Examining how the rise of book illustration affected the historic hegemony of the word, Keri Yousif explores the complex literary and artistic relationship between the novelist Honoré de Balzac and the illustrator J. J. Grandville during the French July Monarchy (1830-1848). Both collaborators and rivals, these towering figures struggled for dominance in the Parisian book trade at the height of the Romantic revolution and its immediate aftermath. Both men were social portraitists who collaborated on the influential encyclopedic portrayal of nineteenth-century society, Les FranÃ§ais peints par eux-mÃªmes. However, their collaboration soon turned competitive with Grandville's publication of Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux, a visual parody of Balzac's Scènes de la vie privée. Yousif investigates Balzac's and Grandville's individual and joint artistic productions in terms of the larger economic and aesthetic struggles within the nineteenth-century arena of cultural production, showing how writers were forced to position themselves both in terms of the established literary hierarchy and in relation to the rapidly advancing image. As Yousif shows, the industrialization of the illustrated book spawned a triadic relationship between publisher, writer, and illustrator that transformed the book from a product of individual genius to a cooperative and commercial affair. Her study represents a significant contribution to our understanding of literature, art, and their interactions in a new marketplace for publication during the fraught transition from Romanticism to Realism.
Keri Yousif is Associate Professor of French at Indiana State University, USA.
'This is a well-researched book written in a refreshingly clear style, and will certainly be of interest to those specializing in word-image studies and nineteenth-century culture more generally.' French Studies 'Balzac, Grandville, and the Rise of Book Illustration offers many advantages for teachers and researchers alike.' Nineteenth Century French Studies 'The durable changes through which Grandville and Balzac struggled were the inescapable consequence of mechanisms that Keri Yousif has lucidly identified in this study.' Sharp News 'In her focused study, Balzac, Grandville, and the Rise of Book Illustration, Keri Yousif delves straight into the competitive arena of book publishing by closely examining the careers of two exceptionally prolific individuals during the July Monarchy: writer Honoré de Balzac and illustrator J.J. Grandville. ... Although many studies have examined the technological and economic transformations of the publishing industry during this crucial time period, her book is perhaps the first study in English to illuminate the particular tensions that arose between writers and illustrators as each negotiated the terrain of the potentially lucrative market of illustrated books. ...' H-France Review 'That this work offers such a well achieved cross-disciplinary approach ensures that it would be a profitable addition to the reading lists of text-image and nineteenth century studies alike.' Publishing Research Quarterly 'Yousif provides perceptive and detailed analyses of Grandville’s illustrations and Balzac’s texts ... Readers interested in nineteenth-century literature, illustration, caricature, and the history of the book will find reading Yousif’s book a rewarding experience.' Rocky Mountain Review 'This volume is an important contribution to the study of the literature, art history, and cultural history of nineteenth-century France.' Modern Language Review