ByPaul Goldman, Simon Cooke
Pages 12

Deathbed images occupy a significant place in the golden age of mid-Victorian illustration. With the key role in the construction of deathbed imagery, Victorian illustrations are part of what Roland Barthes in his discussion of another symbolic death calls the tissue of quotations that constitutes texts and pictures and situates them firmly within their cultural context. The instantly recognizable visual vocabulary of these illustrations, their repetition of and reference to similar scenes, exposes their interpictoriality in a way that is paradigmatic of Victorian illustration as a whole, which generates meanings not only in relation to the words it accompanies, but also in relation to other representations in circulation at the historical moment of its production and reception. Victorian illustration can move sequentially through a series of images that depict diverse parts of the text; it can reveal itself slowly, at a le.