Monday, February 25, 2013


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"It’s curious how much of literature we are conditioned to consider unliterary. Few would contest the canonization of Bleak House, Vanity Fair, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but these classics have something in common we may be prone to disregard: each was published with profuse illustrations, and in each case the author relied on the artwork not only to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the book but to add meaningfully to the story. […]
     I suspect that most fiction writers would instinctively agree that interacting with visual representations of a book in draft can help give shape to evanescent impressions or inspire new ideas. (In the most famous instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald 'wrote in' the image of T. J. Eckleburg’s haunting optometry billboard after seeing Francis Cugat’s dust-jacket design for The Great Gatsby) […]

Then there is the future of digital readers, which erode that largely theoretical firewall writers have installed to keep their work from the corrupting influence of film. E-readers allow you to read text, look at pictures, and watch videos on the same device; already, 'transmedia' books such as 2012’s The Silent History have appeared that combine all three elements into the reading experience. (E-readers will also relieve the strain of printing costs, one of the factors that have led publishing houses to discourage illustrations.)"
— Sam Sacks, The New Yorker
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