Books still get read (never mind the statistics), but, graphic art no longer seriously joins the push. In the 19th century heyday of ravenous literacy, the subjects of celebrity, history/politics, and science/ technology seldom became a fervid interest. Nor was the enshrinement of “unforgettable characters” the name of the game. Fictional stories, on the other hand, being recognizably touched by what was known as “Romantic tone,” became staples for many thousands of neo-bourgeois thinkers.
It is the repository of discreet Romantic rebelliousness which formed the first wave of illustrative input in the circulation of widespread Western literature. Another aspect of this early modern phenomenon was that of premiering the novels (or poetry) by way of serialization in multi-purpose magazines. The covers of these magazines often comprised visual evocations of the literary payload.
We’ll begin this tracing of that compound with an extraordinarily provocative assault upon Age of Enlightenment prosaicness. Milady and her entourage proclaim themselves, without a word spoken, to be–appearances notwithstanding–hard at work with fathoming the instinctive priorities not likely to be clearing up the Industrial Revolution any time soon. But, as we’ll see in the rest of the entries, mystery itself becomes a triumph of sorts.