Studies in Literature and Culture
Re-Reading Great Expectations and Re-Thinking Its Genres: The Programmes of Illustration from 1860 through 1910
← 88 | 89 →Philip V. Allingham
Figure 1. John McLenan: Uncaptioned Headnote Vignette, 9.5 x 6 cm. Harper’s Weekly, 24 November, 1860. 740.
Although Dickens’s 1861 novel, written as a weekly serial out of desperation to save the circulation of his weekly journal All the Year Round from the adverse ← 89 | 90 →effects of Charles Lever’s A Day’s Ride, is acknowledged as a classic of English literature and is widely purchased and read, both in English- and non-English-speaking countries (sometimes even inspiring imitation and lampoon in such vehicles of popular culture as South Park), Great Expectations remains a novel not easily categorised, and not even acknowledged generally as a species of serial or illustrated fiction.
Among other positions that Great Expectations occupied, even at the outset, was that of an unillustrated serial in All the Year Round, an illustrated serial in Harper’s Weekly: A Journal of Civilization, an illustrated volume published by T. B. Peterson of Philadelphia (1861, again featuring the wood-engravings of John McLenan), an unillustrated Chapman and Hall first edition, and an Illustrated Library Edition (1862 and 1864, with a series of large-scale wood-engravings produced by Marcus Stone in collaboration with Dickens himself). Confusingly, many references simply assert that it appeared without illustration. And, of course, since those initial appearances Great Expectations have been illustrated in volume editions of Dickens’s works by such nineteenth-century artists as Sol Eytinge, Jr. (The Diamond Edition, 1867), F. A. Fraser (The Household Edition, 1876), Frederic W. Pailthorpe (The Kerslake Edition, 1885), Charles...
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