. Although it is relatively uncommon for researchers and archivists to focus exclusively upon the illustrations of a single writer, as I have done in Visual Haggard, scholars of Charles Dickens provide a model for this type of illustration-centric research. Boz and his illustrators have received much scholarly attention, beginning with Frederic George Kitton's Dickens and his Illustrators (1899), and followed by Jane R. Cohen's Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators (1980), Valerie Lester's Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens (2011), and Robert L. Patten's George Cruikshank: A Revaluation (1974) and George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art, 2 Vols. (1992-96). While not as canonical as Dickens, Haggard and his illustrators trace a later and equally important moment in print history and literary culture. I am hopeful that the improved accessibility to the illustrations from Haggard's novels that Visual Haggard provides will incite similar kinds of scholarly researches. Moreover, because so many illustrations appeared repeatedly in serial and book edition forms, but often with significant changes from version to version, Visual Haggard opens up the possibility of tracing the progress and lifespan of illustrated objects.
I have endeavored to follow many of the best practices for labeling illustrations suggested in Paul Goldman's "Defining Illustration Studies" (21). For this reason each illustration archived in Visual Haggard is high quality and presented beside the important metadata of artist, edition name, page number, published date, publisher, publication city and image source. I also link each illustration to a page dedicated to the artist's biography. Haggard's illustrators played an active role in cultivating the reception of these romance fictions, and must be valued as such. Next, unlike the naïve, irreversible, and unscholarly image extractions of early illustration scholars Forrest Reid and Gleeson White (see Meyrick 201-18), the scans on Visual Haggard emphasize pictorial elements in Haggard's novels without destroying the physical books. What is more, I link all illustrations to available digital versions of the text on Google Books or Internet Archive. Although Visual Haggard cedes pride of place to illustrations rather than Haggard's more readily available prose, I do not wish to divorce these elements from one another. Finally, Visual Haggard incorporates social media engagement between visitors and the archive through its comment feature, and the site blog highlights sample scholarly approaches to the material. By contextualizing and improving access to illustrations for one representative nineteenth-century author, Visual Haggard constitutes an important, if relatively modest, revaluation of the visual in cultural history.
Visual Haggard is not a complete bibliography. I focus exclusively on illustrated editions of Haggard's novels, and omit editions that remain in copyright. For instance, Tauchnitz (Leipzig) published several copyright editions of Haggard's novels, but these were not illustrated and are therefore completely absent from the archive. I assemble the images in Visual Haggard from a variety of collections and libraries. Book illustrations are scanned and then improved using the open-source image manipulation software GIMP. I have regularized margins and removed imperfections to restore the illustration's appearance to the state publishers intended over a century ago. Visual Haggard's images are not mimetic copies from actual books. Most copies of Haggard's novels from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were printed on poor quality paper and have, therefore, deteriorated through foxing, tearing, fungal growth, and oxidation. I rarely (and if then minimally) alter the printed images themselves to correct discoloration and glare. However, the viewer can always construe the surrounding framing paper as idealized.
Visual Haggard takes the historical and cultural importance of illustration for granted. Although Goldman's "Illustration Studies" is a relatively recent academic field, even the more established disciplines of art history, literary criticism, book and print history, and cultural studies have all taken an increasing interest in the aesthetic and analytical significance of illustrations. Visual Haggard offers an innovative means of encountering and researching illustration. The images on this site can both stand-alone as independent art objects and add to the experiences of Haggard readers and scholars. It is my hope that this site will raise more questions than it answers. The illustrations that accompanied KSM, She, Dawn, and so many others, provide unique and interdisciplinary possibilities for research, at the same time they open avenues for appreciating nineteenth-century literary and visual arts that are too often forgotten.
Illustration StudiesIn this next section I will discuss some of the hurdles that researchers of illustration grapple with, as well as the opportunities that illustrated objects like those archived on Visual Haggard afford. Perhaps the most important barrier to studying illustration is defining it. In The Victorians and the Visual Imagination (2000), Kate Flint contends that illustrations "provide an interpretive gloss on the written word," because artists design these images as a means to compliment and expand on written texts (4). Paul Goldman, in much the same vein, argues that although "clarification, explanation, elucidation and illumination" are all important aspects of illustration, "interpretation…is what I believe to be the central purpose" ("Defining" 15). Therefore, Victorian illustrations should not be interpreted as secondary or derivative; they were often of greater value and interest to audiences than written texts.
Pictorial elements not only serve to explain aspects of a written text, they also insert an additional layer of meaning. The Victorians themselves were the first to study the history and interpretive significance of nineteenth-century illustration. Gleeson White's English Illustration: The Sixties, 1855-70 (1897) did much towards creating a market for these objects, and Forrest Reid followed suit during the twentieth century in Illustrators of the Eighteen-Sixties (1927). Reid and White established British prints as a worthwhile area of research, which opened the way for classic studies including J. R. Harvey's Victorian Novelists and their Illustrators (1971) and Roy Porter's "Prinney, Boney, Boot" (1986). Recent Victorianists have generated a wealth of scholarship about illustrations in mid- and late-nineteenth-century culture, a sampling of which includes Reading Victorian Illustration: 1855-1875 (2012), edited by Goldman and Simon Cooke; Book Illustrated: Text, Image, and Culture 1770-1930 (2000), edited by Catherine Golden; Rosemary Mitchell's Picturing the Past: English History in Text and Image, 1830-1870 (2000); and The Victorian Illustrated Book (2002) edited by Richard Maxwell. Numerous Victorianists have also written niche studies of nineteenth-century British illustration. One popular area of inquiry is the Pre-Raphaelite's influence on illustration, which is the subject of Lorraine Janzen Kooistra Christina Rossetti and Illustration: A Publishing History (2002) and Goldman's Victorian Illustration: The Pre-Raphaelites, the Idyllic School and the High Victorians (2004). But this list is only a compressed survey. Scholars of illustration have also considered the Victorian gift book, the relationship of prints to race and gender, and the conditions of illustration production, to name a few.
These scholars have done much towards explaining the ways in which the meaning of illustrations evolved in Britain over the course of the nineteenth century. Briefly, many books, especially during the Regency, were produced exclusively to showcase lavish prints. Publishers tended to pay less attention to the accompanying text than the visual elements. This was the case with Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque (1812), a popular book which Thomas Rowlandson illustrated prior to hiring William Combe to write the accompanying verses (Houfe 18). Throughout these decades, illustrations often followed the caricature model established during the eighteenth century. In the early years of Victoria's reign, illustrations began to appear more often in novels and they became increasingly naturalistic and sentimental. For instance, after killing 'little Nell' in The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41), Charles Dickens wrote his illustrator George Cattermole to ask him for a tailpiece, "giving some notion of the etherealised spirit of the child" (I: 44). Dickens likely intended for this sentimental and religious illustration to console the grief-stricken public for the heroine's loss. Illustration scholars generally consider the 1860s the "golden age" of British illustration. Unlike the mostly untrained illustrators of the 1830s and 40s, "artists of the Sixties…were typically accomplished painters in their own right, and their illustrations characteristically deploy the formal language of fine art" (Goldman and Cooke 1). In addition, technological innovations such as the rotary press generated an influx of periodicals and thereby expanded the illustration market. Adding to these industry advances, many illustrated texts became more complete collaborations between author and artist. For instance, George Eliot and artist Fredric Leighton worked together closely to produce the illustrations of Romola (1862-63) serialized in Cornhill Magazine. As the decades progressed, print technologies continued to develop, resulting in lower costs, improved quality, and an expanded market, but between approximately 1875 and 1920, the business of illustration experienced a more dramatic shift.
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the print industry became wholly and unrepentantly commercial, and this influenced every facet of illustration's production and dissemination. Literary historian Amy Tucker explains shifts in the illustration industry spanning the years between 1875 and 1900 as the result of "not only advances in printing and the corresponding growth of a mass audience but the beginnings of market-oriented patronage, the standardizing of copyright laws and reconfiguration of international markets, and the creation of a professional class of editors, writers, art directors, illustrators, and literary agents" (4-5). The business of illustration, particularly in Britain and America, reacted and responded to technologies of mass production. Therefore, although Frank Weitenkampf, a historian of engraving, calls these post-1875 years "a rich mixture of contesting ideals," typified by, "crass contrasts such as the half tone and William Morris" (185), the binary Weitenkampf and likeminded illustration historians propose ignores the complex material conditions responsible for creating these varying styles. There can be no question that the low-quality and often hackneyed halftone illustrations found in periodicals or cheap book editions contrast markedly from the high-quality engraved illustrations that Morris and other Arts and Crafts artists designed and hand printed for the Kelmscott Press. But beyond qualitative assessments, what made late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century illustrations stand out from earlier graphic elements in print was their function within a vibrant and professional industrial economy.
Haggard's publication history overlaps firmly with the commercial turn in Anglo-American printing. Illustrations were not created to challenge or instruct audiences, but rather to appeal to them as consumers. For this reason, the mass-produced images accompanying Haggard's novels usually fulfilled the expectations for realism of the novelist's intended audience. These pictorial representations also routinely indulged preconceived notions of normative racial and gender stereotypes. Although a broad and sustained cultural studies analysis concerning the illustration of Haggard's novels has yet to be written, in the past ten years two critics have touched on these issues in articles concerned with the publication of She, which the illustrated periodical The Graphic serialized between October 1886 and January 1887. Pascal Fischer explains in "The Graphic She" (2007), that Johnson's illustrations for Haggard's novel lend credibility to British imperialist project because "[e]ven the most fantastic elements of the novel appear less incredible when seen in the context of other images in the newspaper" (276). Fischer contends that in addition to promoting the perception of authenticity, the illustrations accompanying She may have served to "streamline…ideas about oriental women and African peoples" (272). In "Gladstone Bags, Shooting Boots, and Bryant & May's Matches" (2011), Julia Reid also explores the ideological function of Haggard's illustrations, but she focuses on ways in which, "[t]he Graphic's serialization of She illuminates the vexed relationship between the imperial romance and commodity capitalism" (155). Reid considers ways in which the Graphic's written and visual non-fiction elements concerning the British colonies mutually informed the imperial plot and illustrations of Haggard's romantic fiction. Both Reid and Fischer agree about the scholarly importance of, to use Fischer's words, "taking the graphic elements as well as the publication form of Victorian novels into account" (267). These critics use the publication of She to comment on British imperialism, while, at the same time, they more implicitly argue that Haggard's novels did not challenge dominant ideologies so much as express them to reveal their inner workings. It is my hope that Visual Haggard will spur further illustration studies concerned with the fin de siècle print industry as well as Haggard's novels specifically.
Digital HumanitiesI now turn my attention to considering what consequences, intended and unintended, result from digitally scanning, editing, and posting onto the Internet nineteenth and twentieth-century illustrations–and specifically those from Haggard's novels. The rise in digitization has unquestionably informed the way scholars and laypersons alike encounter and interpret cultural objects. Dino Felluga said in 2006 that "digitality is changing and will continue to change all aspects of our lives, including the way we do scholarship" (311). Every year this sentiment becomes more apparent to academics, and particularly those engaged in the digital humanities. Digital humanities is a type of scholarship concerned with the intersections between computers and culture. Computation alters not only the mode by which humanists conduct scholarship (for instance Kenneth M. Price and Ray Siemens's recent experimental Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology posted to MLA Commons), it also changes the questions scholars ask. What is 'media'? Is fiction algorithmic? How do databases oppose and contribute to ideas about narratives? Digital humanists consider ways in which technology can influence art and literature in order to weigh in on how best to answer these questions. Lev Manovich's Selfiecity, Matthew Jockers and Franco Moretti's Stanford Literary Lab, and Alan Liu's RoSE (Research-oriented Social Environment) are all digital humanities projects expanding the repertoire of literary and cultural studies by considering the role of computation. Visual Haggard follows these exciting projects, and suggests new subject matter for data visualization.
Digital archives like Visual Haggard are never passive or noncritical engagements with the past. How archives represent their material has repercussions bearing on issues of power and agency. Whose version of the past should be documented as well as the archive's form and structure are deeply meaningful. Ekaterina Haskins, a scholar of rhetoric, takes as a case study the September 11 Digital Archive, a democratic online database intended to document this tragedy's commemoration, to argue that the "archival memory" can become an alternative to the "traditional 'lived'" or "official memory" (401-02). Digitization has the capacity to enhance and democratize the archive's political and emotional power–a prestige the digital archivist must recognize and mediate accordingly. Digital humanities critics Daniel Price, Rex Koontz, and Lauren Lovings similarly suggest that curation is the next great frontier in digital scholarship. In their essay "Curating Digital Spaces, Making Visual Arguments" (2013), they argue that "[d]igital curating…allows for greater audience participation, both by expanding the potential audience and by allowing visitors to navigate through the virtual galleries under their own direction." Alex Poole echoes this focus on curation in "Now is the Future Now?" (2013). While academics have made much progress towards expanding the digital humanities–an aim explicitly articulated by the American Council of Learned Societies, and recorded in Our Cultural Commonwealth (2006)–but Poole adds that its success, "has depended and will depend not only on digital data, but also on their appropriate curation." The responsibility of online curators is significant and should not be undertaken lightly. Digital archivists are responsible for the selection, organization and contextualization of historical objects in a conscientious and useful manner.
In recent years hundreds of archives focused on historical figures and events have appeared online. Many of these digital archives are autonomous, but there is a growing demand for holding these digital projects to peer reviewed and scholarly standards. The most important refereed academic database of digital archives from the Victorian period is NINES, the Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship. Dino Felluga, part of the NINES founding steering committee, states that this forum may "offer one vision of how technology can redefine…the way we understand the aesthetic, epistemological, institutional, and ideological object that is the book" (314). Matthew Rowlinson notes that the transformation from print to digital sources has had profound implications for cultural scholars because, "this development is transforming the temporal organization of scholarly exchange, along with the forms of intertextuality and citation by which scholarly texts are linked to one another" (241). Importantly, NINES disrupts one of the greatest challenges to academics: publication copyright and archive paywalls. NINES's, "goal is to provide an open-source and open-content alternative to the commercial databases that currently exist" such as Jstor, EEBO, ECCO, and Project Muse (Felluga 314). Visual Haggard embraces this overarching goal of NINES by making the illustrations of H. Rider Haggard's novels open-source and free to the public.
Digital archives that are accessible through the Internet may now compete with the museum and the library as a viable means of encountering artifacts and texts, both visual and verbal. In some respects Visual Haggard usurps the traditional place of the art gallery or museum. Museum studies scholar Suzanne Keene argues that 1995 was the year "museums went digital" (299). Since then digital collections have become an essential component of nearly every historical, science, and art museum. The obstacles and benefits previously physical museums confront through the digitization process in many respects resembles that of this online illustration archive. Instead of viewing the images on a wall in what Brian O'Doherty calls "The White Cube," visitors to Visual Haggard click through illustrations grouped by novel, edition, illustrator, or keyword. Rather than physically approaching images in space, viewers must use the zoom function to "get close." Conversely, viewers may observe illustration thumbnails "at a distance," and beside a series of other illustrations that are related by virtue of having been published in the same edition, executed by the same artist, or depicting the same Haggard novel. All objects are labeled to identify and contextualize them, but much of their juxtapositioning remains audience driven. Visual Haggard disrupts the top-down seriality of the museum's tightly orchestrated exhibition model. Instead of a prescriptive viewing experience, the site's search bar and breadcrumbs enable users to create a unique viewing experience.
In addition to Visual Haggard's intersections with the art gallery and museum, this site also overlaps with the traditional library. Online libraries have already reconfigured the way audiences encounter books–and not just in terms of ebook readers and pixelated interfaces. In 2007 the DELOS Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries, an organization which prioritizes "Technology-enhanced Learning and Access to Cultural Heritage," positioned the "Digital Library as a tool at the centre of intellectual activity having no logical, conceptual, physical, temporal, or personal borders or barriers on information" (14). Digital humanists have spent much time considering how the book has transformed, and will continue transforming, reading and literature in the digital world. Alan Liu, taking his cue from Jacques Derrida's "the end of the book and the beginning of writing," contends that in the era of digitization the book has become in many ways an artifact, and scholars would do better to instead consider the role of "bookishness–meaning, roughly, the idea, psychology, sociology, value, and culture (if not also cult and religion) of the book" (511). Bookishness looks beyond the simple digitization of books and to the new human relationships with literature that the medium facilitates. The feeling that reading a book in codex form, much like seeing an artwork physically ensconced on the wall, is the only correct means of experiencing it will likely persist interminably, but there is a growing feeling among twenty-first century academics and digital humanists in particular that traditional means of literary consumption is not necessarily qualitatively superior to those metamorphosed by digitization. Illustration offers a particularly meaningful engagement with the digital because it has always been a catholic and hybrid form. Digitization adds another layer of significance to illustration and thereby serves to further critical consideration of this multivalent visual form.
The aim of Visual Haggard is to make many, and hopefully someday all, illustrated editions of Haggard's novels available in one scholarly resource. In this editor's statement I have considered several reasons why facilitating access to Haggard's illustrations is worthwhile. First, the popularity of Haggard's romantic fictions ensured that his novels garnered a rich and diverse number of illustrations and illustrators. Second, his personal and artistic connection with illustrator Maurice Greiffenhagen is unique to print history and worth concentrated scholarship. Third, Haggard's literary career overlaps with an important moment in print history that privileged graphic and illustrated texts. Finally, I use this statement to consider where Visual Haggard fits into existing illustration studies and digital humanities researches. While the interdisciplinary nature of Visual Haggard makes determining this project's critical territory difficult, I contend that the illustrations from Haggard's fictions not only help to further historical and cultural studies, these graphic works of art were created to compliment an author whose legacy is in many ways tied at its very core to ideas of visuality.
Kate Holterhoff, 4 November 2015.
Endnote(1) For representative feminist critics of Haggard see, Auerbach 36-42; Gilbert and Gubar 5-21; Libby 1-14; and Murphy 747-72. For representative postcolonial critiques of Haggard see, Di Piazza 88-98; Katz passim and ; Stiebel passim.
AcknowledgementsI would like to thank Catherine Golden and the referees at NINES for their feedback on an earlier version of this editor's statement. I am also grateful to Andrew Stauffer and Dino Felluga for their ongoing support in the creation of Visual Haggard.
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