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Illustrators vs Editors, OR Publishers, Editors, and Illustrators

What does it mean for a publisher to invite an editor to annotate the text of PP at the same time as commissioning art work to accompany the work? We should recognize that editorial annotation seeks to inform, discipline, and promote an interpretative line on what the text means. What the notes take time to draw attention to can become more important for the reader. If the editor skips or only lightly annotates a section of text, is it less significant? It will look that way. And illustrations function the same way. In putting the text's words into a set figural form, the reader's imagination is shaped a particular way, influencing interpretation.


Illustrations come early in the life of PP. Annotated editions come about a century after initial publication. Illustrations were and are a savvy marketing strategy. Many book covers of PP which have both illustrations and editorial annotations draw attention to the presence and number of illustration, whereas the notes by so-and-so often only appear noted on an inside title page. Illustrated editions are distinctive, and abound, even as edited and annotated editions are aplenty. The former far outweigh the latter, especially, it seems, from mid 19th century - presumably due to the printing costs of paper, ink, etc and the market for a steady seller.


Kirsty Milne, I think it is, who notes that one of the earliest illustrations within PP is that of Faithful being martyred at Vanity Fair. She alert us to the fact that it is the political context of the trial that receives attention this way, and not the fair (still less the fairground, as sometimes depicted). Hence, in her reading, the illustration foregrounds legal-political questions rather than a criticism of commerce, but even occluding the religious and Protestant disapproval of the purchase and use of the (Catholic) 'Ware of Rome.'


In working on an article about the Shining Ones who meet Christian at the cross in PP part I, I've noticed that illustrators and annotators, while working from the same text, sometimes work at cross-purposes. Nineteenth century annotators are very keen to point to the three shining ones as representations of the Trinity. Illustrators, on the other, hand, overwhelmingly use stock images of angels in their renditions.


Although angels, biblically, appear as men, nineteenth century angels are predominantly female in appearance.

In some instances the wings are the big give-away;...




















in others, the ethereal floating six inches above the ground does it;...










but the women in white who actually seem to be, rather humanly, walking on the ground are the most ambiguous.


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