Sandro Jung

Transnational Literary History, Print Culture, and Eigteenth-Century Book Illustration in Britain, France and Germany

The project, which will result in a large-scope monograph entitled Transnational Literary History, Print Culture, and Eighteenth-Century Book Illustration in Britain, France, and Germany, will draw on almost a decade’s worth of research on British and French, as well as, to a lesser extent, German book illustrations. It will contribute significantly to the mapping of the cultural history of the literature of Europe and the study of the mediating functions of copper-engraved book illustrations. The project will pay attention to the role of book illustrations in the formation of canons and argue for a re-conception of European literature on the basis of economic and print-historical factors that, in recent years, have been found to affect the theorising of canons of literary texts. Book illustrations will be understood as significant media of cultural transfer and as essential paratexts in the transnational European marketplace for illustrated books, a market that was characterised by continuous exchanges of text objects which, through their cultural inscription, promoted novel ideologies and fashions. The project monograph will offer a study of mediation in which the interpretive remit of illustrations as paratexts, as well as readers’ intermedial-semantic negotiation of texts and printed images, will be investigated. It aims to compile a standard descriptive bibliography of 18th-century literary book illustrations, study the largest corpus ever considered of British, French, and German literary book illustrations produced in the period, and recover contexts (involving the production and consumption of these illustrations) that have traditionally been neglected.