Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Germanic Languages and Literatures


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Lynne Tatlock


While today the word "illustration" often evokes children's books, in late nineteenth-century Germany illustrated literature was a serious, albeit embattled, literary mode for adults. Informed by book history and image-text studies, I argue that book illustration provides insights into how literary works were read and re-interpreted in the second half of the nineteenth century. My study examines six illustrated book editions by three German authors: Wilhelm Raabe, Theodor Storm, and Eugenie Marlitt. In the case of Wilhelm Raabe, I focus on two novels--Chronik der Sperlingsgasse: 1856) and Horacker: 1876)--which were published as illustrated editions in the same series in 1877 and 1876, respectively. In the case of Theodor Storm and Eugenie Marlitt, I examine two illustrated editions of each author's most popular work, namely Storm's Immensee: 1850; illustrated 1857, 1887) and Marlitt's Goldelse: 1866; illustrated 1871, 1890). Conceiving illustrations as an embedded narrative, I argue that every illustration represents an interpretation of the text it accompanies. These illustrations in turn influence how a later generation of readers encounters and understands the text. I contextualize these close readings through analyses of the polemical debates for and against illustration recorded in the literary, art, and family magazines of the period. In particular, I analyze how illustration was contested in explicitly gendered and nationalistic terms, with the illustration of Goethe's works serving as frequent catalyst for these debates.


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