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Visual Culture and the "Alice" Books

How John Tenniel Changed Text-Image Relationships

Erin Frost

on 22 November 2010

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Transcript of Visual Culture and the "Alice" Books

Image source: http://blog.thecateatscheetos.org
Image Source: http://www.britannica.com
Dropping the
Image source: http://www.guardian.co.uk
"The act of borrowing, stealing, or taking over others' meanings to one's own ends. Cultural appropriation is the process of "borrowing" and changing the meaning of commodities, cultural products, slogans, images, or elements of fashion. In addition, appropriation is one of the primary forms of oppositional production and reading, when, for instance, viewers take cultural products and re-edit, rewrite, or change them in some way."
and the "Alice" Books
Sir John Tenniel
1865 - "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
1872 - "Through the Looking-Glass"
Source: Children's Literature Review, Vol. 18
Political cartoonist for Punch magazine for 50 years
"Tenniel is credited with changing the direction of English political caricature . . . for bringing artistic skill, impartiality, and wit . . . " (201).
pre-raphaelite influences
Sources: Sturken and Cartwright; Children's Literature Review, Vol. 146
Source: Sturken and Cartwright
attempt to portray objects as they truly are
Surrealism arises in the 20th Century, but Tenniel—
through Alice—may have helped start this movement that focused on the role of the unconscious in art, breaking down the line between what is real and what is imaginary.
Visual Culture
Major points
The illustrations were and are integral to the "Alice" books.
The context of John Tenniel's life changed how people read the "Alice" books.
The context and importance of Tenniel's images altered the way texts with images are read, foreshadowing the Internet era.
"Because the illustrations have become iconic for the various characters, the imaginative activity involved in reading the text-cum-illustrations is now simply part of what the book is" (Wartenberg 26).
Image Source: www.funcoast.com (copyright Disney from 1951 movie)
Source: www.alice-in-wonderland.net (copyright Disney from 1951 movie)
Source: www.alice-in-wonderland.net (copyright Disney from 1951 movie)
a religious image painted on a wood panel
a representative symbol
Le Loup et le Chien
(The Wolf and the Dog)
Tenniel's use of contemporary culture
Works Cited
Image source: www.punchcartoons.com
Knighted in 1893
Other works include "Aesop's Fables" and "Lalla Rookh."
In introducing these elements to the "Alice" books, Tenniel forever changed the trajectory of text-image partnerships by demonstrating the possibilities for placing them in intertextual conversation.
Chancellor Otto von Bismarck resigns at German Emperor Wilhelm II’s insistence.
"Iraqis celebrate the withdrawal of American combat troops" by Steve Bell
"Alice" illustration subtexts
Theophilus Carter as The Mad Hatter
Drawing for Church of Santo Spirito (Brunelleschi)
Madonna and Child (Artist Unknown)
During the Renaissance, artists grew more concerned with accurate perspectives in their work rather than assigning size based on importance.
Tenniel parodies Renaissance Perspective
Tenniel uses historical models
Image sources: www.internal.schools.net.au
Benjamin Disraeli as the man dressed in white paper and William Gladstone as the goat
Tenniel spoofs classical texts
Along with Carroll's text, Tenniel's Tweedle illustrations spoof classical notions of the "arming for battle" scene.
Tenniel draws connections to the corpus of his work
Critics note unmistakable similarities between this image and a cartoon Tenniel had drawn decades earlier in which he depicted Gladstone as a lion and Disraeli as a unicorn. (The symbols are drawn from the UK's Coat of Arms.)
How John Tenniel changed text-image relationships
by J. J. Grandville
"The Persistence of Memory" 1931, Dali
Questions? Contact the author at erinafrost@gmail.com
The end
"A theory of rhetorical delivery where a rhetorician strategizes the ways in which a third party may revise, recompose, and redistribute a text."
Source: Ridolfo
"It is also worth considering what happens when “image” is used to represent all that is not made exclusively of words. First, even if I were to pretend that the repertoire of communication materials available to us has nothing to do with other practices that shape what we do in the world, I think that “images”—if by that term we mean what many of us implicitly imagine when the term is used, a page-sized or no more than 3 by 3 realistically representational photograph, drawing, or painting—nonetheless exceed logics of space."
This presentation, for example, works because of two files: an audio file and a Prezi. But neither of these files makes sense alone, and neither of these files could ever have alone. They are intertwined in their very being, just as all images and texts are
not so separate as we might think.
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