Writing, Authorship and Photography in British Literary Culture, 1880–1920: Capturing the Image 9781350196186, 9781350196216, 9781350196193

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Writing, Authorship and Photography in British Literary Culture, 1880–1920: Capturing the Image
 9781350196186, 9781350196216, 9781350196193

Table of contents :
Half Title
Introduction: Capturing the image
Part One Thomas Hardy, photography and reality
1 The figure of the author and amateur photography
2 Obscuring the boundaries: Art, imagination, photography
Part Two Bram Stoker, theatrical culture and the photographic heritage of the vampire
3 Photography, promotion and the theatrical profession in Bram Stoker’s correspondence
4 ‘Could not codak him’: Theatrical monsters and popular photography
Part Three Joseph Conrad: Photography, identity and modernity
5 Past and present lives: Conrad, heritage and literary celebrity
6 Modernity, mass media and moving pictures
Part Four Photography, memory, identity: Virginia Woolf’s prose and family albums
7 Virginia Woolf: Fact, fiction and photography
8 Photographic communities: Time, family and tyranny in The Voyage Out (1915) and The Years (1937)
Coda(k): Professional writing, leisure and class
Introduction: Capturing the image
1 The figure of the author and amateur photography
2 Obscuring the boundaries: Art, imagination, photography
3 Photography, promotion and the theatrical profession in Bram Stoker’s correspondence
4 ‘Could not codak him’: Theatrical monsters and popular photography
5 Past and present lives: Conrad, heritage and literary celebrity
6 Modernity, mass media and moving pictures
7 Virginia Woolf: Fact, fiction and photography
8 Photographic communities: Time, family and tyranny in The Voyage Out (1915) and The Years (1937)
Coda(k): Professional writing, leisure and class

Citation preview

Writing, Authorship and Photography in British Literary Culture, 1880–1920


Writing, Authorship and Photography in British Literary Culture, 1880–1920 Capturing the Image Emily Ennis

BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK 1385 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, USA 29 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland BLOOMSBURY, BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published in Great Britain 2022 Copyright © Emily Ennis, 2022 Emily Ennis has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Author of this work. For legal purposes the Acknowledgements on p. vii constitute an extension of this copyright page. Cover design: Rebecca Heselton Cover images: Camera shutter © Vitali/shutterstock. Wood texture © Vladislav Lyutov/ shutterstock All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc does not have any control over, or responsibility for, any third-party websites referred to or in this book. All internet addresses given in this book were correct at the time of going to press. The author and publisher regret any inconvenience caused if addresses have changed or sites have ceased to exist, but can accept no responsibility for any such changes. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. The publisher apologizes for any errors or omissions in the above list and would be grateful if notified of any corrections that should be incorporated in future reprints or editions of this book. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: HB: 978-1-3501-9618-6 ePDF: 978-1-3501-9619-3 eBook: 978-1-3501-9620-9 Typeset by Newgen KnowledgeWorks Pvt. Ltd., Chennai, India To find out more about our authors and books visit www.bloomsbury.com and sign up for our newsletters.

Contents List of illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction: Capturing the image

vi vii 1

Part One  Thomas Hardy, photography and reality 1 2

The figure of the author and amateur photography Obscuring the boundaries: Art, imagination, photography

21 33

Part Two  Bram Stoker, theatrical culture and the photographic heritage of the vampire 3 4

Photography, promotion and the theatrical profession in Bram Stoker’s correspondence ‘Could not codak him’: Theatrical monsters and popular photography

53 69

Part Three  Joseph Conrad: Photography, identity and modernity 5 6

Past and present lives: Conrad, heritage and literary celebrity Modernity, mass media and moving pictures

91 109

Part Four  Photography, memory, identity: Virginia Woolf ’s prose and family albums 7 8

Virginia Woolf: Fact, fiction and photography Photographic communities: Time, family and tyranny in The Voyage Out (1915) and The Years (1937)

125 137

Coda(k): Professional writing, leisure and class








Illustrations 1 James Franklin McLeay as ‘The Bat’, Gilbert & Bacon, Philadelphia 2a Photograph of Henry Irving, Napoleon Sarony, New York. Albumen cabinet card, 1890

63 65

2b Photograph of Ellen Terry, Napoleon Sarony, New York. Albumen cabinet card, 1880s


2c Photograph of Ellen Terry, Napoleon Sarony, New York. Albumen cabinet card, 1880s


3 ‘Photograph of Joseph Conrad as a child, inscribed “Pour Jessie” ’, Stanisława Krakow

4 The Conrads at Ravensbrook 5 Holland Trincham’s illustration for ‘Anarchist Conspirators in London’, Illustrated London News

91 98 112

Acknowledgements This book was finalized during the coronavirus pandemic. For that reason, I owe a great deal of gratitude to every curator, archivist and librarian for their invaluable help in tracking down digital versions of texts, digitizing images and providing me with guidance on the archives I was not able to visit. I also wish to thank everyone whom I have not engaged with directly but who have used the internet to create resources and make them available online for researchers so that work has not been completely stymied by global lockdowns. It has been a funny experience writing a book without a library, and more than ever before they feel like one of the nation’s (and the world’s) greatest assets. We must protect our libraries. The bulk of the research for this book was conducted as part of a PhD at the University of Leeds, which I completed in 2016. For that reason, I am profoundly grateful to my two PhD supervisors, Dr Nick Ray and Professor Bridget Bennett, for their incredible support and their profound attention to detail. My PhD studies were plagued with a number of interruptions, and I am so very happy that Nick and Bridget were able to provide their intellectual and emotional guidance at every step. This book is a testament to their incredible commitment and faith in me and my research. I would also like to thank Dr Matt Salway, who has been an inimitable peer and valued reader of my work from our master’s degrees until the present day and who has continued to be my closest friend despite geographical distances. Thank you for always knowing exactly what I want to say when I can’t say it. This book would also not be possible without my family, in the broadest sense of the word. They encouraged in me a lifelong love of reading and intellectual curiosity, and I am incredibly grateful for that gift. I am so happy to know that my grandparents Edward and Margaret Behan were both alive to see me complete my PhD, but I am sad that my grandmother was not able to know (and to boast) about my completing this book. I so wish I had been able to tell her what I’d accomplished. My sister, Josie, probably doesn’t think she’s contributed in any way to the completion of this book, but little does she know that the time she spent down the road doing her degree at the University of Sheffield was one of my major lifelines when things got tough. Finally, I’d like to dedicate this book to, and to thank enormously, my partner Simon. He has been a partner in every sense of the word, having seen me through a PhD and also a global pandemic with cups of tea, offers of proofreading and countless non-judgemental opportunities to back out of social plans when I felt I needed to work. Our relationship and my PhD are my two greatest achievements.


Introduction: Capturing the image

They were dignified records of historical events, not snapshots with a kodak.1

Evelyn March Phillipps’s words speak to a late-nineteenth-century anxiety about how writers chose to tell their stories in the emergence of popular photography. Although about a discussion on journalistic writing practices and norms, for her, photography, and specifically the new, cheap, popular form of photography, was synonymous with a new type of sensationalist storytelling. This new way of telling stories privileged ephemerality and emotion over the more dutiful and dignified narrative of events. In this new mode, photography became a metaphor for a transition in style and substance of professionally produced writing. In imaginations of professional writers, new journalism no longer resembled the writing of the past but the visual technology of the moment. Moreover, Phillipps’s comment expresses concern over both the style and producer of such writing. The invocation of the ‘snapshots with a kodak’ suggests implicitly that the control over narrative of historical events no longer rests within the hands of the professional storytellers, the journalists, but has been handed over to the everyman, of the amateurs, of the public. This book explores the circumstances from which the concerns of Phillipps and others emerged: how photography and writing became synonymous at the end of the nineteenth century, how the rise of the amateur photographer challenged the figure of the professional author and how photography transformed how and what stories were being told.

A photography for ‘everyone’? As is insinuated by Phillipps’s statement, many people thought the rise of popular photography provided the opportunity for the public to tell their stories their ways. Even from its provenance, early photography historians commended the medium’s democratizing power. In 1857, only eighteen years after the invention of photography, author and art historian Lady Elizabeth Eastlake commented on the ubiquity of the new medium:


Writing, Authorship and Photography Photography has become a household word and a household want; is used alike by art and science, by love, business, and justice; is found in the most sumptuous saloon, and in the dingiest attic – in the solitude of the Highland cottage, and in the glare of the London gin-palace – in the pocket of the detective, in the cell of the convict, in the folio of the painter and architect, among the papers and patterns of the millowner [sic] and manufacturer, and on the cold brave breast on the battle-field.2

Her use of asyndeton here mirrors the evergrowing and diverse applications for the new and unique visual tool. On the one hand, its status as a ‘household word’ is a result of the wide and varied uses for it that she describes. On the other hand, it is a ‘household want’ because of its status within the home, in domestic spaces from the Highlands to London. The connection made by Eastlake between ‘household word’ and ‘household want’ reveals how, in her view at least, photography’s popularity was inextricably connected to its prevalence in the Victorian home. But Eastlake’s claim about photography’s domestic ubiquity is problematic in its presumption of photography’s affordability and accessibility. She describes photographs as objects in ‘the pocket of the detective, in the cell of the convict, in the folio of the painter and architect’ as well as ‘among the papers and patterns of the millowner [sic] and manufacturer, and on the cold brave breast on the battle-field’.3 And yet, for such widespread use of photographs, the image itself would need to be small and portable and most likely paper so that it forms a part of the millowner’s papers and the architect’s folio. To be in paper form, the image would have needed to be reproduced from a negative. While such portable photographs could be manufactured by the collodion plate, the virtues of which Eastlake extolls,4 these were not as cheap and accessible as she implies. And, while the emergence of the carte de visite during the 1850s signalled a transition to cheap portraits, these images did not prove popular until 1859 at the earliest, when André-Adolphe Eugène Disdéri captured the image of Napoleon III.5 It seems highly unlikely that Eastlake is referring to cheap cartes de visite but in fact earlier – more expensive – plate-produced images. The accessibility of photography was even undermined by Louis Daguerre, who developed the photographic practice in France. He too celebrated its ability to give voice to the everyman through the power of images: Everyone, with the aid of the DAGUERREOTYPE [sic], will make a view of his castle or country-house: people will form collections of all kinds, which will be the more precious because art cannot imitate their accuracy and perfection of detail; besides, they are unalterable by light. Even portraits will be made, though the unsteadiness of the model presents, it is true, some difficulties [which need to be overcome] in order to succeed completely.6

The ‘everyone’ with which this description opens is subsequently undone by the suggestion that the camera operator might be able to capture images of his castle or country house. ‘Everyone’ is not really everyone. Daguerre’s clientele is a privileged class for whom photography is another way to document their wealth. The same issue



subsists in Eastlake’s essay, where the apparently ubiquitous photography is more likely reserved for those practitioners who could afford cameras and those viewers who could afford expensively reproduced images. In fact, it was not until the establishment of George Eastman’s Kodak Company in 1888 that ‘everyone’ could take photography into their own hands, literally. Kodak, which offered the reassurance of ‘you push the button, we do the rest’, was a pioneer of cheap portable photography and remains synonymous with the snapshot. Kodak removed the camera from the hands of the few and placed it into the hands of the many. Building on the success of the gelatine plate introduced in the late 1870s, George Eastman began to mass produce and market cheap, portable film and developed an inexpensive, easy-to-use camera for the masses. For the first time the camera operator no longer needed the time, wealth and knowledge of chemicals in order to capture the image.7 One simply needed to send the camera back to Kodak and await the photographic prints. George Eastman’s Kodak Company built on a suite of successes and photographic technological advancements that took place in the decades following Eastlake’s and Daguerre’s premature celebration of photographic democracy. These technological advances included not only the production of flexible film but also, in the case of Kodak, the production of roll film long enough for one hundred negatives, cheap cameras such as the Brownie and an image development service that meant Kodak really did do all ‘the rest’.8 In the first few decades of the twentieth century, further developments of photographic plates and films reduced the amount of powder and time required to use a flash effect,9 which not only made the process safer but also meant less discipline-specific knowledge, particularly of photochemistry, was required to produce an image. As Kate Flint attests, the emergence of popular photography is synonymous with flash equipment, transforming not only how photographs worked (their chemistry) but also about how (which camera) and who (more and more people) could take them.10 In fact, throughout the late nineteenth century, technological advancements meant that an increasing number of people gained access to photography and cameras. Certainly, Nancy Armstrong has suggested that by the 1860s photographic portraits were ‘no longer reserved for people of birth, wealth, or prominence’. Nonetheless, she also notes that such portraits were seen in a way ‘specific to the modern middle classes’,11 implying that while photography increased in popularity, those practicing photography were subject to the same artistic and cultural standards as the upper- and middle-class practitioners who pioneered the medium. In other words, while more people could afford to have their photograph taken, how photographs were viewed was still limited by a bourgeois photographic gaze. This, in turn, is what enabled cultural spokespeople such as Phillipps to cast judgement on a specific class of photographers or a specific class of photographic images. Nonetheless, amateur photography played an integral role in defining popular culture precisely because it catered exclusively to the public. When George Eastman chose the name for his company, he deliberately chose one that would be perfect for the masses: as a nonsense word it represented both everyone and no one simultaneously. The name he settled on was ‘Kodak’, which, Eastman explained,


Writing, Authorship and Photography was purely an arbitrary combination of letters, not derived in whole or part from any existing word, arrived at after considerable search for a word that would answer all requirements for a trademark name. The principle of these were that it must be short; incapable of being misspelled so as to destroy its identity; must have a vigorous and distinctive personality; and must meet the requirements of the various trademark laws.12

The name itself reflected the ethos of the company. It could be pronounced by all and used in every country without prior connections to any other word or company; in the same way, the camera could be used by all and sold to all. As John Tagg notes, the technological developments of photography made by George Eastman and his contemporaries opened up new consumer markets to amateurs in particular.13 The universal recognition of Kodak’s success meant that despite being an American company, Kodak became synonymous with photography in Britain. Thomas Hardy, Bram Stoker, Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolf all used the word ‘Kodak’ in their writing, to mean, as a noun, the photographic image or, as a verb, the act of taking a photograph. Although they do manage to misspell ‘Kodak’, this in fact speaks to the ubiquity and democracy of the word: it has been made its own in the language of its users. But most importantly, this name allowed Eastman to market his product in a way that gestures towards the idea of the public-as-consumer, something mirrored in the writing profession also. Practice and product became inextricably bound. This book reconsiders this relationship between the consumer markets of photography and literature. Significantly, this book is not about the connection between photography and literary realism, as has previously occupied critical thought in this area.14 As Lindsay Smith notes, ‘Only particular versions of Victorian photography can, and ever have, been able to offer such forms of normative realism’;15 drawing direct stylistic comparisons between the two media homogenizes both writing and photography unnecessarily. This book is also not about how photography drastically revised how vision and acts of looking were imagined at the turn of the twentieth century. As Jonathan Crary argues, the stereoscope was far more successful than the camera obscura in revolutionizing vision in the nineteenth century,16 as it worked more analogously to binocular vision. Certainly, the emergence of the camera as a novel medium did transform acts of looking, ‘calling into question the concept of a faithful transcription by the artist of the external world’,17 but once more this imagines the photograph as a representational rather than an optical tool. Where this book does engage with sight and photography, it is through the way in which people look at photographs themselves, rather than through the camera’s lens. This book is in fact about how popular, amateur photography, at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, provided both a provocation for rethinking the profession of literary authorship and a means through which this rethinking could happen. To do this, I focus on four authors writing between 1880 and 1920: Thomas Hardy, Bram Stoker, Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolf. Each of these authors contributed to British literary culture during this transformational moment at the end of the nineteenth century, and each of these authors were interacting in diverse ways with photography. They address the anxiety-inducing and



inspiration-providing duality of popular photography, while also communicating the cultural crises facing British professional authors at this moment in time. Exactly why literary anxieties arise alongside cultural concerns about photography are various, ranging from fears around technology, economic and social class, personal identity, the rise of literary modernism, the conflation of public and private space, the emergence of many forms of mass media, increased literacy rates and more besides. However, this book focuses on just three central tenets for unpicking the literary fascination with photographic practices. These are composition, culture and class. These central tenets are, at times, overlapping. For example, methods of literary composition, which include both approaches to and style of writing, necessarily overlap with literary culture. This culture likewise both shaped and was shaped by the interrelatedness of writing and photography, and which likewise shaped and was shaped by exactly which authors participated in British literary culture between 1880 and 1920. Culture and class are likewise interdependent, with changes in class dynamics shaping both how British literature was produced and for whom. As photography seemed to be a potent force for social democratization – at least by the authors here discussed – the questions about the democratization of all culture, which included cultures of literary production and consumption, came to the fore. As this book progresses, I will demonstrate how such anxieties about composition, culture and class extended into the professional and personal lives of these four authors in diverse and unique ways, raising questions about who both literature and photography are for and, by extension, exactly what position both the literary author and the photographer might occupy in a world that was being rapidly transformed by shifts in mass consumer tastes. As a result, this book likewise questions to what extent class might determine the value of literature or photography – a question of the middlebrow – and for that reason I draw on a diverse range of authors and texts (diverse in genre, form and perceived readership). Beginning with Hardy, who parodies the seemingly automatic work of photographers and literary realists alike, and moving towards Woolf, herself an avid amateur photographer, this book considers how the role and figure of the British author was shaped over such a short period of time. How such authors’ opinions on photography transformed across this period reflects how popular photography and British writing co-evolved during this time. Technological developments facilitated this co-evolution by increasing the mass dissemination of both literature and photography and, in the case of the halftone printing press, literature and photography alongside one another. On the one hand, the relative cheapness of new amateur photography ensured that the medium was no longer restricted to the social and cultural elite. On the other hand, increasing literacy rates and the growth of inexpensive books and periodicals likewise ensured the growth of a new reading public. As a result, mass media – both written and visual texts – attempted to appeal to both new readers and new photographers. Since text and image were frequently bound together and continued to define one another throughout this period, photography challenged the very concept of the literary representation of everyday life and, by capturing the image of real life, threatened to destabilize the role previously played by writers. In a sense, photography appeared to foreshadow a cultural death of the author.18


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Photographies and literatures In the works of fiction this book explores, photographs appear through moments of ekphrasis, rather than as literal objects within the material object of the book. This means that these texts include photographs as objects which a character might view, or a character or narrator might use photography as a way of understanding the world, but the reader does not have a copy of these images printed within the text itself. As such, these photographs are experienced through the fictional characters and/or the narrators and are therefore intermedial: where one medium is inserted in a different medial context.19 Consequently, the photographic image and the text are read together simultaneously. Even though this book thinks about photographs as textual objects, and therefore uses close reading and literary analysis to understand the image, to some extent the relationship between text and photograph has always been interdependent. As Jennifer Green-Lewis attests, when photographs began to intrude upon the world of the textual it was impossible to undo the ramifications: More than images merely slotted into a text, when photographs entered the language of newspapers and novels they bled into discourse; they shaped and infiltrated the very thing that attempted to define and describe them. They left traces of themselves.20

In other words, the co-relation of the two discrete media – photograph and text – together on the same page ushered in a new interdisciplinary way of thinking about both. David Cunningham, Andrew Fisher and Sas Mays describe a similar effect, arguing that the adjectives that have come to stand in for these discrete media – ‘photographic’ and ‘literary’ – need no longer apply to just them, creating a world in which a photograph might be literary or a text deemed photographic. For them it is the ‘very similarity between photography and literature’ that elides these boundaries, especially within the field of cultural studies.21 The co-dependency of literature and photography from the nineteenth century onwards stems from their shared technological history. The photographic and literary worlds finally coincided with the invention of the halftone printing press by Frederic Ives of Philadelphia in 1881, the first commercially viable, fully mechanical method of reproducing photographic images alongside print. Different printmaking methods had been tried throughout the forty years between photography’s invention and Ives’s press, but none had been as successful. The halftone printing press reduced photographs to a series of dots on a prepared plate and could be mounted at text height on the press. Prior to the halftone, previous methods of image reproduction, such as engraving or lithography, or, more specific to photography, photogravure or photolithography, required preparation by hand. The reproductions were expensive, and the by-hand transposition process often led to errors or discrepancies between original and reproduction. Furthermore, the resulting images could not be replicated on the same page as text, meaning that their relative expense was high and largely limited to luxury versions of books and pamphlets.22 To the mass public, who evidenced their craving



for images in their amateur photography, such methods were unmarketable. The irony of this was that photography – derided by many for its mechanical nature – ‘could not itself be easily mechanised’.23 Timothy Sweet has stated that the growing initiative to use images alongside printed text saw the emergence of ‘categories of appropriateness’ for the text itself.24 Essentially, photographic reproduction forced major publishing houses to reconsider the style and genre of fiction that they would disseminate. The forty-year period between 1880 and 1920 saw far-reaching transformations within both British publishing and in the world of photography. But this was not a coincidence. François Brunet has used the phrase the ‘graphic revolution’ to indicate how photography and literature developed in tandem at this time.25 He describes how what appears initially as a ‘pattern of increasing literary sympathy for photography’ and a ‘literary sensibility of photography’ is not the two media growing in isolation or succession but a shared historical period in which the two media developed alongside one another.26 While this book reflects on the different and diverse forms photographic images took during this moment of profound change, it begins first with the emergence of snapshot photography in the 1880s and closes in 1920, when the advent of commercially produced sound cinema, ushered in by the invention of sound-on-film in the early 1920s, transformed how the photographic image was used. The rise of proto-cinematic photography is considered in this book in the sections on Joseph Conrad and Bram Stoker. Significantly, it is also in the 1920s, shortly after the end of the First World War, that photography ‘had (temporarily) become a singular medium fit for the consumer marketplace’.27 This focus on the marketplace is vital and demonstrates how both photography and British literary culture co-evolved in response to market demands of a new mass public. This technological co-evolution of the two media meant that writers often compared the technical processes of writing with those of photography. Thomas Hardy was particularly concerned about the automaticity of the camera, which seemed to remove artistic control. However, those writers who understood both media saw the connection between writing and photography as an opportunity. In 1855 Lewis Carroll, himself a photographer, drew parallels between the two processes to highlight the significance of artistic control. His short comic vignette ‘Photography Extraordinary’28 describes how an ordinary man is connected to a photosensitive plate through a ‘mesmeric rapport’.29 By the power of thinking he is able to produce some writing belonging to the much-derided ‘milk-and-water School of Novels’ upon the plate.30 This plate is then successively dipped into photograph developing fluid, improving the prose on each dunk, suggesting that, like developing a photographic image, the process of writing requires time, skill and the correct (chemical) manipulation and editing (a far more favourable opinion on photography’s mechanical nature than those expressed by Phillipps and Hardy). Despite this connection between the processes of writing and photography, when it came to the photograph itself there was some doubt whether the photographic image and text shared either connotations or denotations. Certainly, in ‘The Photographic Message’, Roland Barthes stresses that text and image often cooperate to deliver information. He argues this by turning to the relationship press images have with their captions as well as the writing that appears alongside them.31 Thus, on a semantic level the aims of writing and the aims of photography are


Writing, Authorship and Photography

similar: they provide information, whether factual or fictional. However, critics who combine analyses of literature and photography often consider the connections between text and image to be formal or stylistic. In taking this route, critics often neglect the existential relationship between reality and its photographic representation, favouring instead the devices and ideas – such as realism – that can be read across both text and image. For the four authors discussed in this book photography becomes a metaphor within their fiction. This metaphor is a reflection on the extent to which photography became a method of imagination. But their fiction and non-fiction too also reveal a profound interest in using photography to conceptualize the literary craft, professional authorship and the tastes of the public. This reflects many of the anxieties of the period, especially around the idea of professionalism and amateurism, which were complexly entwined with an anxiety about public taste.

The amateur and the professional During the nineteenth century, a schism emerged between the ‘professional’ and the ‘amateur’ in both photographic and literary communities.32 Such debates were inextricably connected to the pursuit for authenticity, for engaging in the ‘real’ version of a particular pursuit, like writing, in a time of increased mechanization.33 Other leisure pursuits were likewise confronted with an increasing professionalization of amateur activities through regulation.34 The separation of the professional and the amateur became a mass cultural crisis, and this was largely because the term ‘amateur’ could not easily be defined. The term was used in two different and contrasting ways throughout the nineteenth century regarding photography. In the first era of the amateur photographer, taking place roughly between the 1830s and the 1870s, the term was applied to a ‘literate audience with leisure and money to spend on hobbies that they did not think of as intellectual pursuits’.35 In other words, such photographers were not like Louis Daguerre or William Fox Talbot, who were interested in developing photography scientifically, but belonged to a rich, privileged, leisure class. The second stage of the amateur photographer began in the late nineteenth century and still continues. It was and is easily defined as people ‘who had no interest in photography as a craft or a phenomenon and who wanted only to make pictures’.36 This is the mass public, those who take photographs not for a profession but as a means of cataloguing moments of their life. The debates surrounding the amateur and professional in literary circles were likewise preoccupied with class and the rationale behind the production of ‘art’. The professionalization of the author and his trade, the circulation of mass media (periodicals, serials and magazines) and the burgeoning generation of new readers and the emergence of literary modernism have long been considered pivotal components to understanding nineteenth- and twentieth-century writing.37 Yet, one of the key developments in the nineteenth century was the creation of authorship as a distinct profession, where writers featured as part of a wider system of editors and literary agents. This contributed to a distinct culture and class within writing communities at this time. Conrad frequently wrote to his literary agent J. B. Pinker, and later, his son



Eric Pinker, to discuss the technicalities of his writing. Likewise, Hardy was engaged in a long correspondence with the writer and editor Hermann Lea, who wrote and published Thomas Hardy’s Wessex in 1913. As writing responded to a growing literary marketplace, how authors interacted with each other and with their audiences necessarily became professional and as a result required careful professional management. This meant that roles within the literary industry diversified as it commercialized, leading to a sudden growth in professional figures and institutions that were connected to the business of writing and publishing. Such figures and institutions included literary advisors, syndication agencies and professional associations including the Society of Authors, which was established in 1884, and the Publishers’ Association, which was established twelve years later. Nonetheless, this newly created literary marketplace remained unsure about how the ‘professional author’ might be financially defined. According to Isaac Disraeli, the professional author emerging from the nineteenth century had to have ‘no other means of subsistence than such as are extracted from the quill’.38 The result was twofold. Firstly, authorship was now no longer exclusively a pursuit of the middle and upper classes (especially men) but a profession. This meant that numbers of those identifying themselves as authors, editors and journalists increased,39 and the creation of authorship as a separate profession in the 1861 Census both allowed those practising the art of writing to announce their trade and allowed new authors – inspired by the trend of professional writers – to begin writing. Essentially, writers were no longer limited by their need to financially support themselves alongside writing or their ability to find a wealthy patron: writing was supposedly an industry in and of itself. Even so, the income of the author became a difficult topic in the nineteenth century. The 1861 Census neither delimits nor describes the income of the author, as Disraeli does. Such figures, then, could include those authors for whom writing was not their only method of income. This is where the distinction between professional and amateur became problematic. G. H. Lewes noted that it was by ‘reviews, magazines, and journals that the vast majority of authors earn[ed] their bread’, and the quality of prose remained high even if the writer received only ‘sufficient remuneration’.40 But in practice, it was more likely that professional writers could not support themselves on their literary output, nor did they want to restrict their writing to certain serial publications. Nonetheless, it was the financial definition of the professional that endured throughout the nineteenth century and which extended likewise into discussions within the photography community. In 1885, the journal Amateur Photography turned to this definition in order to define the figure of the amateur in response. In an equally elusive way to Lewes, the journal decided that the ‘distinction between an Amateur and a Professional is, the latter lives by his art, and the former does not. The payment of expenses is a side question.’41 While obviously about photography, the definition itself is so broad as to contain within it a debate about all professionalism. Contrary to Lewes’s definition, however, was that Amateur Photographer completely removed the criterion of economic remuneration from their understanding of the professional. It is a ‘side question’. In this way, living by one’s art becomes a philosophy, rather than a necessity. Significantly, within the photographic community, both the professional and the amateur photographer


Writing, Authorship and Photography

were producing ‘art’, but the difference was the philosophy behind creating such art: living for/by it. Nonetheless, producing art for art’s sake necessarily implicated the question of financial remuneration. Peter D. McDonald argues that avant-garde writers – those we might consider producers of art for art’s sake – would no doubt require either a private, or very basic income, or would need to write pseudonymously for serial publications.42 This led to a tension between what McDonald terms ‘purists’ – those interested in the production of art – and ‘profiteers’, those for whom writing offered financial compensation.43 The distinction within British literary culture between the two types of author – both held simultaneously under the umbrella term ‘professional author’ – involved, then, a distinction between what those authors produced, between mass media and ‘art’. Just as Grace Seiberling and Carolyn Bloore make the distinction between the first wave amateur, the cultured gentleman class, and the second wave amateur, the everyday hobbyist, so too was this division constructed in the world of professional authorship. This crisis troubled and was reflected by the four authors at the heart of this book. Despite Thomas Hardy’s objections to mass media, in which he claimed the magazine and the circulating library ‘directly tend to exterminate [life] by monopolising literary space’,44 he welcomed the one-third increase in fees from Harper’s Magazine from having submitted a piece of writing that was one-third longer than anticipated. He even wrote about it in Athenaeum on 23 December 1882 to encourage other writers to submit to American publishers.45 So, even traditionalist writers like Hardy depended on serial publications, even while they saw them as a direct threat to the purity of literary art. Therefore, although there was an artistic crisis in the mass publication and dissemination of literature, it was at odds with a drive for increased professionalism. How authors truly defined professionalism might be better understood by how they categorized their writing within the public domain, especially where the public was likewise undergoing rapid transformations at this moment.

Mass media, the middlebrow and modernism If authors now lived on the money earned by writing, then that writing needed to be directed to the mass market. As wages increased and average book prices decreased,46 and as literacy rates soared as a result of government initiatives,47 a new, so-called ‘common reader’ was born. This reader wanted short prose works delivered in periodicals, rather than long-form novels, and the market responded. Examples of mass-produced and mass-disseminated publications were Tit-Bits, founded in 1880 by George Newnes; Answers to Correspondents, founded eight years later by Alfred Harmsworth; and Pearson’s Weekly, founded two years after that by Cyril Arthur Pearson.48 Just as a new amateur had emerged in practical photography, a new reader emerged in British literary culture. For some this led to a return to the discussion of literary art. Wilkie Collins gave voice to the growing fear of a new public, ‘The Unknown Public’, which desired penny journals, and who preferred quantity of writing over quality, and who made up the public reading majority beyond the ‘literary world’ of publishing houses, book clubs and circulating libraries.49 Because of the new



mass public, Conrad imagined that he would never become a popular author, claiming that he ‘never had the ambition to write for the all-powerful masses’ and that he did not have ‘the taste for democracy’ required to do so.50 Moreover, Conrad supposedly disliked popular authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Hall Caine,51 the latter of whom is pastiched in The Inheritors (1901). The anxiety surrounding the mass reading public existed for Woolf too, even though she went on to extoll the virtues of the ‘common reader’.52 Jane Garrity notes the precarious place Woolf occupied in relation to mass culture, in which Woolf ’s allegiances were divided between her upper-class affiliation, her desire to make a living at journalism and her identification with women as a subordinated group.53 Moreover, while her co-ownership of the Hogarth Press also enabled her to set precedents for literary taste, and to ‘escape the demands of publicity, to perceive herself as separate from the marketplace’, she remained ‘deeply immersed in the issues of literacy circulation and capital’.54 Woolf ’s relationship to mass culture was necessarily gendered. When it came to practicing photography, women were more likely to have more leisure time than men of the same social background, even if women had to fight for ‘admission to the societies where information concerning scientific and technical developments was discussed’.55 But her approach to both photography and literature – two cultures defined in their relation to the mass market – was likewise rooted in class. In an unpublished letter to the editor of The New Statesman, written in 1932, Woolf attempts to define the ‘middlebrow’ as both a group of people and a style which represents the absolute middle of cultural taste and therefore is synonymous with mediocrity. She imagines this in relation to her own class and income: We highbrows, I agree, have to earn our livings; but when we have earned enough to live on, then we live. When the middlebrows, on the contrary, have earned enough to live on, they go on earning enough to buy – what are the things that middlebrows always buy? Queen Anne furniture (faked, but none the less expensive); first editions of dead writers, always the worst; pictures, or reproductions from pictures, by dead painters; houses in what is called ‘the Georgian style’ – but never anything new, never a picture by a living painter, or a chair by a living carpenter, or books by living writers, for to buy living art requires living taste.56

Her distaste for this new style-defining class is palpable here, even before she goes on to promise that ‘if any human being, man, woman, dog, cat or half-crushed worm dares call [her] “middlebrow” [she] will take [her] pen and stab him, dead’.57 Although the first use of the term ‘middlebrow’ comes later than the timeline set out in this book, in 1923,58 as with the fear surrounding the unknown public or the common reader, the middlebrow is representative of the absolute average cultural taste of the period, and such anxieties certainly predate the first use of this phrase. In fact, the concept of the middlebrow highlights the ‘powerful anxieties about cultural authority and processes of cultural transmission’ and is likewise a ‘nexus for prejudice towards the lower middle classes, the feminine and domestic, and towards narrative modes regarded as outdated’.59 As such, Woolf ’s own distaste for the middlebrow becomes a marker of her own hypocrisy and the complicated position in which she finds herself


Writing, Authorship and Photography

in her triple role as amateur, professional and woman. Yet cultural taste could not be separated into upper and lower class, or high and low brow, but was instead tripartite. Middlebrow fiction ‘was driven first by the economics of a new readership’ instead of a ‘literary impulse, emerging as established ways of selling stories changed from hefty and high-priced three-volume books to the cheap edition and the multiple edition sold at different prices for a range of readers’.60 Aware of, or in response to, a middlebrow mass media, modernism emerged as yet another way of stratifying both cultural production and literary culture with its focus on art for art’s sake. Yet while the ‘appearance of modernism, a form of aesthetic elitism apparently self-consciously designated on 1890s purist lines’, seemed to emerge explicitly in reaction to the mass market, the idea of a clear break between the past and the modern, and between the mass market and modernism, does not exist. Rather, participants in literary culture in this transition period, largely between 1880 and 1920, ‘not only played important roles in each others’ [sic] lives and works, they also frequently thought of themselves as part of the same literary tradition’.61 For this reason, in this book I do not aim to provide an argument for how photography impacted the lives and art of the self-proclaimed modernists, but I instead view photography as a profound and elemental part of the concept of modernity. This book acknowledges and builds upon the idea that the ‘photograph collapses all time into the now of looking’, playing with the ‘immediacy of being and the ways available to use to represent that situation’,62 but disavows the reductionist approach others have taken in conceptualizing photography alongside modernism as ‘a break with the traditional conventions of realist and naturalist literary form and their credible and emotional worlds’.63 In covering the period 1880 to 1920 I am self-consciously aware of the transition between realism and modernism, but this book views this transition period as a continuum, with the past and the present interacting, rather than a rupture. Furthermore, this book acknowledges that while 1880 saw rapid technological transformations that positioned photography as an affordable pursuit for the everyman, the culture of amateur photography developed progressively over these years. Modernism and the Kodak did not appear in everyone’s lives at one minute past midnight on 1 January 1880 but instead evolved over the next forty years as a result of many of the factors I have already discussed. The fact that photography likewise plays with the relationship between the now and the past makes it even more clear why authors who use photography are more in tune with literary tradition and their pasts. There is no defining moment of rupture but an interplay of past, present and future. Such modernity of both photography and mass literary culture is entirely dependent on the past for its expressions of newness.

Traditions and individual talents Exactly because this book reads intertextually across the past and the present, across ‘high’ and ‘low’ literatures, across fiction and non-fiction, across literary and visual cultures, the authors and literary pieces on which this book focuses should be taken as representative. There are other texts of the same period which also think through



photographs. For example, Wilkie Collins’s The Haunted Hotel (1878), George Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891) and D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow (1915) all reference photography or photographs. Moving beyond Britain, Marcel Proust’s intensely visual À la recherche du temps perdu (originally published in French in 1913, and in English 1922–31) makes liberal use of photographic vocabulary in its storytelling.64 But in this book, it is in bringing such a variety of authors together that I am able to best demonstrate the pervasiveness of photography within the shared imagination of British literary culture between 1880 and 1920. As both the profession of authorship and the emergence and practice of cheap, amateur photography are both behaviourally defined (habitus) and economically defined (capital), this book loosely follows Bourdieu’s ‘field’ theory and therefore represents here a microcosm of British literary culture as a whole.65 Consequently, this book proposes that the relationships my four authors have with their professional identities and cultural production are analogous to other cultural producers within the same field. Moreover, such relationships between authors, ideas and texts should also be read as constitutive of this same cultural field. Bourdieu’s work is not without limitation, and his own sociological reading of photography as a middlebrow pursuit is incredibly limited.66 However, viewing the literary community this book explores as both representative and constitutive of British literary culture at the turn of the twentieth century explains exactly why such anxieties over and expressions of professional identity are replicated across this time period and done so through the symbol of photography. For this reason, photography might be read as both the representation of and the expression through – a pseudo-habitus – such anxieties. Bringing these four authors together, it is clear that not only is ancestral and personal past an important part of understanding photographs, but the past of literary tradition is also a way in which these authors understand themselves. Despite the apparent contrasts in literary style between Woolf and Hardy, Stoker and Conrad, they each echo each other’s work. Writing in January 1928, Woolf argues that Hardy’s own words, ‘Moments of Vision’, the title of his poetry collection published in 1917, describe exactly ‘those passages of astonishing beauty and force which are to be found in every book that he wrote. … Vivid to the eye, but not to the eye alone, for every sense participates, such scenes dawn upon us and their splendour remains.’67 The ‘vision’ or perspective of an author is what preoccupies Woolf most about Joseph Conrad too. In the first edition of The Common Reader, she alludes to a moment in ­chapter 13 of Lord Jim (1900) where the narrator – the ever-returning Marlow – describes a ‘moment of vision’.68 In fact, in his Preface to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ (1897) Conrad asserts that the success of literary art is embodied in ‘a moment of vision, a sigh, a smile – and the return to an eternal rest’.69 At another stage of The Common Reader, Woolf describes the reader’s own ‘moment of vision’ as they are caught up in the narrative of Russian fiction. This phrase – ‘moment(s) of vision’ – articulates the artistic aims of Hardy and Conrad but can also be extended to Woolf ’s personal experience of reading Russian literature. A version of this phrase then returns to describe Woolf ’s own writing: her posthumously published autobiographical writings are entitled Moments of Being (1972). As a result, certain words and phrases – connected both with vision and with the capturing of a moment – form a constellation by which one might start

Writing, Authorship and Photography


to understand the kind of mutual feelings these four authors had about each other and about British literary culture. Likewise, the shared community of these writers can be seen instantly when comparing the first and last author focused on in this book. Writing, Authorship, and Photography in British Literary Culture, 1880–1920 is bookended by two authors who were very self-conscious about their writing and about their statuses as authors: Thomas Hardy and Virginia Woolf. In fact, two of their works of non-fiction – Hardy’s ‘The Science of Fiction’70 and Woolf ’s ‘Modern Fiction’71 – self-consciously reflect upon literary composition and the reading public. Both essays are a response to Walter Besant’s ‘The Art of Fiction’ (1884) and reflect how discussion about literary art and the role of the author extends across this forty-year period. Both Hardy and Woolf highlight their distrust for writers who are focused on providing textual detail (or ‘solidity’)72 at the expense of emotional significance. However, as we will see in Chapters 1 and 2, Hardy views such attention to detail as somewhat photographic and unartistic. But for Woolf, mundanity – as expressed in her photographs and her fiction – also connotes freedom of expression, allowing the ‘myriad impressions – trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel’ to fall as ‘an incessant shower of innumerable atoms’ to capture the everyday.73 Beyond their professional connections, Woolf and Hardy also have biographical connections. Woolf reviewed Hardy’s biography, written by Florence Emily Hardy,74 and Hardy was also friends with Woolf ’s father, Leslie Stephen, who he asked to be his editor.75 Furthermore, in his management role at the Lyceum Theatre, Stoker also had unrivalled access to celebrities of the literary world, including Hardy. His acquaintance with Hardy through the theatre enabled Stoker to request a literary interview with him. Hardy’s response, written on 1 July 1907, shows a general rejection of the cult of literary celebrity: Dear Mr Stoker: I am sorry that the thunder [&] lightning should have happened on Saturday, as it is so many years since I saw you. However, in respect of the ‘interview’ on behalf of the New York World76 – which my wife speaks to me about – nothing has been lost. I thought I had better write direct [&] tell you that for a long time I have been compelled to refuse interviews by any paper. I could give reasons, but it is not worth while [sic]. I need hardly add that if I were to be interviewed there is nobody whom I should prefer to yourself for performing the operation.                   Believe me                      Yours truly                         Thomas Hardy.77

This unpublished letter depicts the two writers communicating on both a personal and private level. There are mixed registers here, as Hardy moves from a professional interaction in which he, as a writer, declines Stoker’s request for an interview, likewise as a writer, before moving on to a fraternal admiration between the two. Hardy suggests



that were he able to levy his restriction on being interviewed, it is Stoker as a friend and professional who would be first on the list. These two authors are the focus of the first half of this book. This letter demonstrates how they shared not only a temporal moment but also a professional – authorial – connection. Such a proposed interview also reveals the extent to which Hardy had become a celebrity in his own right. In fact, for cultural modernity authorship was inextricably bound up in the publicity Stoker is here offering Hardy: ‘with interviews, photographs, gossip’.78 As I uncover in Part Three – ‘Joseph Conrad: Photography, identity and modernity’ – of this book specifically, the image of the photo-ready celebrity is extended to literary celebrities. Here certainly, the interview is likewise a means of publicity for Hardy-as-author, one which he denies. It is also celebrity which connects Woolf with Stoker. Though he and Woolf do not seem to have ever interacted directly, she was intimately connected to the same social circles as Stoker through her great-aunt, the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. In Woolf ’s play Freshwater (written 1923, revised and performed 1935),79 she considers the life Cameron led within her social circle, one which included the iconic Ellen Terry, whom Stoker managed during his time at the Lyceum. Marion Dell also names in Terry in her account of Woolf ’s forebears, describing Terry as a ‘transitional figure who spans three generations linking the Freshwater Circle with the Bloomsbury Group’.80 Terry haunts Woolf ’s personal and professional identity: a small photographic portrait of Terry features in one of Woolf ’s Monk’s House photograph albums81 and was the feature of one of her 1941 essays.82 When Woolf wrote of Terry that ‘it is the fate of actors to leave only picture postcards behind them’,83 she seemed to refer to both her own photograph collection of famous faces and the emergent legacy of the photographic image. But if not aware of their own sense of celebrity, significantly, Hardy, Stoker, Conrad and Woolf are all conscious of their identities as professionals. Both Stoker and Woolf maintained dual professional identities alongside their fiction writing: Stoker as a theatre manager and Woolf as an essayist and journalist. For both of them, their professional respective fields had been newly defined and transformed by cheap, popular photography. Stoker’s theatrical knowledge and management required detailed knowledge of emerging photographic technologies; his exchange of photographs in his correspondence is evidence of an entirely new way of doing business. It would have been inconceivable for members of the theatrical community to exchange photographs even only ten years prior, and Chapter 3, ‘Photography, promotion and the theatrical profession in Bram Stoker’s correspondence’, draws on critically neglected archival materials to establish the importance of photography to his professional identity within the theatre. In Chapter 4, ‘ “Could not codak him”: Theatrical monsters and popular photography’, a companion to Chapter 3, I go on to discuss how his embeddedness within the theatrical community and its photographic culture provided niche ways of depicting the supernatural in Dracula (1897). For Woolf, as this introduction has already made clear, being both a woman and a practicing journalist positions her in a unique and complicated relationship with photography. As we see in Chapter 8, and as discussed above, Woolf was very conscious of her social and class status and often attempted to cast off her connections to the mass market. Both Hardy and Conrad also draw on their professional experiences beyond writing in the texts examined in


Writing, Authorship and Photography

this book. Hardy’s past as an architect and his penchant for traditionalism is in turn what makes photography so intrusively modern in A Laodicean (1881), and such fear of modernity is reflected in his non-fiction too. Conrad’s seafaring professional past provides the backdrop for his short story ‘The Black Mate’ (1908), in which he explores the connection between belief and professional success and which also continues some of the themes highlighted in his earlier joint work with Ford Madox Ford, The Inheritors (1901). Furthermore, each author in Writing, Authorship, and Photography in British Literary Culture, 1880–1920 evidences a personal engagement with photography in their non-fiction. This book takes a novel approach in separating out discussions of individual authors to specific parts. Each part focuses on an individual author: the first chapter examines predominantly the non-fiction of the authors, elucidating how each author engaged with photography outside their works of fiction. The second, companion chapter then works through how such engagements with photography are continued into their fiction. While each respective author documents personal encounters with material photographs in their non-fiction, their fiction often focuses on different forms of photography. Such forms include the photographic portrait, the spirit photograph, the chronophotograph and proto-cinematograph, the X-ray, the celebrity portrait, photographic advertisements and real estate photographs, among others. Such a broad range of photographic forms demonstrates exactly how impossible it is to conceive of photography as one discrete medium at this moment in time. However, these photographies are unified in their connection to the popular, and it highlights the extent to which photographic knowledge and understanding in each author’s personal life was translated into their works of fiction. This speaks to the cultural ubiquity of popular photography at this time. Such individual and idiosyncratic engagements with photography in their personal lives also means that all four authors also use photography to think through personal, familial and cultural memory in their fiction. This is most clear in Parts Three and Four, on Conrad and Woolf, whose ruminations on photographs in their personal lives enabled intergenerational dialogue between them and their ancestral pasts. As Jennifer Green-Lewis proposes, the contrast between personal time and newly understood archaeological time enabled new problems with both time and memory to arise.84 In Conrad’s The Secret Agent (1907) and Woolf ’s The Voyage Out (1915) and The Years (1937), photographs once more become ways of bringing the past into the present, of disrupting narrative time or of stopping it completely. It is precisely photography that enables this dysregulation of time and highlights how, as for Susan Sontag, photographs have changed how we understand the personal stories we tell of ourselves: ‘Life is not about significant details, illuminated in a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.’85 The focus on memory and time highlights the way in which photography is twinned with modernity for many of these authors. Louise Hornby has highlighted the significance of stillness as a way of working against the modernist need for speed:86 photographs become a way of working separately from the forward pull of narrative time. For Hardy, it is the excision of the moment – captured as if a snapshot – from narrative time that leads to confusion, misunderstanding and a lack of artistic control. The relationship between time and photographic image is also the way in which Dracula becomes



so uncanny in Stoker’s novel: the figure of the vampire is so ancient that methods of modern science and medicine are unable to capture or explain him. In Dracula, and in Stoker’s notes for the novel, the fact that photographs do not depict the Count as he really is reinforces his mythic and ancient origins. Conrad’s ‘The Black Mate’ also explores the connection between photography and the supernatural, but with its connection to time and memory, photography is most able to access death through mourning and nostalgia. As Kate Flint notes, the relationship between photography and the ‘material manifestations of mourning and memorialization in the nineteenth century’ has been extensively documented. But she also proposes that it is through developments in photography as a more popular or amateur activity – specifically through the development of the modern photographic flash – that it became easier and much more commonplace to take post-mortem photographs.87 But whether captured in the photograph living or dead, it is clear for these four authors that photography is a way of communing with the dead. While photography and these four authors are, in some way, familiar to everyone, this book redefines exactly how British literary culture can be seen through the lens of popular photography. Although the forms of photography that appear in this book do not resemble photographic modes of the twenty-first century, the discussions surrounding the composition of art, the culture(s) it is created and exchanged within and what this says about class are timeless.


Part One

Thomas Hardy, photography and reality



The figure of the author and amateur photography

The author at home: Literary celebrity and photographic tourism In November 1904, Thomas Hardy wrote a letter to Hermann Lea expressing his growing concerns over his fans’ especially photographic curiosities. At the time, Lea was composing Thomas Hardy’s Wessex (1913), a book which provided photographs of, and topographical information about, the important sites of Hardy’s literary location.1 Hardy’s frustration was to do with his fans’ increasing intrusion into Higher Bockhampton, where he was born and lived until he was in his early thirties: In case you should be thinking of giving a view of spots in Upper Bockhampton [sic] as scenes in ‘Under the G. Tree’ (or for any other purpose) I think I ought to let you know that there are reasons against it – not the least being the nuisance occasioned to those who live there by trippers with Kodaks looking over hedges.2

Higher Bockhampton – both the building to which he is here referring and the geographical location in which it featured – was the backdrop to his early published writings and where Hardy’s family had lived and worked all their lives. Of no doubt enormous emotional importance to him, the creeping invasion of avid Kodak-trippers on the site was a significant disturbance to both the area and the locals with whom Hardy was so familiar. Yet, while Hardy’s central concern is for the increase in visitors to the location occasioned by Lea’s book, Hardy also suggests specifically that it is the amateur photographer who most threatens to disrupt the life of the small town. In fact, the public’s distaste for the ‘voyeuristic’, ‘inappropriately intrusive’ and ‘exploitative’ photographer had only increased with the advent of rapid flash photography,3 and Hardy seems particularly affronted by this confrontation between the pastoral ‘Wessex’ and modernity. Lea’s book featured as part of a broader movement in ‘literary tourism’, begun in the mid-nineteenth century by writers including William Howitt who visited and documented sites of literary interest. The subjects of his book Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British Poets (1857) ranged from Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare and John Milton to the more recent Romantic poets, in particular the Lake Poets.4 As a result, the desire to see important literary sites became an increasing and established


Writing, Authorship and Photography

part of the tourist trade.5 Consequently, Lea’s book marks an important moment in which Hardy was becoming a literary celebrity. Hardy acknowledges this when he continues in this letter that publishing such views would lead to an increase in ‘other undesirable visitors’.6 In a later letter to Lea (12 November 1904), Hardy continued the theme: ‘My remark upon the trippers was owing to an unpleasant experience I had a few days earlier, when, on a private walk to the house in question7 I was … Kodaked by some young men who were on the watch.’8 Again, it is the amateur, Kodak photographers who ambush Hardy and who produce the ‘unpleasant situation’. They encroach upon his private time as well as, it seems, his private space. Yet, Hardy is careful to avoid antagonizing Lea and separates him from the keen Kodakers by going on to say that the ‘permission’ he granted Lea to photograph the Wessex area ‘quite exonerates’ him.9 The repetition of the word ‘Kodak’ across both letters highlights how snapshot photography enabled a unique relationship between photographer and celebrity in the nineteenth century, since the popular medium allowed amateurs to capture candid photographs of people – of celebrities – perhaps without their consent. Since each member of the public implicitly entered into a ‘civil contract’, where any individual might be photographed,10 the public and the private worlds folded into one another, creating a crisis of consent about one’s photographic image. But Hardy also took issue with other modes of pictorial representation of Wessex, even those produced without the aid of the amateur camera. In 1893 the painter Frederick Whitehead, with whom Hardy had a good relationship, held an exhibition of thirty-five paintings purporting to represent Hardy’s Wessex. Hardy’s response is documented in Florence Hardy’s biography: ‘ “At Academy Private View. Find that there is a very good painting here of Woolbridge Manor-House under the (erroneous) title of ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ ancestral home’. Also, one entitled ‘In Hardy’s Country, Egdon Heath’.” ’11 Despite Hermann Lea’s later photograph of ‘Wool-Bridge House’ as Tess’s home,12 clearly Hardy takes issue with someone else’s painting masquerading under his own fictional place names. To suggest that the depiction was somehow ‘erroneous’ implies that Hardy felt himself to be the most important, if not only, authority on how Wessex might be visually represented. In short, Whitehead presented Woolbridge as the fictional place itself, as Tess’s home, rather than an inspiration for it. Hardy’s frustration lay, then, not in the representation itself – it is a ‘good painting’ – but in how Whitehead co-opted such literary places as if they were his own or as if they really existed. Ultimately, Hardy is not recognized as the creator of such places; by obfuscating the boundary between fiction and reality Whitehead denies the intellectual and creative work done by Hardy to reimagine Woolbridge as Tess’s home. And yet, despite Hardy’s concern for his privacy and for the way in which Wessex might be misappropriated by others, he was keen to encourage visitors to the area and enthusiastically advised people where to visit when they wrote to him.13 In later editions of his early novels, such as The Trumpet-Major (1880), Hardy changed the real-life place names to ‘Wessex’ place names.14 As a consequence, he was complicit in the establishment of Wessex as both fictional locale and literal place. Moreover, during the composition of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, he even drafted significant portions of Lea’s introduction to the book,15 including a section in which ‘Lea’ writes that ‘the descriptions given in the novels and poems must be regarded in their totality as those

Figure of the Author and Amateur Photography


of imaginative places. The exact Wessex of the books exists nowhere outside them, as Mr. Hardy himself indeed has hinted.’16 This introduction to the book appears to confront the friction between the real-life photographic image and the fictional locations by arguing that novels and poems are separate from the real-life area. And yet, by appearing as Lea here, Hardy self-consciously elides the boundary between fiction and reality. In fact, while Lea was preparing the manuscript for publication, Hardy intervened in the process to document not the ‘real’ Wessex but the one of his imagination. He does this in the two letters with which I opened this chapter. In the first, after he has denigrated the Kodak-trippers, he highlights that ‘much of the detail of 60 years ago, as given in the book, is now changed by pulling down, or entirely imaginary’.17 Here Hardy reveals the complicated relationship between what is really there in Higher Bockhampton and what readers might be expecting to see there based on their readings of his novels: some places are no longer there, and some never were. Then, after ‘exonerating’ Lea in the later letter, Hardy writes again of Higher Bockhampton: Thank you for the little photograph. But the chimney pot on the middle chimney spoils the picture. Cd [sic] it not be taken out of the negative? It was not there in my time. On another occasion you might find a point of view from which it does not stand up so starkly against the sky.18

So, Hardy is calling for the image to be doctored so as to best represent the ‘Wessex’ of the past which inspired his fiction, rather than the ‘Wessex’ that currently stands. As an alternative he suggests that Lea might take another photograph from a different perspective in order to ensure the right effect. For Hardy, then, photographs are at the junction between reality and fiction and might be used artistically through the careful use of perspective, point of view and artistic intervention. Fundamentally, photographs cannot depict the ‘reality’ of Wessex since it has altered or never existed in the first place. The confusion between reality and fiction is again written into the many maps of ‘Wessex’ which proliferated as a result of Hardy’s novels. These maps were composed both by Hardy to be featured as part of his publications and by others.19 The result is a meta-textual Wessex which was both a real-life place and a self-consciously fictional creation. Hardy attests to this himself in his Preface to the Osgood-McIlvaine edition of Far from the Madding Crowd (originally published 1874) in which he calls Wessex ‘partly real, partly dream-country’.20 Wessex, as well as how it is visually documented, becomes part of Hardy’s conceptualization of fiction in relation to reality. In the case of the maps of Wessex, as well as the rewriting of earlier novels to include Wessex place names, the real-life area becomes a fictional location through the process of rewriting, of re-presenting factual information overlaid with fictional aspects. The literary tourists who visit Wessex are part of the same fiction-making process, as documented by the author and biographer Annie Macdonell in the section on Wessex in her book Thomas Hardy (1894): ‘With regard to the identifications of the scenes of Mr. Hardy’s stories, I should say they have mostly been made by means of maps and personal recognition on the spot, and, as such, are fallible.’21 Her account of Wessex, then, is a product of her


Writing, Authorship and Photography

own interpretation using the fictional maps and readings of Hardy’s novels. They are subjectively constructed, just as Hardy hoped to reconstruct, or even deconstruct, the invasive chimney in Lea’s image. Such manipulation and interpretation are testimony to Hardy’s investment in the imaginary. The work that must be done to experience Wessex is not through the invasion of Hardy’s private space by the Kodak-trippers but through their willingness to perceive Wessex through the manipulated perspective of Hardy’s maps and guides, or Lea’s photographs. Thus, the invasion of the Kodak-trippers is too direct. In the Wessex artefacts produced by Hardy and Lea, as well as the guidance Hardy gives to visitors, Hardy retains artistic control. Once the Kodak-trippers arrive, Hardy no longer remains the authority – the author through whose eyes Wessex is perceived – but becomes the attraction itself. From Lea’s book one can see the ways in which Hardy carefully cultivates the representation of Wessex, which is predicated upon a mix of fiction and reality. For Hardy, the amateur photographers represent the belief that fiction is reality, or that photographs taken by Lea depict the true world of Hardy’s literary creations. As with Whitehead’s paintings, Hardy wants to ensure that Wessex, as his literary and artistic creation, remains his. There is a distinction, then, between how Hardy imagines the photographer and the author-artist. This distinction is delineated in Macdonell’s book, which goes on to say that ‘Hardy is an artist, not a photographer’.22 In other words, the Kodak-trippers symbolize an increasing lack of artistry by contrast to the literary creativity of the author. Hardy’s meticulous representation of Higher Bockhampton and its environs as Wessex will potentially be undone by the Kodakers who seek to find and photograph Wessex in real life without the creative interpretation of the author. This chapter is concerned precisely with how Hardy imagined the role of the author in response to photography. Hardy obscures the line between reality and fiction in his creation of Wessex. Photography, without the right perspective, threatens to remove this fictional overlay of Wessex and document the banal Dorset locations instead. In short, Hardy fears that by ensuring they can capture their own photographs of Wessex the photographers will no longer require the author to represent that world. In this chapter I suggest that Hardy’s non-fiction defines the role of the author as a privileged seer or artist in direct contrast to the figure of the amateur photographer. At the centre of his anxieties, Hardy articulates his concern for the way in which media technologies such as photography eliminate the boundaries between viewer, photograph and what the photograph depicts. It builds on the work of my introduction and considers how, as an ‘authorless text’23 or a ‘pencil of nature’,24 photographic images and photography more broadly are perceived to be mechanical, without human intervention or creativity. As a result, the author or artist of photography all but disappears. Like Hardy, Charles Baudelaire expressed a similar concern, arguing that if ‘photography is allowed to deputize for art in some of art’s activities, it will not be long before it has supplanted or corrupted art altogether, thanks to the stupidity of the masses, its natural ally’.25 Rather, photography ‘must, therefore, return to its true duty, which is that of the handmaid of the arts and sciences, but their very humble handmaid, like painting and shorthand, which have neither created nor supplanted literature’.26 Here, Baudelaire forges a distinction between the work of photography and the work of

Figure of the Author and Amateur Photography


literature, claiming that, like shorthand, photography can only serve as an adjunct or auxiliary to the work completed through the artistic aims of literary authorship. This same sentiment is evident in Hardy’s writing, wherein he argues for the importance of the role of the author in a world increasingly reliant upon the mechanical, seemingly automatic, medium of photography.27 And yet, Baudelaire’s inclusion of painting in this critique of photography falsely aligns the medium with the medium of photography. As we will see, photography has a unique relationship with representation which is not replicated in other, plastic arts, something which critics of Hardy’s relationship with visual culture fail to address. In his essay on ritual and deception in Hardy,28 Mark Durden uses photography to explore the ‘visual sensibility’ of Hardy’s writing.29 Critics frequently consider Hardy’s use of photography in this way and imagine the medium as part of a larger visual technique in his writing. In particular, J. B. Bullen’s The Expressive Eye: Fiction and Perception in the Work of Thomas Hardy makes no distinction between photography and other modes of visual representation when he theorizes on the role such media had in perspective and point of view in Hardy’s writing.30 While Hardy’s non-fiction does connect vision and photography, it does so to demonstrate the vital distinction between the visual perception of the author and the act of directly reproducing reality visually as in a photograph. This comparison is especially clear in Hardy’s theorizing on the nature of literary realism. Jennifer Green-Lewis has written about Hardy, photography and realist aesthetics in her book Framing the Victorians: Photography and the Culture of Realism, but it is more precisely the relationship between the real and its representation which most preoccupies Hardy. As we will see in the following chapter, he places photography at the centre of his fiction to examine this connection. But in what follows I will show that his non-fiction equally clearly demonstrates an anxiety over mechanical reproduction, mass media and new reading demographics, as well as ‘art’ and ‘realism’, both of which he sees as being negatively influenced by photographic technologies. Specifically, Hardy is concerned by the proximity of photography and realism to real life as well as how photography began to shape the world of Hardy and his contemporaries.

The proximity of art to life: Representation and reality in photography In her essay on the mimetic qualities of photography, Lindsay Smith proposes that photography is one of the key media which confuses reality and representation. She writes that ‘in an acute manner photography poses the conceptual slippage inherent in such a distinction between an appearance of reality and an appearance taken for reality, the distinction between a representation and an imitation’.31 This challenges photography’s connection with mimesis, if we consider mimesis to be imitation rather than representation.32 But this collapse between the representation of reality and what is taken for reality is enacted through the photograph’s ‘physical proximity to an object through the chemical fixity of light’, which is unparalleled by other


Writing, Authorship and Photography

representational modes.33 In other words, because photographs have a chemical and physical indexical link with their referent, the resultant image is both taken directly from life and is a representation of how the world is perceived visually. The image both looks like or resembles real life and is the result of its photochemical relationship to it. This complicated idea demonstrates the ease with which photographs might readily be considered both representations which resemble life and direct imitations of this life. Throughout his writing, Hardy confuses the boundary between representation and imitation in photography in order to demonstrate the role of the author or artist. If photography is a representation it is mediated by someone else; if photographs are considered only imitations of life then the artist is removed by the apparent automaticity of the camera. But the belief in the indexical link between subject and photograph is echoed in a frequently quoted nineteenth-century account of early photography. Four years after the public announcement of photography’s invention, Elizabeth Barrett, as she was then, wrote to her friend and author Mary Russell Mitford about the ‘sense of nearness’ of photography. On 7 December 1848 she wrote: Do you know anything about that wonderful invention of the day, called the Daguerrotype? [sic] – that is, have you seen any portraits produced by means of it? Think of a man sitting down in the sun and leaving his facsimile in all its full completion of outline and shadow, stedfast [sic] on a plate, and at the end of a minute and a half! The Mesmeric disembodiment of spirits strikes one as a degree less marvellous. And several of these wonderful portraits … like engravings – only exquisite and delicate beyond the work of graver – have I seen lately – longing to have such a memorial of every Being dear to me in the world. It is not merely the likeness which is precious in such cases – but the association, and the sense of nearness involved in the thing … the fact of the very shadow of the person lying there fixed for ever! It is the very sanctification of portraits I think – and it is not at all monstrous in me to say what my brothers cry out against so vehemently, … [sic] that I would rather have such a memorial of one I dearly loved, than the noblest Artist’s work ever produced. I do not say so in respect (or disrespect) to Art, but for Love’s sake. Will you understand? – even if you will not agree?34 (emphasis in original)

Instead of simply a ‘likeness’, or something which resembles visual perception of the loved one’s face, the connection between sitter and portrait is imagined in far more physical terms for Barrett. The portrait is an outline and a shadow, suggesting the sitter’s physical presence and obstruction of light has left a direct impression or indexical imprint on the photosensitive surface. But this index is also likened to an engraving. Imagining the physical process of light engraving a surface marks the textural and tangible connection between the sitter and the photograph. It is not merely an image, or a likeness – as Barrett makes clear – but also a physical object, a ‘thing’ which is transcribed from nature. Importantly, even while Barrett is arguing for the inextricable physical relationship between the sitter and the image, she is also conscious of the image as only a shadow, an outline of the original subject, rather than really them. The sense of nearness, then, comes not from the belief that the person themselves is

Figure of the Author and Amateur Photography


near to her but that the object produced by the process of photography, this shadow or imprint, is tangible and near to her. It is a representation, or symbol, of that person. As a real-life object, the photograph interrogates the very nature of a ‘medium’. Régis Durand questions the ability to invest emotionally in photography as a channel through which one can see a representation, since there is no set object which acts as the conduit for the image. Ultimately, Durand questions what the medium of photography actually is – the art print? The paper on which we print our snapshots? The interleavings of an artist’s portfolio? The magazine image? – in order to question the very mode of viewing with which we approach the image.35 The photograph is both an object as well as a representation, and this challenges the relationship the viewer has with that which is being depicted. This is particularly important since photographs are, at the end of the nineteenth century in particular, material objects produced by different processes. These different processes and materials then define the appearance and quality of the image. For example, a cyanotype is not merely a different colour from the monochrome photographs of the same period but is often created in an entirely different way to other photographs.36 But such objects are, as Durand proposes, multiple and separate to the image which is depicted upon it. It is the connection between the material object of the photograph itself and the image it contains that makes the distinction between imitation and representation difficult. Roland Barthes argues that since the referent of the image ‘adheres’ to the photograph itself37 – which in turn evokes Barrett’s photographic ‘shadows’ – it is difficult to think about photography as being independent of it. In other words, the photograph’s status as an object cannot be divorced from its status as a representation. Consequently, the photograph is situated in a complex juncture between reality and representation. On the one hand, the image is a testament to external reality and is the result of photochemical reactions; yet, on the other hand, these chemical reactions produce something which represents life. That the representation is also the result of the photochemical process is important, but the image itself is not only this photochemical effect: there are aesthetic and perspectival decisions that have contributed to the production of the image. As I will discuss later, the existence of photography in Hardy’s fictional world is particularly problematic, then, since they are images apparently mechanically produced but which do not materially exist. In other words, the images are supposed to be results of objective photochemical science but are entirely the fancy of Hardy: they are more representations than objects. This is something which Hardy conceptualizes more clearly in his non-fiction writing, in which he considers how writers choose to represent the world around them and how mechanized imitation of it does not truly capture, somehow, the essence of everyday life. Vitally, he uses photography metonymically to represent the way in which authors attempt to imitate the world with complete accuracy in their fiction, which, importantly for Hardy, is not art.

Hardy’s non-fiction: Photography and the modern reader In part, Hardy believed that the emergence of a new reading public, as well as a transformation of the publishing trade to meet new demand, was responsible for an


Writing, Authorship and Photography

increased mechanization of literary writing. By this I do not mean that writing was being produced more frequently using mechanical objects, though typewriters, new printing presses and telegraphy all played their role in transforming the written word at the end of the nineteenth century. Rather I use the phrase ‘mechanized’ to mean the precision with which the world was being rendered in fiction. In his theorizing on the genre of realism, Boris Röhrl writes that the ‘ “imperfect” outward appearance of a work of art demonstrated its connection to the human which produced it’. He continues that ‘man loses himself by doing machine-like work. The precision of the machine corrodes the intellectual power of man.’38 The conflation between human and machine will be important for my later reading of Hardy’s ‘An Imaginative Woman’, but it is obvious from Röhrl that art requires human, artistic invention rather than machine-like precision. This artistic mediation is important in Hardy’s essay, ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’. Written in 1888, it documents Hardy’s frustration with modern reading trends, which he believed had contributed to a misunderstanding about the role of the novel.39 He claimed that any assumption that novels vary in quality depending on the class of person they depict proceeds from the idea that ‘the novel is the thing, and not a view of the thing’.40 He continues that to believe this theory is to fail to recognize that the characters of a novel ‘express mainly the author’ and that to ignore such a fact would mean the novel tended to ‘verbatim reporting without selective judgment’.41 Thus, to imagine the novel as the ‘thing’ is to imagine it as reality and real lived experience themselves, rather than representations (views) of them. Importantly, Hardy imagines an essential distance between the object being described and the description itself in the production of true art. Unlike the direct, indexical connection photographs appear to offer between reality and representation, the production of true art requires this additional layer of authorial control. Earlier in ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’, Hardy connects the ‘verbatim’ reporting and replication of everyday objects and experiences with the process of photography: There are certain novels, both among the works of living and the works of deceased writers, which give convincing proof of much exceptional fidelity, and yet do not rank as great productions; for what they are faithful in is life garniture and not life. You are fully persuaded that the personages are clothed precisely as you see them clothed in the street, in the drawing-room, at the assembly. Even the trifling accidents of their costume are rendered by the honest narrator. They use the phrases of the season, present or past, with absolute accuracy as to idiom, expletive, slang. But what of it, after our sense of its photographic curiousness is past? In aiming at the trivial and the ephemeral they have almost surely missed better things.42

Here Hardy notes that fidelity to ‘life garniture’ does not mark a literary work out as a great production. This garniture, which is both ‘costume’ and ‘idiom, expletive, slang’, imitates reality, but by aiming for such photographic accuracy, Hardy argues, authors and readers have missed other things. This ‘photographic curiousness’ appears to be rooted almost entirely in fashion or modes, as Hardy’s references to ‘idiom’

Figure of the Author and Amateur Photography


and phrases such as ‘trivial’ and ‘ephemeral’ suggest. Yet true art outlasts these fads, as Hardy hopes literature will outlast photography. But rather than simply outlast these modes, Marshall McLuhan argues that the writer needed to adapt to modern technologies. Writing about the era of photography’s popularization, he wrote that ‘the novelist could no longer describe objects or happenings for readers who already knew what was happening by photo, press, film, and radio’. Instead, ‘the novelist turned to those inward gestures of the mind by which we achieve insight and by which we make ourselves and our world’.43 McLuhan makes it clear that the professional author still retained his importance as long as the truth he aimed to reveal was internal, affective truth, rather than one predicated upon representations of a shared society. With this in mind, the ‘better things’ which Hardy proclaims ‘photographic curiousness’ misses are the internal, personal experiences of human life rather than the objects which the reader already knows to be a part of life through other media. Furthermore, this turn to inward gestures of the mind describes both the mental processes of the reader and the author. At the moment the author intervenes artistically in the representation of real life, he represents the thought processes of others by making transparent his own. A few years prior to ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’, Hardy used photographic simile to demonstrate the difference between replicating everyday objects or garniture in fiction and the artistic limiting of perspective which instead allows access into the writer’s mind. In his memoranda he writes: [1882?] ‘June 3. … As, in looking at a carpet, by following one colour a certain pattern is suggested, by following another colour, another; so in life the seer should watch that pattern among general things which his idiosyncrasy moves him to observe, and describe that alone. This is, quite accurately, a going to Nature; yet the result is no mere photograph, but purely a product of the writer’s own mind.’44

This note foreshadows Henry James’s novella, ‘The Figure in the Carpet’ (1896), which tells the story of a reader attempting to find the secret meaning in the works of his favourite author. Like James’s story, Hardy’s simile documents how the ornamental quality of the carpet reveals the idiosyncratic twists and turns through the writer’s mind, which provide a representation of the real world but one which ‘is no mere photograph’. Hardy imagines the author as a ‘seer’, at once noting the visual perspective required for the artistic retelling of real life and the almost oracle-like perspective of the author. This reputation of the author as a divine perceiver of the world around him, popularized by the transcendentalists among many others, was in stark contrast to the culture of the photograph. François Brunet has argued that photography, with its potential for universal use, was a direct challenge to the somewhat Romantic conception of the artist or author as seer, which privileged the vision of the one over the few.45 Here Hardy states that in its mechanical nature, photography denies some inherent beauty in its (re)production. As Röhrl likewise imagines, Hardy’s preoccupation with the seeming automaticity and precision of photography is symptomatic of its lack of human connection. He claimed that the mechanical nature of lesser works of fiction ‘exhibit[s]‌a machinery which often works awkwardly, and at the instigation of unlikely beings’,46 suggesting that photography’s relationship to real everyday life becomes


Writing, Authorship and Photography

awkward, mechanized and ultimately substitutive for imagination. Hardy’s use of the word ‘beings’ here demonstrates likewise that works of fiction that do not attain the status of art (which often aim for the precision of photography) cannot be human. This disjunction between the literary and the human was heralded in an earlier note in 1877 when he wrote that if every aspect of ‘Nature’s defects’ must be transcribed, then it will become ‘merely mechanical reporting’.47 These ‘defects’ or aberrations of nature are not human but mechanical. While he goes on to claim that such defects might be ‘the basis of a hitherto unperceived beauty’, one needs the ‘spiritual eye’ to irradiate and illuminate these defects.48 The ‘spiritual eye’ is the almost transubstantiative effect of the writer’s imagination on the everyday defects of everyday life. It is what makes him the ‘seer’: not simply the ability to perceive the world around him and make it visible to the world around him but the ability to reveal something essential in nature. Through the simile of the figures in the carpet, Hardy attempts to distinguish between mere perceptions of the world, which he likens to photography, and the literary representations of that world by the author or artist. This undertone of religious or spiritual calling to the authorial profession is continued in his thesis on art and realism. In April 1891, he published ‘The Science of Fiction’ in the New Review. With irony, he wrote: The most devoted apostle of realism, the sheerest naturalist, cannot escape, any more than the withered old gossip over her fire, the exercise of Art in his labour or pleasure of telling a tale. Not until he becomes an automatic reproducer of all impressions whatsoever can he be called purely scientific, or even a manufacturer on scientific principles. If in the exercise of his reason he select or omit, with an eye to being more truthful than truth (the just aim of Art), he transforms himself into a technicist at a move.49

As a contribution and contrast to ‘The Art of Fiction’ essays written by Walter Besant and Henry James in 1884, Hardy lampoons the pretentions of accuracy heralded by the birth of realism. Instead of a ‘seer’ or a ‘spiritual eye’ the realist writer is merely an ‘apostle’. In other words, he follows rather than leads. Lacking this essential ability to mediate, oracle-like, the true aims of art, the apostle aims for scientific accuracy. Hardy uses the word ‘truth’ here to mean both accuracy of representation and a higher, more spiritual truth, which is ‘the just aim of Art’. Certainly, this dual meaning is the source of irony in this section: something more truthful (precise) than truth (reality) is the technology of the photographic image, which allowed imperceptible visual phenomenon to be rendered on the photosensitive plate. But equally, something more truthful (wise and profound) than truth (reality) could be the literary artist, who depicted worldly universal truths rather than actual external fact. Like this phrase, the word ‘technicist’ also has a dual meaning. It can be defined as someone who may be lacking in creativity as well as someone with clear skill and technique (OED).50 This dual definition of the ‘technicist’ polarizes creativity and technique and in doing so suggests that these attributes are mutually exclusive. Thus, Hardy’s use of the word asserts how realist writers who aim to directly copy real life may be immensely skilled in the process, but they are ultimately lacking in creativity.

Figure of the Author and Amateur Photography


The technicist also recalls the increasingly mechanical nature of both visual and literary art at the time: the visual, through the invention and popularization of photography, and the literary through mass mechanical publishing.51 The ‘graphic revolution’52 was instrumental in the national and international reproduction of photographic images and contributed to the burgeoning culture of mass media. Writing was becoming more mechanical, but so too was visual art. After the Great Exhibition in 1851, photography became less of a scientific or technological tool and more of an artistic novelty.53 This would be problematic for Hardy who imagined photography as a technological process devoid of any artistic intervention. He was particularly damning of the effect of mass mechanical reproduction on British literary culture in his 1890 essay ‘Candour in English Fiction’.54 He wrote: The popular vehicles for the introduction of a novel to the public have grown to be, from one cause and another, the magazine and the circulating library; and the object of the magazine and the circulating library is not upward advance but lateral advance; to suit themselves to what is called household reading, which means, or is made to mean, the reading either of the majority in a household or of the household collectively. The number of adults, even in a large household, being normally two, and these being the members which, as a rule, have least time on their hands to bestow on current literature, the taste of the majority can hardly be, and seldom is, tempered by the ripe judgment which desires fidelity. However, the immature members of a household often keep an open mind, and they might, and no doubt would, take sincere fiction with the rest but for another condition, almost generally co-existent: which is that adults who would desire true views for their own reading insist, for a plausible but questionable reason, upon false views for the reading of their young people. … As a consequence, the magazine in particular and the circulating library in general do not foster the growth of the novel which reflects and reveals life. They directly tend to exterminate it by monopolising literary space.55

This literary circulation was reaching new and younger readers. This wider and younger demographic was responsible for the modernization of the novel. But Hardy highlights the fact that the magazine was a mere ‘object’ and repeatedly touches on the ‘circulating’ library, suggesting that the processes of both printing and dissemination alike had come to rely on endless reproduction to the point where such textual materials were merely proliferating, everyday objects rather than unique pieces of art. His focus on the transformation of ‘upward advance’ into ‘lateral advance’, along with words such as ‘exterminate’, espouses the idea of popular fiction with stagnation. This idea of extermination might be imagined either as a sort of degeneration – a phrase which haunts the latter half of the nineteenth century – or a kind of atavism which is not concerned with higher intellectual purpose. In fact, Hardy’s writing was impeded by some of the aesthetic decisions being made by publishing houses at the end of the nineteenth century. Such new literary styles were connected both with visual culture and with the realist mode. During the 1880s the circle of artists who began to produce illustrations for the magazine The Graphic were termed ‘Realists’, demonstrating the


Writing, Authorship and Photography

growing visual agency of realism. Hardy would later go on to publish both The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) in The Graphic, but the shifting style of writing preferred by the periodical led to significant arguments between him and the publishers. ‘Realism’ was altering and redefining itself through the use of visual supplements in textual media. Importantly, it was also the style of writing created by the demand of a new reading public, and one which was preoccupied with photographic illustration. Still, Hardy attempted to conform to popular demand. He wrote ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’ for a forty-guinea fee, which suggests his own complicity in the enterprise of the popular press, just as his creation of Wessex as a literary hotspot was a direct response to the demands of his reading public. However, he wrote the four-thousand-word essay only in response to an invitation by Lorettus S. Metcalf, the founder and first editor of the New York Forum. His use of the term ‘profitable’, and production of the essay for a generous payment, highlights the way in which the professional author now played the dual role of providing the reader with entertainment, while also earning financial compensation for his artistry. Hardy attempts to reconcile the two by moving away from the world of finance to suggest that ‘to get pleasure out of a book is a beneficial and profitable thing, if the pleasure be of the kind which, while doing no moral injury, affords relaxation and relief when the mind is overstrained or sick of itself ’.56 Hardy forces a distinction between the artistic aims of literature and literature that was produced under a financial imperative, but he does so by playing with this idea of what can be deemed ‘profitable’. The tension between financial gain and a higher pursuit of literary art demonstrates the problematic way in which Hardy was attempting to establish an authorial identity in a literary culture which privileged profit over art. These anxieties surrounding art, photography, the role of the author and mechanization are communicated again in Hardy’s fiction and poetry. As the next chapter will show, Hardy struggled to reconcile the artistic potential of photography with its misreading as fact or truth. As a result, Hardy explores this tension between photography and truth in a way that conflates the two ironically, so as to comment on the credulity of the British reading public. However, as I have explored here, the very fact that Hardy takes photography as his subject demonstrates his simultaneous fascination with, but disgust for, photography as technique or metaphor in British literary fiction.


Obscuring the boundaries: Art, imagination, photography

Hardy’s use of photography as both an object within his fiction – one which can be picked up, handled, shared – and a metaphor emphasizes Hardy’s concerns surrounding the conflation between ‘art’ and mechanical replication of reality. In this way, Hardy enforces an almost semiotic schism in how the photograph might be read. It is, when considered a real-life tangible object, a sign unto itself, which is both signifier (the photograph itself) and signified (what the photograph represents). But on the other hand, as a metaphor, the photograph becomes a free-floating concept which, by not being an actual object, carries with it only meaning. To use photography in both ways, Hardy explores what happens when the lines between reality and representation are redrawn through the new technological medium. This chapter focuses on two works of his fiction – his novel A Laodicean (1881), his short story ‘An Imaginative Woman’ (1893) – and a poem ‘The Photograph’ (1917), to explore how photographs and the processes of photography might be meaningful. Each of these texts responds in different ways to the medium of photography as both physical object and as a medium of representation. In doing so, they reveal how Hardy imagined the author alongside, or in contrast to, the mechanical process of photograph-taking. The novel interrogates how trick photography – used to defame the architect George Somerset – obfuscates the boundary between representation and reality. ‘An Imaginative Woman’ focuses on the modern sterility of photographic reproduction and its implication for the arts. By conflating photographic reproduction with biological reproduction Hardy demonstrates how the viewer attributes uncanny potency to the photographic image. Ultimately, the story uses the analogy of sexual reproduction to challenge the reproductive processes of photography and the literal mediation of the poet.1 ‘The Photograph’ likewise documents Hardy’s anxiety over the lack of distinction between the person being depicted and their representation in the photograph. This allows him to focus on the absence of the author or artist, since photographs appear to be directly connected to their subject rather than represented through the subjective creative acts. Hardy, then, establishes the importance of the author by interrogating the idea of direct reproduction through the camera. As in his request that Lea edit chimneys out of his photographs, Hardy is proposing that representation requires a level of artistic mediation: the purpose of visual and literary


Writing, Authorship and Photography

art alike is to create a representation rather than simply a reproduction. For Hardy, this cannot necessarily be achieved through amateur photography.

A Laodicean (1881): Architecture and photography in the age of modernity George Somerset, a newly qualified architect and the novel’s protagonist, is an analogue for Hardy in A Laodicean.2 His cynicism towards modern architectural trends mirrors Hardy’s own concerns about the modern reading public. When the reader first meets Somerset, the narrator describes his gradual disaffection for the shifting trends of architecture: ‘Thus he was thrown into a mood of disgust with his profession, from which mood he was only delivered by recklessly abandoning these studies and indulging in an old enthusiasm for poetic literature’ (5). This jump between the architectural and the poetic mirrors Hardy’s own career. He first turned from architecture to novelwriting with frequent contributions to periodicals before turning to writing poetry. His rationale for this shift was that the novel was ‘gradually losing artistic form, with a beginning, middle, and end, and becoming a spasmodic inventory of items, which has nothing to do with art’.3 Hardy’s turn away from prose to poetry – a more ‘artistic form’ – signals a shift in perception of literary commentators, who began to view novels as the ‘favourites of the women’,4 a damning assignment of the form to the literary middlebrow. It signals a move towards a more ancient, traditional artistic mode – poetry – and a movement away from the capricious fanaticism for the nineteenthcentury novel. Hardy’s shift to poetry is anticipated in Somerset’s own move to poetry. But the architectural connections between Somerset and Hardy also highlight Hardy’s trust in ancient forms over modernity. Both writers are, or have been, architects. In 1881 Hardy, having given up his role as an architect some years earlier due to the success of Far from the Madding Crowd (1874),5 joined the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, which had been founded by William Morris in 1877. This move, like his later move to poetry, demonstrates his commitment to past artistic styles, to the renovation6 rather than modernization of old buildings. Instead of using modern techniques to intervene in the reconstruction of an old building, this society wanted to recapture the ethos of the past. Later in Hardy’s career, in 1906, he demonstrated his commitment to tradition. At the Society’s annual general meeting Hardy’s friend Colonel Eustace Balfour delivered a speech written by Hardy entitled ‘Memories of Church Restoration’, which circulated among Society members through its annual report and was later reprinted in Cornhill Magazine. The speech demonstrates not only his responsibility for the maintenance of past representational styles, but that such styles are positioned as part of Hardy’s past, as a part of his memories. A Laodicean also retains much of Hardy’s interest in the past, and throughout the novel photography is presented as a threat to it. Photography and the photographer, who both appear in the novel, represent the modern turn. The novel is a testament to how such representational modes struggle in the modern world of renovation and reproduction. Hardy has been described

Obscuring the Boundaries


as simultaneously the ‘last Victorian’ and a ‘proto-modernist’,7 highlighting the tensions between tradition and modernity, past and future, which are in turn reflected in A Laodicean. The slow encroachment of photography into the world of traditional architecture mimics the same fear expressed by Hardy that Higher Bockhampton would eventually be overrun by amateur photographers who did not distinguish representation (Wessex) from real life. In the novel, trick photography allows (mis) representation to stand in for real events and it is the apparent automatic reproduction of the camera that allows such a trick image to be believed: the characters are unwilling to believe, or are ignorant of, the fact that photography can be manipulated and is representation not imitation. In typical Hardy style, A Laodicean is about miscommunication, and this confusion takes place because of a photograph. The novel opens with George Somerset’s discovery of the De Stancy castle, which he reaches by following the route of some recently installed telegraph wires. The owner of the property, Paula Power, the daughter of a railway tycoon, lives with her friend Charlotte De Stancy, who is the last generation of true De Stancys,8 a family which, despite their name, no longer live at the castle or retain their wealth. Paula, whose father ‘made half the railways in Europe’ (79), is a figure of new money; but her relationship both with the castle and with Charlotte is also based on her infatuation with the past, ancient aristocratic lineages and buildings of antiquity. It is Paula with whom Somerset falls in love and whom he attempts to woo by becoming her architect for the castle’s renovations. However, she, in her Laodicean-like changeability,9 neither confirms nor denies that she is romantically interested in George Somerset. This inability to commit to Somerset is not simply romantic, since she also hires another architect, Mr Havill, to produce plans for De Stancy castle, claiming she will choose her architect on the merit of the plans. Somerset hires a draughtsman called Will Dare in the hope of winning the competition. However, the reader learns that Dare is in fact the illegitimate son of Charlotte De Stancy’s brother, Captain De Stancy, something of which Charlotte was not aware. Dare hopes to restore his father to the Castle and in doing so receive remuneration. He becomes an informant for Havill on Somerset’s plans for the Castle, ensuring that Somerset is kept out of the way for Captain De Stancy to propose to Paula, which she accepts. In order to completely eliminate Somerset, Dare, who the reader learns is a trick photographer, creates a hoax photograph along with some fake telegrams. The resulting image depicts Somerset drunk at a casino, and the telegrams sent to Paula asking for money, supposedly from Somerset but in fact from Dare, support this. Charlotte uncovers Dare’s trick and Paula, after dismissing Somerset – for the last time – as her architect, discovers her error and then pursues him across Europe to admit her mistake. The pair marry but Castle De Stancy burns down at the end of the novel. Somerset offers to build Paula a new home as ‘the perfect representative’ of the ‘modern spirit’, to which Paula replies, ‘I wish my castle wasn’t burnt; and I wish you were a De Stancy!’ (379). While good might triumph over evil, the razing of Castle De Stancy still makes the ending problematic. On the one hand, photographs and telegrams, so representative of modernity throughout the novel, are renounced by the end of the narrative. Yet, on the other hand, the traditional form of the past – the castle itself – is seemingly replaced by the potential for a new architectural production. However, what is clear is


Writing, Authorship and Photography

that modernity is destructive in every incarnation within the novel: the photographs and telegrams destroy (however briefly) Somerset’s reputation; past architectural forms must be destroyed to make room for newer ones. But Will Dare, the new amateur photographer, also demonstrates how modern tools of representation might be linked to deception, as well as destruction. After all, Dare is responsible for the photograph which so incriminates Somerset. But aside from this, photographs which surround Dare are also used to deceive others. Once he is employed by Somerset the two exchange photographs. When it is perceived that Dare might be using his employment to inform Mr Havill, Somerset provides chief constable Mr Haze with a photograph in order to authenticate who it was Haze saw in Somerset’s studio late at night (130–1). Somerset provides this photograph because he is unable to draw a sketch of Dare. Before Haze has time to inspect the image himself, Captain De Stancy engineers it so that the image is replaced with another – this time of someone unknown to Haze – and the original photograph is destroyed. Photographs proliferate in the novel as modes of communication, of sharing knowledge or information, as well as become both objects of proof and the objects of deception: Dare’s portrait photograph has evidentiary value beyond Somerset’s attempted sketches, but when it is skilfully intercepted it provides no proof whatsoever. As in his correspondence with Lea, Hardy is demonstrating how perspective and context can drastically alter any inherent truth value in the image, but he also highlights how any belief in the photograph’s veracity leaves the viewer open to deception. In other words, there is no inherent meaning (signified) attached to each photographic image. This is further true of the trick photograph produced by Dare. Instead of context determining how the photographic image is read, the trick photograph which Dare creates of Somerset appears to depict reality truthfully in spite of the context. Dare sends a fake telegram and then skilfully allows Charlotte and Paula to find the photograph after it falls out of his pocket (280). His aim was to dupe Paula into believing Somerset has followed her to Europe, got drunk and lost all of his money at a casino. The description of the women’s responses is as follows: Of all the thoughts which filled the minds of Paula and Charlotte De Stancy, the thought that the photograph might have been a fabrication was probably the last. To them that picture of Somerset had all the cogency of direct vision. Paula’s experience, much less Charlotte’s, had never lain in the fields of heliographic science, and they would as soon have thought that the sun could again stand still upon Gibeon, as that it could be made to falsify men’s characters in delineating their features. (283)

The connection made to the physical world of light, of heliographic science, demonstrates the women’s inability to consider that the photograph might be a ‘fabrication’. In fact, the photograph is described as a ‘direct vision’, suggesting the way in which the viewer of the photograph often collapses the image into the object of the photograph. It implies that a photograph is a window pane through which the viewer can perceive some sort of truth. But here Hardy is demonstrating that photography is not a truthful and direct vision of events but a medium or sign which can be mediated

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and manipulated in order to carry a certain meaning or signified. Once Charlotte discovers that the telegram was not sent by Somerset, she begins to question whether photography too might be open to fabrication. In her pursuit of the truth she discovers trick photography in the photograph shop of Mr Ray in Monkton, in which, it is revealed, Will Dare used to produce trick photographs ‘as an amusement, and not for the sake of getting a living’ (337). Dare is the quintessential amateur, then, who produces hoax images for fun. It is in Mr Ray’s shop that Charlotte finally realizes that photographs can ‘represent people as they had never been’ (336). In other words, rather than direct visions, trick photographs are only representations, skilfully, and libellously,10 mediated. But even as a representational tool photography struggles to capture what is in fact visually perceived. Dare, whose photograph is burned by his father to obscure his identity from Mr Haze, continually resists visual description. Ironically, the man who produces representations cannot be represented. When other characters in the novel attempt to describe him, they are unable to say certainly that he is one thing or another. The characters are left instead to make analogies between his face and other things. When Somerset first meets Dare, the narrator explains, in great detail, what is in fact a lack of detail in Dare’s face. It is the verbosity of the descriptions of Dare that makes his characterization so vague: His age it was impossible to say. There was not a hair upon his face which could serve to hang a guess upon. In repose he appeared a boy; but his actions were so completely those of a man that the beholder’s first estimate of sixteen as his age was hastily corrected to six-and-twenty, and afterwards shifted hither and thither along intervening years as the tenor of his sentences sent him up or down. He had a broad forehead, vertical as the face of a bastion, and his hair, which was parted in the middle, hung as the fringe or valance above, in the fashion sometimes affected by the other sex. He wore a heavy ring, of which the gold seemed good, the diamond questionable, and the taste indifferent. There were the remains of a swagger in his body and limbs as he came forward, regarding Somerset with a confident smile, as if the wonder were, not why Mr. Dare should be present, but why Somerset should be present likewise; and the first tone that came from Dare’s lips wound up his listener’s opinion that he did not like him. A latent power in the man, or boy, was revealed by the circumstance that Somerset did not feel, as he would ordinarily have done, that it was a matter of profound indifference to him whether this gentleman-photographer were a likeable person or no. (45)

Dare is a composite of many different stereotypes. He is both man and woman, old and young, tasteful and not. Havill later calls Dare ‘a complete negative’ (63), demonstrating the way in which he has come to embody his photography. As both a composite and a negative – two terms with distinctly photographic connotations – he cannot be captured visually. Notably, he is also represented architecturally: his face like a ‘bastion’. While the description struggles to pin down Dare exactly, architecture becomes another visual analogue as well as ensures a direct comparison between


Writing, Authorship and Photography

the centuries-old tradition of architecture and the new technology of photography. Both architecture and photography become metaphors through which Dare can be represented; they do not represent him visually – there is not a photograph or a building which depicts him – but metonymically replace him. Through this description of Dare, Hardy reveals how both photography and architecture are equally representational, rather than one representation and the other imitation. Despite being compared or likened to a photograph, Dare’s face cannot be reproduced, thus highlighting how the connection between photograph and reality is not so direct. His identity remains elusive: he cannot be drawn by Somerset, his photograph is burned and even literary description fails to adequately characterize him. In fact, the only certain identity of Dare is his tattoo which Havill discovers during the evening they both spend at the inn at Sleeping-Green. Previously hidden from Havill, but alluded to, the architect reveals the words ‘DE STANCY’ on Dare’s chest while he is sleeping (143). Again, Dare is represented textually rather than visually, demonstrating that where photography and drawing fail to describe him, the text on his chest and Hardy’s prose might be able to reveal his true character. In other words, signifier and signified are bound up together and collapsed inwards in this textual inscription upon his body. In spite of writing’s apparently privileged position within A Laodicean, like the connection between photography and more traditional arts, technology threatens to modernize writing too. Somerset stumbles across Castle De Stancy by following its telegraph line, which highlights how Paula, despite her taste for the past, cannot help but slowly modernize her environment. The instalment of modern telegraphy in the Castle embodies a sort of infestation. It is described as a worm ‘uneasy at being unearthed’ (31), moving ‘from extreme antiquity of environment to sheer modernism’ (186). There is a dual sense of stagnancy and fecundity attached to this description. Modernity is capable of production, of creation, but only in the image of an unearthed worm. But beyond the telegraph there are other modern, literary interruptions with the Castle’s walls. The intrusion of the modern into the ancient Castle is also depicted in the objects found in Paula’s room: On the tables of the sitting-room were most of the popular papers and periodicals that he knew, not only English, but from Paris, Italy, and America. Satirical prints, though they did not unduly preponderate, were not wanting. Besides these there were books from a London circulating library, paper-covered light literature in French and choice Italian, and the latest monthly reviews; while between the two windows stood the telegraph apparatus whose wire had been the means of bringing him hither. … On and over the mantelpiece were nicknacks [sic] of various descriptions, and photographic portraits of the artistic, scientific, and literary celebrities of the day. (31)

Just as the Kodak-trippers intruded upon Hardy’s private life in Upper Bockhampton, so too these photographs of different celebrities of the day intrude upon traditional and historic locations. These photographic documents of celebrity authors are jumbled together with other nineteenth-century commodities, for instance books from circulating libraries and popular periodicals. The intrusion upon the site of the old,

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then, is imagined in both a photographic and material way, stressing that with mass media comes the mass production of ephemeral objects. Mechanical writing – the telegraph – has literally led Somerset to this shrine to nineteenth-century modernity. This demonstrates how Hardy identified pursuing modern modes of writing as part of a culture invested primarily in things, rather than art. Fundamentally, in this description there is no mention of the subjects of the different types of writing, merely that in all their various forms, writing becomes a physical, proliferating commodity, rather than a singular piece of art. A Laodicean, like its female protagonist, is changeable and cannot commit to any particular style. The ideological tensions at the heart of the novel – the modern in contrast to the ancient, the new versus the traditional – are obscured by Hardy’s own literary style, which Geoffrey Harvey has described as a combination of ‘the medieval form of the morality play with modern social realism’.11 In this unorthodox mix of genres, Hardy’s central argument – if there is one – remains obscured. But what this novel begins to do is bring together central themes which are explored elsewhere in his writing: by examining the tension between antiquity and modernity, Hardy challenges the relationship between what is representation and representations taken for reality; by suggesting the insidious infiltration of modernity into the Castle De Stancy Hardy is proposing a modernity which creeps up unseen and unheard. This theme is continued in ‘An Imaginative Woman’ in which the modern photographic process becomes a pseudo-natural act. This effectively blurs the distinction between representation and reality. In fact, Hardy’s short story suggests that when the logic of direct, photographic replication is applied to traditional modes of reproduction – here human sexual reproduction – the result is almost magical and certainly absurd. When viewers of the photograph believe that the photographic object allows them to see through directly to reality, something which Paula Power and Charlotte De Stancy instinctively fall foul of in A Laodicean, then the photograph itself is bestowed with an uncanny potency.

‘An Imaginative Woman’ (1893): Realism, writing and photographic reproduction ‘An Imaginative Woman’12 uses pregnancy as a metaphor to interrogate the nature of photographic reproduction. By recasting sexual reproduction as a sort of photographic reproduction, Hardy effectively demonstrates what happens when human agency is eliminated from creative acts. Furthermore, by suggesting that a photograph could have real-world implications – a pregnancy – Hardy exaggerates the relationship the image has with the person it represents. Hardy reverses the connection between photograph and referent, hinting that if the photograph itself is some kind of trace of the subject, then the image should be bestowed with some of that subject’s physical power also. It is a fantasy, but the short story interrogates the belief in photography’s indexical link to its referent by absurdly amplifying that relationship in the text. By collapsing this distance between image and referent, Hardy explores what it means for a photograph to be a representation taken for reality, rather than just a representation.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Ella Marchmill, the eponymous imaginative woman, is a young mother and an aspiring poet. She and her family are on holiday in the town of Solentsea, where her husband, Will, has rented the rooms of another young poet, Robert Trewe. Ella is an admirer of his work and requests that his rooms be her own personal quarters. But what begins as an appreciation for his poetic skill quickly turns into a romantic obsession. Ella begins to fixate over the objects in the room, including Trewe’s scribblings on the wall, his clothes and a photographic portrait of him. One night, Ella’s husband nearly catches her looking at the photograph, but she quickly conceals it under her pillow. Hardy implies that later this night Ella conceives her fourth child with her husband, but all the while the photograph remains in its hiding place. Ella leaves Solentsea having never met the poet and decides to try and meet him through some other means. After several failed attempts at a rendezvous, and after a brief correspondence, Ella learns that he has taken his own life. She never once revealed her romantic interest in him. She writes to his landlady to request a lock of Trewe’s hair,13 his photograph and information about his funeral. Entirely unaware of what had transpired in Solentsea, her husband is first alerted to Ella’s infatuation with the poet when he finds her visiting Trewe’s grave after leaving the family unannounced. Will decides to disregard the whole event. Ella dies giving birth to her fourth child, and several years later, while preparing the home for his new wife, Will discovers the photograph and the lock of hair. He calls to his youngest child, imagines he sees a resemblance to the photograph of Trewe and decides that the child must be the result of infidelity. The implication is that the hidden photograph of Trewe is somehow responsible for the appearance of the child. The way in which the photograph works within the reality of the short story is twofold. Either the photograph is so intimately connected with its referent that the image itself becomes sexually potent. Or alternatively, the image which Will Marchmill later finds offers him visual ‘proof ’ which overrides the fact that the child is his and only resembles Trewe. In both scenarios, the photograph interrupts reality, but the second suggests that viewers of photographs allow their reality to be informed by photography, rather than that photography captures the real. But, if the reader is to believe instead that the child is somehow a product of Trewe’s photograph, then this too, in a bizarre way, allows Hardy to demonstrate how the photograph is believed to be directly connected to reality. In writing about two poets, Hardy also imbricates the discussion of photography’s indexicality with a discussion of creation, artistic intervention and the process of imagination. The idea that the photograph might have a direct link with its referent is exemplified in Hardy’s representation of the photograph as a person or character in itself. Trewe’s landlady, Mrs Hooper, brings the photograph to life using personal pronouns. When Ella asks her if the poet has a photograph, she replies that there is a photograph already in the rooms, hidden behind the photograph of the duke and duchess. Mrs Hooper describes her reasons for hiding it: As he [Trewe] went away he said: ‘Cover me up from those strangers that are coming, for God’s sake. I don’t want them staring at me, and I am sure they won’t want me staring at them.’ So I slipped in the Duke and Duchess temporarily in front of him, as they had no frame, and Royalties are more suitable for letting

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furnished than a private young man. If you take ’em out you’ll see him under. Lord, ma’am, he wouldn’t mind if he knew it! He didn’t think the next tenant would be such an attractive lady as you, or he wouldn’t have thought of hiding himself; perhaps. (15)

In a way which foreshadows Hardy’s later comments to Lea, Trewe seems concerned with his privacy and the suitability of his photographic image being seen by other people. But this concern is rooted in the confusion between Trewe and his representation. Mrs Hooper here suggests that the viewing of portrait photographs is a two-way relationship, affecting both viewer and subject alike. The photograph is imbued with human characteristics, demonstrating what Roland Barthes has termed the ‘adherence’ between subject image and object: that the image of the photograph is unavoidably bound up in the object.14 In this reported speech, Trewe uses the personal pronoun ‘me’ in reference to the photograph and Mrs Hooper also refers to the photograph as ‘himself ’, suggesting that personhood is embedded in the material object of the photograph. This elision of the boundary between subject and object articulates the problematic overinvestment of truth in photography: the subject of the image and the object of the photograph are assumed to be the same. By being concerned for his privacy he is acknowledging the viewer’s willingness to take the representation for reality, for being really him. Mrs Hooper’s report that had Trewe known Ella was so pretty, he ‘wouldn’t have thought of hiding himself ’ again elides the distance between the real-life Trewe and his photograph. Since it is both a pronoun and noun, the word ‘himself ’ lexically complicates the relationship between image and object. Because ‘himself ’ stands in for ‘Trewe’ but is a noun in itself, it is at once a word that substitutes the actual person but also a word that can stand on its own as an object. The photograph becomes a fetish – an object which initially stood in for the original sex object but then became an independent object of sexual gratification – highlighting how effecting the pronounal substitution for the photograph at once connects the photographic object to its original subject (Trewe) and severs the connection (photograph is ‘himself ’). More interestingly, Mrs Hooper’s use of the conditional past – that had he known he would not have thought – demonstrates the awkward temporal moment in which viewers of photographs find themselves. Photographs are always in the past, they are a proof of what has already happened, and yet the image retains a sort of continuous present. By suggesting that Trewe and his image are one and the same Mrs Hooper is complicit in connecting a past representation with current reality through her use of tenses. The photographic image’s physical connection both with Trewe and with the viewer is clear from the way in which Ella first regards the photograph. The encounter is described in such a way as to suggest that Ella is preparing for a sexual encounter with the real-life Trewe. She delays viewing it for the first time, ensuring that her children are tended to, among other preparations: To gratify her passionate curiosity she now made her preparations, first getting rid of superfluous garments and putting on her dressing-gown, then arranging a chair in front of the table and reading several pages of Trewe’s tenderest utterances. Then


Writing, Authorship and Photography she fetched the portrait-frame to the light, opened the back, took out the likeness, and set it up before her. (16)

Her undressing and viewing of the photograph not only demonstrate the illicit and oversexualized relationship she has already begun to imagine but also highlight the role of the photograph as a fetish, which, while connected to its referent, manages to replace the referent at the same time. In other words, by being indexically linked to the photographic image the person the image depicts is replaced by the image. The image is metonymic. The very nature of the fetish complicates the relationship between the object (of representation) and its signifier (its representation). As she removes her clothes it is as though she is going to bed with a real, breathing, human being, rather than a photograph. When viewing Trewe’s photograph Ella also reads the extracts of poems he has written on the wall: ‘Forms more real than living man,| Nurslings of immortality’ (18). The lines suggest the potency of the photograph Ella is currently viewing: it is a form more real than living man, but it is a sterile, if immortal, representation. At once the photograph’s physical reality means that Trewe is ‘nearer [her] real self, he’s more intimate with the real [her] than Will [her husband] is’, even though she has never seen him (17). On this bizarre humanizing effect of the photograph, Geoffrey Batchen has noted that by framing a photograph the image becomes three-dimensional, reminding the viewer that it ‘is a thing as well as an image’ and that this physical presence ‘complicates what has long been understood as a defining attribute of photography – its indexical relationship to a world outside itself ’ since, ‘by turning the photograph into a sign of itself as well as of its referent, it prompts us to question the nature of that relationship’.15 But Ella removes Trewe’s photograph from its frame, and consequently removes that sense of thingness, and thus the relationship between the image and the referent collapses inwards. The frame had, in a sense, disconnected the photograph from reality by reinforcing its status as a representation. Moreover, Ella’s subsequent pregnancy expresses the tension between the uncanny potency of photographic reproduction and artistic creation as different types of representation. In Hardy’s much earlier description of Ella, he writes that ‘though less than a poet of her century, [she] was more than a mere multiplier of her kind’ (9). Despite Ella being more than a multiplier of her kind – a phrase specifically applied to her childbearing – her poetry is never discussed in the story. In fact, her imagination metamorphoses into her sexual reproduction, precisely because potency here becomes an analogue for photographic reproduction. So, despite the fact that Trewe’s poetry is even written on the walls of her rooms, Hardy does not give one example of Ella’s own poetic endeavours. By doing so he mirrors the way in which creative, poetic power is substituted by the power to reproduce imitatively. The representations of Ella’s ideas, then, become acts of physical reproduction rather than artistic creation. This connection is not new. Thomas Laqueur has written on the historical sexism in the idea of ‘conception’ or the generation of ideas. He writes that in the past ‘being a male and being a father’ was deemed so powerful that conception was imagined as ‘a male having an idea in the woman’s body’. In situations where legitimacy could not be established, or an abnormal conception occurred, it was

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understood that a woman had had an idea herself, one that was both ‘ill-gotten and inadequate’.16 In having an idea of her own she has an unnatural or strange pregnancy. Ella’s fourth child is situated somewhere between these two processes. Either the idea of Trewe inseminates her, giving her a child that resembles him despite this pregnancy occurring entirely without his physical presence. Or alternatively, the idea of Trewe is so potent that this conception can happen inside Will Marchmill’s mind, too. In other words, when Will Marchmill believes he sees Trewe’s image in the face of his son, does he do so because Ella was inseminated by that idea, or is that idea seeded in Will’s mind because of the likeness between child and image? In fact, the ambiguity with which Hardy writes the section on Ella’s husband’s revelation suggests that the ‘transmitted idea’ is both the photograph and the image’s referent (Trewe). The resemblance is of the poet’s face, but this similarity originates only in one image, rather than in how he really looks. The child, then, resembles both the photograph and the man himself, and yet nothing is said about the child looking like Ella. This is because Hardy deliberately removes the process of imagination from Ella, not just in her missing poetry. If the reader is to believe that Ella has remained faithful and that the photograph has not somehow magically inseminated her, then it is Will Marchmill’s revelation that is the true imaginative act. When Ella’s widower finds the picture of Trewe he calls for his youngest child, ‘now a noisy toddler’, in order to compare the child with the photograph. He notes that ‘there were undoubtedly strong traces of resemblance; the dreamy and peculiar expression of the poet’s face sat, as the transmitted idea, upon the child’s, and the hair was of the same hue’ (32). Very quickly Ella becomes the thing through which Trewe’s idea is transmitted – as a conduit or medium through which direct reproduction happens – despite Will’s initial observation of resemblance. Here the line between what is a representation and what is reality is blurred. Will’s belief in the truth of the photograph is in direct contrast to what the reader of the short story has been told – that Trewe and Ella did not conceive the child together. This additional layer of reading, of reading the photograph inside the short story, alters what might be perceived as visually true, or, indeed, visually Trewe. Rather than comparing photograph to reality, Will uses photography to inform what he believes he sees in real life. This is reinforced again through Hardy’s choice of names: Ella’s husband is called Will, and he wills his own beliefs from the photograph. Much like with ‘Will Dare’ in A Laodicean, Hardy uses names here to demonstrate the willing suspension of disbelief required when investing in the photograph as a vehicle of truth. However, if it is the case that Will Marchmill is seeing only what he thinks he sees, then the process of interpretation has almost completely disappeared. Hardy’s metatextual layering obfuscates whether the story is supposed to represent contemporary Victorian reality and beliefs or a fantastical abstraction of those beliefs. The reader understands Trewe and Ella to be at least suggestive of real, nineteenth-century poets, but in quoting both Trewe’s poetry and then later Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s, Hardy makes comparisons between the poet of the story and poets in real life. Hardy includes a few lines from Rossetti’s ‘Stillborn Love’ (1870– 81) to describe the love between Ella and Trewe. It reads: ‘The hour which might have been yet might not be, | Which man’s and woman’s heart conceived and bore| Yet whereof life was barren’ (27).17 Hardy’s use of the real-life poetry of Rossetti in


Writing, Authorship and Photography

juxtaposition with Trewe’s fictional poetry highlights the way in which the idea of authorship and, more specifically here, poetic creation is tied to Hardy’s metaphor of pregnancy. Rossetti’s poem uses maternal images to convey its own meaning, something which Hardy repeats within ‘An Imaginative Woman’. However, by using an excerpt from Rossetti Hardy is mixing the registers of the short story. As he does throughout his career in the creation of the fictional Wessex, fiction and reality are so intimately connected that it becomes a question of perspective to determine what is real and what is merely fictionally real – that is, what is real within the fictional world. Moreover, Rossetti’s marginal presence in the short story brings the figure of the writer into the foreground, again contrasting the metaphor of pregnancy with photographic reproduction, and also with literary authorship. The introduction of the poet in this way is a reminder from Hardy that other modes of creation exist beyond either photographic or sexual reproduction. While Ella might be unable to create beyond her imitative photographic-sexual reproduction, Rossetti’s poetry is a way in which the representation, the story, can be mediated: it provides words which help Hardy articulate the story. In such a way, the figure of the writer as someone who mediates and depicts life emerges from a narrative focused on direct reproduction. As we will see in ‘The Photograph’, poetry, through its extensive use of rhetorical devices, in particular metonymy, reveals photography’s connection with representation rather than imitation: it collapses the real into the metaphorical. As in ‘An Imaginative Woman’, Hardy’s poem ‘The Photograph’ uses metaphor and analogy to demonstrate that the supposedly indexical connection between the photograph and reality is in fact representative.

The image and object of ‘The Photograph’ (1917) In ‘The Photograph’18 Hardy uses metonymy to consider how the photographic object and the subject it represents are bound together. There are two metonymic layers to the poem: firstly, that the photographic image can supplant the real-life person that it depicts, and, secondly, that the poem itself can replace the photograph it depicts. As will become clear, Hardy interrogates the logic of the photograph’s uncanny and very physical connection to reality by suggesting that anything which happens to the photograph itself must then in fact happen to the subject that the photograph represents. Julian Wolfreys has made the claim that Hardy’s poems more generally are not just representations but that the ‘image-making powers’ of Hardy’s poetry make them more akin to photography. He calls Hardy’s poetics a ‘photo-poetics’.19 In the case of ‘The Photograph’ this is certainly true, since image and poem are complexly linked. However, the poem remains a literary representation. Even as Hardy allows the photograph and the poem to overlap, he makes it clear by the end of the poem that fundamentally writing is not comparable to the indexical link supposed between photography and reality. He draws the distinction between the imitative connection between life and photography and the representational connection between life and

Obscuring the Boundaries


writing. Moreover, even where writing uses metaphor to present one thing as another – the poem as a photograph, the photograph as a person – the author retains ultimate control over the representation. The poem itself describes the gradual burning of a photograph by the speaker. Yet through their eyes one sees a fire slowly destroying the body of a woman instead. Eventually the reader is to understand that in fact it is not a woman being burned but a photographic image depicting her. It is at this point that Hardy reveals that the poem has metonymically replaced the woman with her photograph, with her representation. The fact that this is a photograph and not the woman itself is only made clear through the poem’s title. The poem, then, plays with the inherent distance involved in considering the photograph as a separate art object – and thus rendering the poem an experiment in ekphrasis – and what happens when the boundary between person and representation is erased. In fact, the poem’s delay in revealing that what is being burned is only a photograph effectively collapses the distance between photographic image and the material object. The poem’s opening stanza reads, ‘And over the arm’s incline, | And along the marge of the silkwork superfine, | And gnawed at the delicate bosom’s defenceless round’ (ll. 3–5). The lack of pronoun here – ‘the’ for ‘her’ – demonstrates the immediate objectification of the photograph’s subject as it burns. Similarly, the use of the word ‘round’ as a noun, rather than ‘round’ as a preposition or adjective in the final line of the stanza removes the sense of action from the woman’s body/object of the photograph: ‘round’ is not a movement or a description but in fact a non-moving shape or figure. So, physical action is condensed into the static, two-dimensional photographic image, and this is mirrored in Hardy’s linguistic conversion of verb into noun, of movement into object. This reveals the way in which reality, which exists in three dimensions and involves physical movement in the present, is captured in the past tense as a non-moving image. All action is rendered as an object, and this object is being gnawed at by fire in the now of the poem. The only clue that the woman’s body is in fact a photographic likeness is the use of the word ‘portrait’, but this word alone does not expose the unique indexical relationship the photographic portrait has to the referent. It is the structural and symbolic conflation of the image and the referent throughout the poem that communicates the relationship photography has with reality. Hardy takes this elision of boundaries between the two to an illogical extreme, posing the speaker to hypothesize on whether when one burns a photograph one burns the referent too. Hardy writes: ‘But, compelled to heed, I again looked furtive-wise| Till the flame had eaten her breasts, and mouth, and hair’ (ll. 9–10). Importantly the flame now eats her breasts, rather than the breasts of the objectphotograph, again collapsing the sense of distance between subject and object of the photograph. The following polysyndeton of the repeated ‘and’ conveys the rapidity with which the body – no longer just a photographic body – is now being consumed by the flames. The narrator finally feels ‘compelled to heed’ but only after a cry of pain; his relationship with the photograph alters once he begins to ruminate on the humanity and subjectivity of the photograph itself. But even as the simultaneously literal and figurative death of the woman is brought about through fire, the body is still inscribed onto the material photographic object. Death cannot separate image and person as


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long as the image remains. But as the photograph finally burns up, the narrator emits another expression of emotion: ‘Thank God, she is out of it now!’ I said at last, In a great relief of heart when the thing was done    That had set my soul aghast, And nothing was left of the picture unsheathed from the past But the ashen ghost of the card it had figured on. (ll. 11–15)

The word ‘it’ appears twice across these lines. Line 11 suggests that the process of burning has been some sort of euthanization, or even exorcism, in which the spirit of the woman is somehow released by the fire. This sense is implied through the word ‘ghost’ as well as through ‘aghast’, which comes from the verb ‘agast’, to terrify, a root which ‘ghost’ also shares. The phrase ‘the thing was done’ also problematizes whether this burning has in fact elicited a death or indeed whether photographic capturing is always a type of death. The ‘thing’ can mean both the moment of death and the photograph itself: either the ‘death’ was done or the ‘photograph’ was done. The ‘thing’ is the subject of the verb, but it is difficult to see exactly what this is. The thing could be the process of burning the photograph or, since Hardy has already emphasized the material quality of the photograph, it could be the photograph itself. The phrase ‘was done’ would then mean either ‘the burning of the photograph was over’ or ‘the photograph itself was destroyed’. There is room for this dual meaning, since one of the definitions of ‘done’ is ‘tired, exhausted; beaten, defeated; worn out, used up; incapacitated’ (OED), which are more human, rather than thing-like attributes. Clearly, Hardy deliberately obfuscates the line between the real-life person depicted in the image and the photographic image as a representation. This simultaneous double meaning is reinforced by the final line of the stanza in which Hardy describes the remains of the photograph. Since the woman’s body had only ‘figured on’ the photograph, the ‘ashen ghost’ means the literal ash from the photographic card, which resembles a ghost in its insubstantiality, its waste. Yet the use of the word ‘ghost’ implies that a death has been enacted, and that the ‘figure’ is indeed the figure of a real body. The woman is suspended between two deaths, one figurative and one literal. Elissa Marder describes the relationship between the subject (person depicted) and the object (the photograph itself) of photography as the one where the ‘living body of the subject haunts the photograph in the form of an undead body that can never be fully buried. The uncanny properties of the photographic medium suspend the body in a perpetual never-never-land between procreation and mortification.’20 The polarization of the living and the dead in the relationship between subject and object is one that enacts a death through objectification. Hardy’s conflation of the image, photograph and subject in this poem demonstrates how the belief that the photograph is indexically linked to the sitter is always a sort of death. In A Laodicean a photograph can defame someone of otherwise good character, since the viewers of the photograph cannot believe that such a technology was possible of trickery. In ‘An Imaginative Woman’, a photograph can either inseminate a woman or affect the outcome of her pregnancy, or convince someone that their child is in fact not theirs, again because the

Obscuring the Boundaries


resemblance of the portrait to real life is so potent. Here, in ‘The Photograph’, belief in the image’s direct relationship to the referent has the potential to literally, as well as figuratively, kill the person depicted in the portrait. Such is the hyperbolic result, Hardy intimates, of assuming that photography mechanically reproduces life rather than represents or mediates it.

Photography, indifference and Jude the Obscure (1895) ‘The Photograph’ marks an increasing indifference towards the person depicted in the image. While it begins by philosophizing on the photographic subject’s life, it ends almost apathetically with an acceptance of her death. But in both A Laodicean and ‘An Imaginative Woman’ the viewer’s connection with the photograph is always emotionally, and usually romantically, charged. Because of the presumed relationship between referent and image, the indifference shown towards a photograph is just as potent as any other emotion. This movement between indifference for the photographic image and complete emotional investment in it is perhaps one of the reasons Hardy’s exact opinions on photography appear to be so complicated in his fiction. However, what is clear is the indexical connection the photograph has to the sitter and the profound entreaty by the photographic image to be believed as a true depiction of life. This ambiguity is likewise demonstrated in a scene from Jude the Obscure (1895), which, like Hardy’s later poem, also results in the burning of a photograph. In the novel Arabella puts Jude’s photograph in a sale of their old things before moving to Australia, since to her it has no value. Upon Jude seeing his photograph in the broker’s shop, Hardy writes: The utter death of every tender sentiment in his wife, as brought home to him by this mute and undersigned evidence of her sale of his portrait and gift, was the conclusive little stroke required to demolish all sentiment in him. He paid the shilling, took the photograph away with him, and burnt it, frame and all, when he reached his lodgings.21

The photograph here is seen as having only an economic value and is stripped of any sentiment through being put up for sale. It becomes merely a commodity rather than a signifier of any deeper meaning between the image’s viewer (Arabella) and the subject of the image (Jude). The photograph likewise marks a death, though this time the death of any sentimental connection between Jude and Arabella. At the same time, or, rather fantastically, as a result, the photograph no longer retains its ability to faithfully represent Jude. This is clear from what the broker says, who sells the frame to Jude without seeing the resemblance between him and the image. He calls the frame ‘a very useful one, if you take out the likeness’ (79). Evidently, the resemblance, or ‘likeness’, no longer exists between Jude and his portrait, which, in a bizarre way, suggests that once the sentimental value of a photograph has been removed, its powers of faithfully capturing the image of reality also dissipate. In short, how the photograph represented Jude was not through a shared resemblance but as a token of affection. This is clear from the way in which the photograph no longer serves the purpose of a likeness


Writing, Authorship and Photography

once Arabella renounces it. This scene then communicates that part of a photographic image’s ability to represent another person is based in the emotional and sentimental attachments the viewer has with the subject of the image, rather than the indexical quality of the photograph itself. Just like Will Marchmill, who wills the resemblance between Trewe’s photograph and the youngest Marchmill child, photographs only have the power to represent if the viewer invests the image with that power. Thus, Hardy acknowledges that as an object which represents someone else photography can work. But it is fundamental to him that the photographing public accept that photographs are representative; they are mediated by the camera frame and the photographer. Without accepting this, the public run the risk of championing a style of representation which removes the authority or intervention of the author and which results in a detailed, banal description of everyday life. This was part of Hardy’s rationale for eventually moving away from novel-writing to ‘resume openly that form of it which had always been more instinctive with him, and which he had just been able to keep alive from his early years, half in secrecy, under the pressure of magazine writing’.22 His justification for this shift was that the novel was ‘gradually losing artistic form, with a beginning, middle, and end, and becoming a spasmodic inventory of items, which has nothing to do with art’.23 The novel was becoming merely a list of material objects in its quest for realistic representation, but by the end of his career, after dutifully engaging in the magazine writing of the newly professionalised author, Hardy could finally return to poetry. But his distaste for new literary styles and amateur photography demonstrates his concern primarily for what might be deemed ‘high art’. In his constant theorizing of the role of the author, and his turn to poetry in later life, Hardy proposes a figure of the author who is unwilling to engage in popular culture. Yet towards the end of the nineteenth century, when Hardy was so belligerently presenting the figure of the author as a seer or God, photographers were robustly arguing for their inclusion into the art world. This request for inclusion destabilized precisely what Hardy believed was the main attribute of photography: its ability to mechanically reproduce. The photographer Henry Peach Robinson defends his art thus: Those who have only a superficial knowledge of the possibilities of our art contend that the photographer is a mere mechanical realist without power to add anything of himself to his production. Yet some of our critics inconsistently commit themselves to the statement that some of our pictures are nothing like nature.24

Here he identifies a problematic paradox which impedes photography’s ability to be universally accepted as an art practice. On the one hand, traditionalist critics like Hardy consider the photographer a ‘mechanical realist’ who directly copies life. On the other hand, Robinson describes a critic who takes issue with photography’s lack of resemblance to real life. Simultaneously photography is both true to life and not true enough. However, what Robinson’s claim depicts is the way in which photographic style was also changing. While it continued to be used for documentary or evidentiary purposes, photography also became an artistic mode of representation, something

Obscuring the Boundaries


with which Hardy, who privileged the artist, could identify. The task that arose, and which begins in Hardy’s writing, lay in acknowledging that photographs could be just as deceptive, even illusory, as literary fiction. In the next part of this book, some of the ways in which photography contributed to a culture of façade and illusion, even while it retained its evidentiary status, will become clear. By turning now to Bram Stoker and Dracula (1897), it is clear that both mechanical reproduction for the purposes of fact and stage illusion benefited from the technological development and popularization of photography.


Part Two

Bram Stoker, theatrical culture and the photographic heritage of the vampire



Photography, promotion and the theatrical profession in Bram Stoker’s correspondence

Dear Bram Stoker, Your most kind promise of the other evening was most pleasantly fulfilled to-day when your book arrived. I need not say with how much interest I shall read it, or how much I shall value it as the gift of its gifted author. As soon as I have a copy I shall beg your acceptance of a photograph of my Vampire – a woman this time, so as to make the balance fair!1 (Letter from Philip Burne-Jones to Stoker, 16 June 1897) This letter brings together two important artefacts in cultural history of the vampire. The book to which Burne-Jones refers is Bram Stoker’s recently published Dracula;2 Burne-Jones’s The Vampire is his painting, which formed a part of the New Gallery’s annual exhibition in London’s Regent Street that summer.3 These two versions of the vampire, then, appear in the same year. But their connection goes beyond their shared temporal moment and even beyond this correspondence: for both men the figure of the vampire was indebted to the world of theatricality. According to both J. Lawrence Mitchell and Harold Orel it was widely believed that Burne-Jones’s vampire was modelled on the British stage actress Mrs Patrick Campbell,4 with whom he had become infatuated. His emphasis on the personal pronoun ‘my’ stresses this romantic interest in the actress, but more problematically, it also makes it unclear what photographic portrait Stoker should expect. On the one hand the photograph might be of the painting, ‘his’ painting, a reproduction of the image easily accessible to Stoker in a London gallery. On the other hand, it could be a photograph of Mrs Patrick Campbell herself, ‘his’ model vampire. In both instances, the elliptical use of this pronoun suggests that Stoker might already implicitly know what form Burne-Jones’s vampire will take, even while it might remain unclear to contemporary archivists. Certainly, during his time as the theatrical manager of the Lyceum theatre between 1878 and 1905, Bram Stoker was not unused to receiving photographs of British actresses – this is abundantly clear from Stoker’s correspondence – and Campbell also performed at the Lyceum in various Shakespearean roles towards the end of the


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1890s.5 This professional connection between Stoker and Campbell might explain the gestural nature of Burne-Jones’s letter: he might be referring to not simply a fictional supernatural woman but a theatrical celebrity. Contemporary with Geneviève Ward and Ellen Terry, Mrs Patrick Campbell reached iconic status in British theatrical circles towards the end of the nineteenth century. Her performance as the eponymous wife in Sir Arthur Wing Pinero’s problem play The Second Mrs Tanqueray, first performed in 1893, propelled her to fame.6 The performance attracted both praise and criticism in its portrayal of female sexuality: the work alludes to the fact that Paula Tanqueray has a sexual past with multiple partners, and, despite Aubrey Tanqueray’s knowledge of his fiancée’s previous life, his friends are rather less forgiving. Upon their marriage the pair struggles to maintain their social standing, and the arrival of Aubrey’s nineteenyear-old daughter Ellean contributes to the couple’s growing problems. Having changed her mind about becoming a nun after many years of convent schooling, Ellean becomes romantically involved with Captain Ardale who, it is revealed, had previously been the lover of Paula. The revelation of this past divides the family, and even though Ellean eventually forgives Paula, the second Mrs Tanqueray has already died by suicide. The play’s melodramatic end reveals that in order to present the nineteenth-century audience with a sexualized protagonist she must ultimately die. We see this repeated in the ‘suddenly sexual’ female vampires in Dracula:7 in the novel, both the vamped Lucy Westenra and the unnamed female vampires at Castle Dracula are distinctly sexual but are effaced from the novel by death (Lucy) or by patriarchal command (the vampires at Castle Dracula). Jonathan Harker desires the vampires he discovers in his trance-like state in Transylvania (42), and when Quincy, Van Helsing, Arthur and Dr Seward encounter the vampire Lucy in the graveyard she is described as having a ‘languorous, voluptuous grace’ and beseeches Arthur to join her claiming, ‘My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!’ (188). However, the evening following this encounter Arthur drives a stake through the Un-Dead body of his late wife (192). Thus, the connection between the late-nineteenth-century stage actress and the female vampire appears to be stylistic: like Pinero in The Second Mrs Tanqueray, Bram Stoker presents a version of female sexuality which leads ultimately to death. But the connection between Stoker’s vampires and British actresses is not simply implicit. In the novel, when Lucy becomes the ‘Bloofer Lady’ she is compared explicitly to Mrs Patrick Campbell’s contemporary, Ellen Terry (160). Thus, the figure of the female vampire is connected with a sort of theatrical sexuality or beauty, a connection which both Burne-Jones and Stoker enforce. For Burne-Jones the vampire is a source of visual representation – as painting and as photograph – as well as theatrical display.8 But in this chapter I am providing a reading of Stoker’s archive that makes it clear that the world of theatricality and the nature of photographic representation are also embedded in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Fundamentally, this chapter argues that British theatre was based on visual spectacle and the culture of attractions, something which Tom Gunning considers a result of a ‘primal fascination with the act of display’.9 As will become clear in Chapter 4, in this emphasis on visual display, theatrical spectacles most closely

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resembled photography, which sought both to reveal things previously unseen while also retaining some element of concealment. Bram Stoker’s theatrical career meant that he had almost daily encounters with photographs, through the circulated images of theatrical celebrities and the numerous portraits of actors soliciting work, and photographic technologies, which were deployed variously on the British stage at this time. While I will go on to suggest that theatre, photography and the figure of the vampire alike are dependent upon the nature of visual spectacle and the public gaze, this chapter will first explore exactly how Stoker interacted with theatrical photographs and the nature of photography in British theatrical culture at the turn of the nineteenth century. This in turn provides a yet-unseen insight into Stoker’s own perceptions of his literary career and provides invaluable evidence of the intersection between Stoker’s professional theatrical and professional literary worlds.

Photography, theatre and spectacle While recent work by Catherine Wynne has revealed how ‘Stoker’s Gothic output responds to, and engages with, the prevailing theatrical climate and, in particular, with the Lyceum’s melodramatic and Gothic stage’,10 the triple connection between Stoker’s writing, theatre and photography has not yet been made. In brief, Wynne considers the parallel stage effects in Dracula and at the Lyceum, but this book makes clear that it is through Stoker’s engagement with photography that his dependence upon stage craft and the theatrical spectacle is revealed in his 1897 novel. We can understand his writing process and style by understanding how Stoker engaged with photographs in his ‘day job’ at the Lyceum. This connection between photography and theatre has been famously noted by Tom Gunning in ‘Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations: Spirit Photography, Magic Theater, Trick Films, and Photography’s Uncanny’.11 His essay brings together performance and photography in a very practical way, arguing that certain technological advancements in photography were developed for onstage use, through magic, trick films and so on. However, rather than photography simply being co-opted by the theatrical community, photography itself is theatrical. Photography – in both the moment of capturing the image and in the resulting photograph – is performative. The act of capturing the image, as Richard Shusterman has argued, is a physical act of performance, of bringing the image into place through literal acts: steadying the camera and deciding on the pose and posture of your subject.12 In this sense he connects the process of photographing with enactment rather than of theatricality. But some types of photography – by which I mean both photographs and different types of photographic processes – are inherently theatrical. The images can be, and indeed are, performative in the sense that they enact a certain fiction, an illusion, a role or scene. The processes are theatrical because they closely resemble or evoke the smoke and mirrors of the late Victorian and early Edwardian stage. In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes attests to the inherent theatricality of photography. He


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claims that it is not through painting that photography touches art but through theatre. He argues that this is in part because Daguerre, when he took over Niepce’s invention, was running a panorama theater [sic] animated by light shows and movements in the Palace du Château. The camera obscura, in short, has generated at one and the same time perspective painting, photography, and the diorama, which are all three arts of the stage; but if Photography seems to me closer to the Theater, it is by way of a single intermediary (and perhaps I am the only one who sees it): by way of Death. We know the original relation of the theater and the cult of the Dead: the first actors separated themselves from the community by playing the role of the Dead: to make oneself up was to designate oneself as a body simultaneously living and dead: the whitened bust of the totemic theater, the man with the painted face in the Chinese theater, the rice-paste makeup of the Indian Katha-Kalo, the Japanese No mask … [sic] Now it is the this same relation which I find in the Photograph; however ‘lifelike’ we strive to make it (and this frenzy to be lifelike can only be our mythic denial of an apprehension of death), Photography is a kind of primitive theater, a kind of Tableau Vivant, a figuration of the motionless made-up face beneath which we see the dead.13

Not only is photography historically and technologically connected to the world of theatre – through diorama and animated light shows – but also symbolically through the figure of death itself. Photographs and their ability to make a subject appear lifelike while also keeping them perfectly static and ageless are, according to Barthes, performing a sort of theatre. As we will see in the next chapter, visual performances which obscure the boundary between life and death – such as séances or apparent animation of objects, including skeletons – are an inherent part of spectacle. But photographs themselves perform in the way they capture the image. Whether they are a traditional studio portrait or a carte de visite produced to promote and commemorate a theatrical production, photographs present a vision of the subject in a new, performed, context as a result of the act of staging. While amateur photography and shorter exposure times did result in more candid images towards the end of the nineteenth century, it was in the professional theatrical community – and in Stoker’s correspondence – where the inherent performativity of photographic images remained.

Exchange, promotion, theatricality: The photographs of Bram Stoker’s correspondence In addition to his own correspondence Stoker was also responsible for that of Henry Irving.14 This correspondence has been compiled and summarized as part of the Henry Irving Foundation Centenary Project, Henry Irving 1838–1905 Correspondence.15 Yet Stoker’s correspondence remains critically neglected in part because it is one-sided: the letters which have been archived have been sent to Stoker, rather than from him. But

Photography, Promotion and Theatrical Profession


in fact, Stoker’s correspondence offers an insight into the relationship he had with Irving, as well as with other distinguished peers. Describing the Irving paraphernalia kept by Stoker – envelope flaps with jottings, menus, tickets, passes and theatrical programmes – Barbara Belford claims that he ‘maintained a paper trail to honour Irving and the Lyceum but neglected himself ’.16 This in part explains why so few of Stoker’s letters have survived and why the in-mail held by the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, is the largest collection of any correspondences pertaining to him.17 This collection demonstrates his place in both theatrical and literary culture in Britain. His job at the Lyceum meant that Stoker was frequently tasked with the careful negotiation of his dual public identity – as manager and writer – which can be seen clearly in the Brotherton collection. Some correspondents wrote to Stoker in his capacity as Dracula’s author. On 1 June 1897, Robert Leighton (journalist and author) wrote to him asking for ‘two short personal paragraphs about yourself a propos of “Dracula” ’ to use in his upcoming column ‘Book Chat’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box L). According to the letter, Stoker had been at Hall Caine’s one evening recounting an anecdote about ‘the entrance of that Russian ship into Whitby harbour’.18 From this we can see that Leighton hopes to offer the reading public any anecdote or additional information that can improve or best advertise Stoker’s novel which, Leighton assures him, will be reviewed in the Daily Mail the following Tuesday. Moreover, the collection also reveals that the American journalist and dramatic critic William Winter hoped to give an autographed copy of Dracula to the Arthur White Memorial Library, to be accompanied by Stoker’s photograph ‘which I will have framed, & hung with my historical portraits in that library’ (9 May 1900, SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box WIL-WYN). Such letters attest to the extent Stoker was participant in British literary culture at the time. But Winter’s letter specifically demonstrates how authors were then expected to be photographed or be able to produce photographs upon request, just as Thomas Hardy might have feared. Despite suggesting an autographed edition of Dracula, Winter also requests a commemorative photograph of Stoker, to be hung alongside other historical portraits. But in his correspondence, Stoker’s identity as an author is not always entirely separate from his managerial role at the Lyceum. Requests for theatre tickets make up the majority of Stoker’s in-mail, and leading literary figures often wrote seeking tickets for upcoming events. Thomas Hardy made demands on Irving for theatre tickets for Romeo and Juliet, giving Irving only two possible dates when he might attend and acknowledging that there is no hope of getting tickets ‘in the regular way’ (Thomas Hardy to Henry Irving, 9 March 1882, SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box HAA-HEW). Stoker was the one responsible for ensuring tickets were duly allocated for all those who requested them. While such correspondence highlights the frequent banality of his role at the Lyceum, it also demonstrates how the theatrical circles in which Stoker moved also allowed him unrivalled access to key literary figures via their theatre visits. These letters also demonstrate how there was not such a clear distinction between his two professional lives. Indeed, William Winter wrote to Stoker on 1 November 1899 commenting on his remarkable ability to write ‘at the same time while [he was] carrying such a prodigious burden of executive work’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box


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WIL-WYN). In fact, Stoker’s role at the Lyceum allowed his literary and his theatrical lives to intersect, a crossing over which, as we will see, was made all the easier by Stoker’s engagement with photographs. Stoker corresponded with Hallam Tennyson regarding a pair of lost spectacles belonging to his father, the now aged Alfred Tennyson (25 February 1881; SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box TAB-TIS). This prompted a much longer correspondence and included the exchange of photographs: on 5 December 1890, Hallam Tennyson wrote to enquire whether Irving and Stoker received the photographs they had sent (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box TAB-TIS). Not only was Stoker’s theatrical life embedded in the world of professional authorship, then, but this connection involved the exchange of photographs. The particular role played by photography and theatrical circles easily obscured the distinction between Stoker’s work as an author and a manager. On 10 March 1894, writing from Ottawa, John Gordon19 asks whether or not a package of family photographs the Gordons had sent to Ellen Terry in New York had been safely received.20 Gordon writes to Stoker as the Lyceum’s theatrical manager, anxious that he might not, in turn, receive promised portraits from Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. In a postscript to the letter, Gordon adds, ‘PS. Could you kindly send me a photograph of yourself as a reminiscence of our meeting, and also for au revoir’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box G). The contrast between Gordon’s anxiety for portraits of the celebrated Terry and Irving and the afterthought request for Stoker’s photographic image demonstrates how profoundly photography informed the world theatrical celebrity and also how Stoker was distinctly not a celebrity. Or at least not yet, since in 1894 Stoker had not yet published Dracula. This exchange of images is also a testament to the extent to which such portraits participated in the sense of visual spectacle. Guy Debord writes that ‘the spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images’.21 It is by sending these images that John Gordon can receive the eagerly anticipated images of Terry and Irving, but it is also the circulation of the images that lends them spectacular power. In short, photographs circulate because they depict theatrical celebrities, but the very nature of theatrical celebrity is equally dependent on such images. Thus, the photographic portraits of theatrical celebrities are generated by the epistolary exchanges for which Stoker was responsible. And so, despite lacking his own iconicity, Stoker ensured that portraits of his acting colleagues earned cultural capital in their dissemination. Only ten years later, and after the publication of Dracula, the novelist Guy Newell Boothby solicits the author Stoker for his image. But even this request binds Stoker inextricably to the theatre. Writing on 12 November 1904, Boothby begins by congratulating Stoker on his recent article on Irving in The Stage, calling it a ‘fine & fitting tribute to a great man’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box BON-BUT). Though he begins by discussing this article, Boothby goes on to question Stoker about his fiction: ‘When are we going to have a new book? Surely it’s almost about time for one?’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box BON-BUT). Boothby goes on to describe his own publishing record by claiming he is ‘still pumping ‘em out’ before swinging back to a discussion of Irving and the admiration his children hold for the actor since their visit to see The Bells at the Lyceum. Boothby oscillates between admiration for British stage culture and practical questions about Stoker’s literary output, albeit an output

Photography, Promotion and Theatrical Profession


reminiscent of a factory line. The letter culminates in a return to Stoker’s publishing career: ‘By the way when you happen to have a photograph of yourself knocking around do let me have it for my collection of Authors. I should value it very much’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box BON-BUT, underlining in original). The word ‘Author’ becomes a proper noun, emphasizing not only that this title best describes Stoker’s profession but also that the title of the ‘Author’ was now distinct from other trades. As noted in the introduction to this book, the professional author was in many ways a nineteenthcentury phenomenon. Nevertheless, it was a professional status which intersected with other trades or forms of remuneration so as to ensure a true living wage for the writer. Boothby’s vacillation here between noting Stoker’s theatrical and his authorial achievements demonstrates that despite Stoker’s popularity, or even celebrity, as a result of Dracula, this was not his core occupation. Rather, his managerial career at the Lyceum theatre formed the central aspect of his day-to-day life and his financial provision. Thus, while his photographic portrait is a testament to his success and his popularity, his correspondence reveals just how heavily Stoker’s authorial career relied upon his clerical one. In his role at the Lyceum Stoker was frequently inundated with requests for photographs of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. But in a unique letter, the demand for these images is described in terms favourable to Stoker’s writing career. In other words, Stoker’s clerical work was directly implicated in the spectacular images of the Lyceum’s actors. Thomas Donaldson, a friend of Walt Whitman, wrote on 21 March 1884, emphasizing the importance of Stoker’s transatlantic reputation and the people necessary to sway opinion: My Dear Mr Stoker, A young lady – a talented one, Miss Kate Foote,22 a niece, I believe of Henry Ward Beecher, is a great admirer of Mr Irving. Will you get me a small photograph of Mr I. with his autograph to ‘Miss Kate Foote’. – I will do as much for you – she is an authoress and does a great deal of work for the ‘atlantic’ [lot]23 – this will be a real favor. If Mr I has one, and no trouble to you – oblige an awful nice woman. (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box D-E)

The sending of Irving’s image, then, as a ‘favor’ must go through Stoker in his managerial capacity. However, Kate Foote’s connections in the world of authorship are what Donaldson is trying to offer as an exchange to Stoker. His two professional roles intersect, and here his roles as author and manager are condensed into one simple request for a photograph. The cultural value of the image requires compensation, here in the form of Stoker’s introduction to the transatlantic literary elite. But the value placed on these images is clearly connected to their uptake in the theatrical and, here, transatlantic literary communities. In other words, these portraits are beholden to the society of spectacle which circulates them. But this letter also communicates the deeply ingrained relationship between theatrical photographs and the world of


Writing, Authorship and Photography

(self-)promotion, perhaps even self-fashioning. Stoker’s correspondence also reveals the roles photographs played in theatrical advertisements. An undated letter from the actor Frank Tyars requests payment from Stoker (in dollars) for advertisements of plays. In addition, on 12 June [1879?] a letter from the dramatic critic Joseph Knight, appearing in Stoker’s in-mail though addressed to Irving, asks for ‘a photograph suitable to be used for advertisement’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box I, J, K). It is unclear what exactly this photograph should depict – Irving or otherwise – but other letters in Stoker’s correspondence attest to the importance of publicity photographs of theatrical celebrities and their dissemination. Furthermore, letters themselves become items of publicity, correspondents often using photographs for additional visual effect. A letter from actor E. S. Willard, dated 22 December 1893 (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box WIL-WYN), includes the route and dates of his tour on the reverse, and August Van Beine, an actor-musician, headed his letter paper with advertisements for his plays and theatrical company, including his own portrait photograph (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box V & Y).24 Thus letters are not simply a mode of communication but are included in a constant circulation and system of exchange alongside photographs. The fact that photographs can indeed figure upon letters demonstrates the way in which images formed an integral part of the masses of writing with which Stoker dealt daily. As a theatrical manager, Stoker was responsible for the receipt of publicity letters very similar to those listed above. But he was also responsible for the resources that resulted from the photographic images he circulated. He was not merely a passive recipient of photographs and letters but actively contributed to their circulation. Thomas Edgar Pemberton (theatre historian and playwright) wrote on 6 July 1901: And yet I am so anxious to see you concerning my book about Miss Terry!! You said you might be able to lend me certain things that would be invaluable to me for purposes of illustration or publication. ‘Out of the way’ things are what I want, such as old photographs, old play bills, any anecdotes, or letters that might now [?]‌ be published. (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box PEG-PUL, underlining in original)

Here Stoker is presumed to have access to Terry’s intimate, ‘out of the way’ things such as old photographs as well as executive control over whether such things ‘might’ be used for publication. This suggests that Stoker, rather than Ellen Terry herself, is responsible for her photographic portraits. This careful management of Terry’s image is evidenced elsewhere in Stoker’s correspondence. In a much earlier letter to Stoker from Walter Herries Pollock, on 12 July 188[1?], Pollock writes, ‘I suppose the photographs are out of the question[.]‌But could you get me some sketches however rough of the characters and costumes – and an outline of the chief scenes?’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box PEG-PUL). Terry is such a visual icon that either photographs or sketches serve the purpose Pollock requires: any visual representation will do. But why these photographs were ‘out of the question’ is unclear. The letter suggests that he simply was not permitted to have them. Certainly, Stoker held strict jurisdiction over the images of many Lyceum actors. In a letter from Fred Barnard dated 31 December 1890, who hoped to draw up some portraits of Irving, he writes, ‘As thou lovest me

Photography, Promotion and Theatrical Profession


forget not the photos of Irving – I have hit on a capital notion for the design & am now in the throes of composition’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box BAR-BLU). The hyperbolic letter comes with a sense of immediacy, emphasized graphologically in the use of underlining. The photographs are not the source of the inspiration, which has seemingly already struck Barnard. Indeed, he included some very basic preliminary sketches of Irving with the letter. Thus, his request for the images seems untimely. Creative production has already begun, and so he solicits Stoker for the photographs not to gain inspiration but to compare his own sketches to the photographs of Irving. He wants to ensure that his sketches meet the same standards as the publicity photographs circulated by Stoker. This is corroborated by the other letters in the collection making similar requests. Sir Bernard Partridge (cartoonist for Punch) asks Stoker on 31 May 1884 to ‘please send me up that photograph of Mr Irving that you spoke of whenever you like. I shall be taking a holding on the river very soon, and shall have leisure to do [reproduce] it’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box O, PARK-PART). Rather than creating an image from real life, Partridge requests Irving’s photograph. The effect of this is twofold. First, it demonstrates that Irving’s image was so much in demand that there was the call for its reproduction in another form and for wider dissemination. Second, it suggests that there were certain images which were preferable, either by Irving or Stoker, for public distribution. Stoker and Irving are in fact carefully cultivating the image the public receives of Irving. This conscientious censorship of the image is likewise evidenced in a letter archived by the Henry Irving Foundation Centenary Project.25 Dickinson & Foster, London photographers, wrote to Henry Irving on 2 November 1898, requesting the right to supply a client with much-liked photographic portraits of Irving as Charles I. The summary indicates that the photographers have repeatedly refused to provide the image since Irving’s solicitor has prohibited the sale. The photographers appeal to Irving again hoping that, at the very least, they might supply a monochrome copy of the photograph which would remedy the defects Irving has outlined. This suggests that Irving was attempting to control the circulation of his own images precisely because he identified some defect in the image. This reveals the inherent artifice of those images being supplied to the public, which were chosen specifically to construct and limit Irving’s public persona. This artifice was met with the public’s own desire to sustain the suspended disbelief with which they met the images: they wished to see theatrical celebrities in their roles rather than in real life, as attractions rather than actors. One of Ellen Terry’s contemporaries, Geneviève Ward, was acutely aware of the popularity of her costume photographs in particular. Writing to Stoker on 19 June (year unknown), she notes: No photo of Hibernia’s daughter as yet. I may some day have Sappho lithographed, but for the present must use those I have, when the store is worn out, I will have to get another, + then Sappho may come in –. (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box WAL-WIG)

Her references to lithography and to a ‘store’ of her images suggest that she requires multiple copies for distribution. The reproduced images could then be


Writing, Authorship and Photography

cheaply produced for the mass market or copied in publications. However, what is particularly interesting about this letter, and what is clear from other letters in the collection, is that Ward never describes her photographs as images of her. They are always images of her in costume: here of Hibernia’s daughter or Sappho. Thus, actors are complicit in the fact that such photographs do not really represent themselves but the characters they play: the photographs perform the actors’ celebrity through their connection to stage performance and theatre. As such, these publicity stills are inherently theatrical, not only depicting the popular stage characters of the time but also demonstrating that the process of having one’s photograph taken is a process of acting, of posing. The letters sent to Stoker soliciting acting work attest to this same conscious cultivation of the actor-as-attraction or spectacle. One key example, though sent to Stoker relatively late on in his theatrical career, is from the actor Albert Ward, who wrote to Stoker on 3 September 1909 to ask him to consider his employment at the Lyceum. Enclosed with the letter is a booklet of reviews, on the front of which is a portrait of Albert Ward in profile (not in costume) and inside of which are four photographs of him as ‘The Prodigal Son’. There are three costume variations in the four images, each depicting the biblical character (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box WAL-WIG). Ward’s choice to include multiple photographs of himself but to limit the characters he is represented as suggests that, like Geneviève Ward (no relation), he is strictly monitoring the character in which he is photographed. His appeal for work also suggests that Ward selected these images as the photographs most likely to grant him the offer of a job. Yet, Stoker’s correspondence reveals the eclectic costume choices made by actors for similar promotional letters. Having previously written to Irving about getting acting work (retained in Stoker’s in-mail), the actor James Franklin McLeay wrote to Stoker on 5 February 1898 full of the same solicitations (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01 MACMAY). Enclosed in the letter are photographs and newspaper cuttings, which attempt to extoll his virtues as an actor. One newspaper cutting from the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette (anon., no date) has a line drawing copy or lithograph of one of the enclosed photographs. Unlike his other portraits, he appears in regular dress. However, the other newspaper cutting from The Yorkshireman (anon., no date), which lists McLeay under a list of ‘Popular People’, uses three photographs for illustrative purposes: one in everyday dress, one in very heavy costuming as Nero and finally one of him dressed as ‘The Bat’. This latter photograph is also enclosed in the letter and depicts McLeay in the bizarre and unsettling costume of a bat from the play Pharaoh (see Figure 1).26 The image attests more to the work of the costuming and make-up departments than it does to his acting, and David Gardner, in his biography of McLeay, calls the role of the bat ‘a costume spectacle’.27 McLeay includes two copies of this photograph, in addition to the one reproduced in The Yorkshireman, suggesting that he was particularly proud of the role. He also supplied two further images, more in keeping with the style of images Stoker received from other actors: one of ‘The [Drummaster?] from Hall Caine’s Novel’ (photograph by Landy, Cincinnati, Ohio; in paper marked ‘Elmer Chickering, Artistic Photographer, 21 West Street, Boston’) and one as ‘ “The [Petrarch?]” in [Claudius]’ (Landy, Ohio). Each image is drastically different to the others, demonstrating the immense powers of costuming and spectacle in the photographs.

Photography, Promotion and Theatrical Profession


Figure 1  James Franklin McLeay as ‘The Bat’, Gilbert & Bacon, Philadelphia. Reprinted courtesy of Special Collections, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.

The costuming here draws attention to the fact that in their photographs actors are never ‘themselves’ no matter how mundane their outfits. Heavy make-up and grotesque clothing can transform the actor not only on stage but in the photographic image too. David Mayer argues that at the same moment that photography became co-opted as a tool for medical investigation, actresses’ portraits lacked any thorough investigation into the sitter’s interiority, her psyche. He argues that these images were ‘conspicuous for their blandness’.28 While a fully grown man dressed as a bat is hardly bland, the same superficiality of the photographs is exhibited in the images Stoker received. The images always depict the characters the actors play, the theatrical spectacle they present to the public, rather than portray the actors in everyday clothes. In other words, compared to the twenty-first-century infatuation with the lives and (usually candid) images of celebrities as they are off set/stage, nineteenth-century actors’ photographs depict them as always in persona, always onstage. Such images are always inherently theatrical. Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Julia Margaret Cameron had been experimenting with costuming in their photographs in the mid-nineteenth century, but the photographs from the theatrical community convey something different. In Dodgson and Cameron, the subject’s performance occurs purely for the camera and for the moment of capturing the image, even if such costuming or theatricality refers to texts, cultures or characters ‘offstage’ or out of frame.29 In the portraits of theatrical celebrities, unlike Dodgson’s and Cameron’s images, the costuming does not take place


Writing, Authorship and Photography

for the first time for the photograph but is in fact a recreation of an earlier scene or character, now altered specifically so that it might be photographed. Fundamentally, Dodgson’s and Cameron’s photographs documented the sitter’s first and only portrayal of that character (in-scene), whereas theatrical photography depicted the sitter pretending to play that role that they have played before (off-scene). As David Mayer attests, in theatrical images props and costumes might be brought from the theatre at which the actor performed, but the staging of the photographs would largely be the result of the in-house styles of the studio. This was because theatres did not have the lighting facilities to make a good photograph. As such, the photographer would need to provide a ‘simulacrum’ of the theatre before capturing the image.30 The photographer recreates the spectacle within the studio, away from the mass public but for the public. Thus, the photographs are performing the performance they are supposedly documenting. The photographs which are meant to depict the actor as part of a popular dramatic production are composed of elements recreated and altered for the purposes of the photographs. In essence, these images are artificial reconstructions of on-stage fictions. But character photographs were not limited to aspiring actors and in fact permeated every level of dramatic ability. According to Henry Irving’s correspondence, the Victoria and Albert Theatre Collections contain a letter from Alexander Grantham Yorke, writing from Balmoral Castle on 29 May 1893, requesting, on behalf of Queen Victoria, photographs of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving in Becket.31 Equivalent letters appear in the Leeds archive. In a later letter to the one listed above, Thomas Donaldson wrote to Stoker on 9 [January?] 1886 asking, ‘If Irving has been photographed as [Mephistopheles] and Terry as Margaret, could you send me two of each – cards of course – we would like [one?] [set?] [for] an autograph.’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box D-E, emphasis in original) He wants images of both Irving and Terry in costume, whether these photographs have been made yet or not. Demand for the spectacle of Terry and Irving outstrips the supply of such images: why Geneviève Ward had a store of theatrical photographs now becomes clear. In contrast, photographs that portrayed actors as their everyday selves were not well received. In a letter of 26 [January?] 1884, Arthur E. A. Buck (editor, Spirit of the Times, New York) seems to suggest the grotesquery of photographs that depict Irving and Terry outside their costume. He writes, ‘Tell “The Chief ” [Irving’s nickname] that I saw his Sarony evening dress photo, at Mr [McHenry’s] yesterday.| It is atrocious and should be “called in”.| Ditto Miss Terry’s’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box BON-BUT).32 Napoleon Sarony, who is perhaps most well known for his iconic images of Oscar Wilde which caused controversy in the newly delineated legal understandings of copyright,33 is here criticized for his distinct lack of artifice. Appearing in their everyday clothes and without props, the staging of Terry’s and Irving’s posture is at odds with the sparse use of staging elsewhere in the images. The images (see Figures 2a-2c below) appear more pragmatic and less preoccupied with presenting the fictional personae of the actors. They serve a purpose in documenting what Irving and Terry look like as themselves rather than in their roles. The fact that Buck finds these images so unpalatable is testament to the way in which photographs of British theatrical celebrities – and potentially even all photographs – had become spectacles in which their audience was complicit.

Photography, Promotion and Theatrical Profession


Stoker’s correspondence demonstrates a British culture which is willing to enter into a world of photographic circulation and exchange as well as self-promotion and advertisement: a society of spectacle. Thus, the highly staged images of actors and actresses demonstrate both how photographs performed different identities, often for publicity, and how visual attractions were commodified and monetized. Rather than simply being for public dissemination as the word ‘spectacle’ implies, photographs of theatrical figures contributed to the growing ‘society of spectacle’, in which ‘news, propaganda, advertising, entertainment … [represent] the dominant model of life’.34 In short, the exchange of photographs outlined in Stoker’s in-mail, as well as their relative advertising use, is a testament to the inherent theatricality of the image, which not only solicits a crowd but also contributes to a society in which the very nature of spectacle is paramount. Such spectacles likewise form part of the mass media now foundational to British literary culture, focused on audience and readership. Photographs, then, were shown to be theatrical, superficial and promotional, all three of which were predicated upon the subject’s iconicity, either as an author or as an actor. In the next chapter we see how Stoker’s understanding of promotion and publicity, as well as the role played by photography in the world of advertising, was invaluable in his writing Dracula. His reference to real estate Kodaks within Dracula demonstrates his understanding of how spectacle is implicit in the concept of advertising. Photographs, in their ability to stage and restrict certain elements, are able to depict the best possible

Figure 2a  Photograph of Henry Irving, Napoleon Sarony, New York. Albumen cabinet card, 1890. Reproduced with permission from Houghton Library, Harvard University, BMS Thr 823 (12).


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Figure 2b  Photograph of Ellen Terry, Napoleon Sarony, New York. Albumen cabinet card, 1880s. Copyright Photographs Collection, National Portrait Gallery 197396.

Figure 2c  Photograph of Ellen Terry, Napoleon Sarony, New York. Albumen cabinet card, 1880s. Copyright Photographs Collection, National Portrait Gallery 197412.

Photography, Promotion and Theatrical Profession


version of something. Just as photographs of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving (among others) were used both to advertise the spectacle of their acting prowess, and to limit the public’s perception of the actors’ ‘real’ personas, Stoker’s novel demonstrates how promotional images are inherently superficial, while also claiming to offer something deeper, more revealing. In Dracula, the Count is both appealing and strictly concealed from sight.



‘Could not codak him’: Theatrical monsters and popular photography

Despite his Gothic and theatrical imagination, Stoker initially pursued a career in the civil service.1 This training proved immensely helpful for his managerial role at the Lyceum. In fact, Irving is reported to have once called Stoker a ‘secretary’, and his business acumen made the running of the Lyceum ‘an efficient operation’.2 This efficiency is clear in his meticulous management of the Lyceum correspondences, advertisements, actor bookings and the Lyceum’s finances. Stoker himself testified to his ability to manage diverse materials en masse, something he learned as the Inspector of Petty Sessions in Dublin.3 Writing in the ‘Introduction’ to The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland (1878),4 Stoker notes that his job has been to formulate a Code by the collecting and the collating of an immense mass of materials, the major part of which, having been once carefully examined, need never be referred to again. The perfecting of the work will be aided by those who systematize and record their experience, and must rest with other hands than mine.5

His duty as a professional clerk, therefore, was to collate a wide array of different documents and bring them together in the text he now presents and introduces. This in turn allows future clerks to fully administrate and record details of the Petty Sessions, just as Mina Harker must compose Dracula’s narrative into a coherent narrative from the different strands of media presented to her. Thus, the novel becomes a way in which Stoker imagines his past professional career, both in terms of its structural composition – it supposedly draws from multiple media – and in terms of the characterization of Mina through such clerical work. This focus on bringing different media together to create a new narrative demonstrates, Caryn Radick argues, Stoker’s preoccupation with the nature of authenticity. Writing for The American Archivist, Radick writes: In Dracula, Bram Stoker tells a fantastic story, but grounds it in reality with his emphasis on documentation, research, and the organization of information. Although he relies on records and recordkeeping to tell this story, he also questions the trustworthiness of records by demonstrating the many ways in which they can be compromised.6


Writing, Authorship and Photography

This shift between Dracula as a ‘reality’ based in documentation and research and Dracula as a text about the flaws of archiving is communicated in the prologue/ epigraph and the epilogue of the novel itself. The text opens with a seemingly omniscient narrator, whose disembodied voice appears to attest to the objectivity of what it is saying. It begins: How these papers have been placed in sequence will be made manifest in the reading of them. All needless matters have been eliminated, so that a history almost at variance with the possibilities of later-day belief may stand forth as simple fact. There is throughout no statement of past things wherein memory may err, for all the records chosen are exactly contemporary, given from the standpoints and within the range of knowledge of those who made them. (5)

Echoing Stoker’s ‘Introduction’ to the Petty Sessions document, as well as the meticulous administrative work his correspondence archive confirms, this prologue stresses the duty with which these contemporary records have been brought together to best present ‘simple fact’. The use of the passive voice in ‘have been placed’ aims to establish a degree of objectivity. This reliance on facts requires the readers to suspend their disbelief in the face of the narrative they are about to read. As Miles Orvell has noted, authenticity and the suspensions of disbelief were major preoccupations at the end of the nineteenth century. In relation to photography he argued that images propagated an illusion of realism, or a ‘conscious simulacrum’.7 This term can readily be applied here, in which Dracula’s prologue attests to the narrative’s authenticity while also providing a fantastical pseudomythological text. In other words, there is a tension here between the careful collection and collation of ‘fact’ and the willing suspension of disbelief in that fact, a tension between the various inscribed materials from which Mina works and the fictional narrative it creates. But whatever veracity might be achieved by attending to the novel’s careful documentation and replication, in stressing the connection between writing and fact the novel effectively destabilizes the relationship between the two. The epilogue to the novel confirms this. Returning to the text after seven years, Harker notes that in all the writing of which the record is composed there is ‘hardly one authentic document; nothing but a mass of typewriting’ (326). Recalling but contrasting the ‘immense mass of materials’ Stoker describes in the ‘Introduction’ to Petty Sessions, the epilogue to Dracula undoes its initial claims to ‘simple fact’. Using ‘manifold’, Mina creates three identical typewritten documents, transcribed variously from telegrams, phonographs and shorthand (198). These original texts are then destroyed by Dracula when he breaks into Seward’s asylum in chapter XXI (249). Thus, the very process of archiving is seen to be more artificial and less authentic. I draw attention to this because for those photographs which rely on the viewer’s willing suspension of disbelief, as is also true of the stage illusions that rely on camera technologies for their effect, the mechanical nature of the act of reproduction is the main reason for the willing suspension of disbelief. In other words, it is because the world can be mechanically reproduced by the camera, or, in Dracula, through the various technologies and methods of transcription (including Mina’s manifold), that disbelief is so willingly renounced.

Could Not Codak Him


Photography, as is clear from the introduction to this book, became a mass media towards the end of the nineteenth century, coterminous with the publication of Dracula. Certainly, mass media appears to be the singular way in which the novel’s narrative is understood, but it is also the route into the novel taken by many theorists. Jennifer Wicke considers photography, or rather its absence, as a mass media in her essay ‘Vampiric Typewriting: Dracula and Its Media’. She hypothesizes that ‘if a vampire’s image cannot be captured in a mirror, photographs of a vampire might prove equally disappointing’.8 She goes further and argues that the photographs that do appear in the novel – ‘the mention of the Kodak, which precedes the Count’s version of vampirism by several pages’9 – exist only to highlight the dual role of photography as a domestic practice and as a tool of ethnographic documentation evoked by Jonathan’s kodaks.10 Wicke draws attention to the role played by technology and mass media in the novel. In fact, she connects Dracula and mass media directly, proposing that ‘the social force most analogous to Count Dracula’s as depicted in the novel is none other than mass culture’, a part of which she considers to be ‘mass transport, tourism, photography and lithography in image production, and mass-produced narrative’.11 Her comparison between the uncanniness of Dracula’s power and the production of mass media is intriguing, but there is no clear connection between Dracula and photography, something which Daniel Martin points to as ‘an explicit effacement of the visual from the novel’s repertoire of technologies’.12 By turning to Stoker’s correspondence, already discussed in Chapter 3, and the working notes for Dracula, this chapter makes it clear that, despite Martin’s claims that there is no evidence to suggest Stoker viewed any ‘exhibitions of moving photography in neighbouring music halls and theatres throughout the 1890s’,13 the novel itself is deeply indebted to a very theatrical understanding of photographic technology. In fact, as I propose in this chapter, the figure of the vampire itself would not be so iconic were it not for the tricks Stoker borrowed from both theatrical and photographic technologies alike: the Count’s appearance, his way of appearing or disappearing and the way in which women turn into vampires in the novel all owe themselves to the experience of photography in Stoker’s professional theatrical life.

The Kodak and Bram Stoker’s working notes for Dracula (1897) In Dracula, yet again the Kodak is synonymous with amateur photography. In fact, the only explicit reference to photography throughout the novel is in chapter II, where Jonathan Harker describes handing over a set of Kodak images of Carfax Abbey to the Count: The house is very large and of all periods back, I should say, to mediaeval times, for one part is of stone immensely thick, with only a few windows high up and heavily barred with iron. It looks like part of a keep, and is close to an old chapel or church. I could not enter it, as I had not the key of the door leading to it from the house, but I have taken with my Kodak views of it from various points. (28–9)


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Unable to enter the property, Harker presents Dracula with his photographic views as a substitute. In doing so, he provides photographs which are limited in their perspective. These photographs, then, gesture to what is not yet seen, and they capture what the viewer could have. Just like the images of actors Stoker so carefully cultivated, these Kodaks gesture theatrically to what is outside the frame. They are, as Tom Gunning would suggest, examples of the ‘primal fascination with the act of display’.14 The growing trend in real estate photography as a mode of advertisement throughout the nineteenth century was due to its ‘aptitude as a factual and persuasive tool to sell goods and services to potential customers’.15 Although Harker has himself taken these images, they operate as promotional photographs, Kodak views that are persuasive, precisely because they represent something to which neither Harker nor Dracula can gain access. While the Kodak views draw the prospective buyer (here Dracula) into considering the estate visually, there is an inherent limit to that view, both in terms of Dracula’s limitation by being in Transylvania and Harker’s limited access to the building’s interior. The photograph operates in the same way as the images circulated within the theatrical community, which invite the viewer to engage with the image visually only to present a limit on what might be seen. Those images, which were suggestive of the plays in which actors had performed, always gestured towards something out of frame: so too with the photographs of Carfax Abbey. The Kodaks present in the novel gesture towards an extratextual potential, something which is beyond the limit of the photograph and must be imagined: the inside of Carfax. But for Stoker too it is the photographic image of an abbey again which enables him to imagine the potential and spectacular scenes of Whitby Abbey in Dracula. In his notes for the novel, among the collection of memoranda, drafts and excerpts from books, are two photographs of an abbey.16 The images present an abbey built in a similar Gothic style to, and in an equivalent state of ruin as, Whitby Abbey, the only abbey which exists both in the novel and in real life. The facsimiles of the images show that they have been folded, suggesting Stoker returned to them as part of his writing process.17 However, the photographs do not depict Whitby Abbey, as one might expect, but rather St. Mary’s Abbey in York.18 Stoker is known to have visited Whitby shortly after he began writing Dracula,19 and photographs of the abbey were sold to holiday makers in the seaside town by resident photographer, Frank Sutcliffe, whose shop remains there today.20 Thus, at first glance it is puzzling as to why Stoker chose to retain a photograph of a different abbey when photographs of Whitby were so easily accessible to him. But the name ‘St. Mary’s’ has its own connotations for any Whitby visitor and reveals how Stoker used these images. After ascending the 199 steps from Whitby town up towards the Abbey, one must pass through a graveyard – that which features significantly in Mina’s account of the town and which is where Lucy is bitten by Dracula for the first time. This graveyard is attached to the twelfthcentury Church of Saint Mary. The photographs in Stoker’s working notes, then, not only mirror Whitby Abbey’s style but also use the name from Whitby Abbey’s adjacent church. Thus, Stoker’s photographs of St. Mary’s Abbey no longer serve the purpose of depicting that abbey but instead are palimpsestically inscribed with suggestions of both Whitby Abbey and the Church of Saint Mary. Just as with the images circulated by the theatrical community, these photographs find their meaning in suggestion,

Could Not Codak Him


metaphor and fiction beyond the image, always communicating more than what is visually represented. The distinction between these sets of images is their purpose – actors’ images are largely for promotion whereas the images of St Mary’s Abbey are for Stoker’s memoranda – but Stoker’s material engagement with them demonstrates how real-life photographs influenced those within the novel. After all, both sets of images are of abbeys. But this real-life encounter with photographic images reveals their imaginative purpose for Stoker: they allow him to think beyond the representation of the photograph. Photographs are façades for other, more cryptic, meanings. However, this photograph contained within Stoker’s memoranda merely evokes the theatrical scenes of his 1897 novel. But his memoranda and working notes also reveal how inextricably photographic Stoker imagined Count Dracula to be. In his working notes there are two references which each reveals his belief in photography’s intrinsic connection to visual illusion. These Kodaks, as in the novel, require imagination, or the willing suspension of disbelief, in order to believe in what is displayed. In ‘Memo (2)’, on page 4 of the Rosenbach collection,21 Stoker writes, ‘Could not codak him – come out black or like skeleton corpse.’22 The use of Kodak here as a verb, though misspelled, demonstrates how the cheap and portable photographic tools invented and distributed by George Eastman defined the landscape of photography at that time. But Stoker’s suggestion that photographing Dracula reveals his skeleton was additionally topical. Just two years prior to the publication of Dracula, the first X-ray image was taken in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen.23 Stoker’s suggestion that Dracula appears as a skeleton in his photograph recalls this scientific and photographic advancement, while also suggesting an inherent uncanniness. On the one hand, X-rays are capable of representing what cannot be seen by the naked eye, suggesting that photography extends the limits of the visual world. But on the other hand, the image of a skeleton does not resemble Dracula as the characters experience him. This obviously ruptures any connection between photography and the accurate depiction of real life, but it also gestures towards the inherent theatricality of the X-ray photograph. The X-ray’s ability to reveal the invisible not only enabled it as a scientific tool but also offered the appeal of a public spectacle. Written in April 1896, just a few months after Röntgen’s discovery, the Quarterly Review testified to its popularity: Never has a scientific discovery so completely and irresistibly taken the world by storm. … The performance of Röntgen’s rays are obvious to the ‘man in the street’; they are repeated in every lecture room; they are caricatured in comic prints; hits are manufactured out of them at the theaters.24

In other words, X-rays became more than simply a technological development and had in fact become a visual attraction in and of themselves. Like Barthes’s theory of photography in which the theatricality of the boundary between life and death is continuously performed, X-ray attractions also publicly performed the connection between the visible, living body and the potential, deathly body of the ‘skeleton corpse’. The second reference to photography in Stoker’s working notes extends the connection between death and photography. Stoker does not limit the image to amateur photographs (Kodak) only and writes ‘could not photograph – come out like


Writing, Authorship and Photography

corpse or black’.25 In this account Dracula is not a skeleton but just a dead body, a ‘corpse’. The repetition of this word ‘corpse’ is suggestive both of Stoker’s understanding of the vampire and his emotions towards photography. Famously, Balzac proposed that physical bodies were composed entirely of layers of ghostlike skins laid on top of each other. Since he believed that something material – the photograph – could not be made of something immaterial – the image of a person, as he appears in light – he theorized that each photographic portrait peeled away a layer of this spectral skin and contributed to an unavoidable loss of the very essence of life.26 In this way photography has always been historically connected to a sort of essential or spiritual death, and Stoker appears here to be lending to this myth a physical ability for photography to capture and enact death simultaneously. Imbricated in photographing Dracula, then, is both the idea that it spectacularly reveals his inherent deadness – his ‘skeleton corpse’ appearance becomes visual shorthand for his status as undead – and that it enacts his death through the very act of capturing the image, as Balzac suggests. The theatrical illusion of Kodaking Dracula is that he is simultaneously alive and dead. As Daniel Martin attests, in the novel the ‘technical effacement of the vampire-image from [the characters’] collection of documents reveals a core anxiety about the illusory phenomena of the supernatural’.27 But in Stoker’s working notes, he reveals a version of Dracula who photography in turn reveals to be both physically dead and an illusion of supernatural life. As a result, photography is both a tool of verisimilitude and of theatricality, requiring the viewer to suspend their disbelief. Belief and photography are inextricably bound together, particularly in capturing the image of the supernatural and especially in stage performance. This is clear in the growth of Spiritualist belief systems that supposedly threatened the rational and empirical world of science while also being deeply rooted within it. While not used in every occasion, photography was used to provide séances with evidential value. However, such evidentiary images are not so much a testament to the connections between the spiritual and the human world but as proof that spectacular events like séances truly happened. In other words, photographs testify not to the existence of spirits but to the existence of the performance of spirits. The use of photographic technologies in Spiritualist performances makes this clear. Tom Gunning argues that Spiritualist stage numbers used ‘devices of lighting, careful control of point of view, and the elaborate optical shutter derived from photography recreated the effects of materialisation séances’.28 As a stage illusion, the séance was indebted to photography for two things: its performativity and demand to be believed. In this way, the visual spectacle and the photograph collapse in on one another in the representation of the supernatural. Gunning continues that even though ‘Spiritualism had always had a sensational and spectacular aspect’, the move to full-body manifestations required even greater theatricality. Crucially, these full-bodied manifestations would be photographed.29 These materialisations, though not directly dependent on photographic technology, mimicked the photographic process since it usually required that the medium be seated out of sight in a dark chamber, an analogue for the camera obscura, while she mediated the images and objects that then appeared to the audience. But this on-stage camera is steeped in its own theatrical history for Stoker’s good friend and colleague Henry Irving. One report suggests that upon seeing the

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public séances of the Davenport brothers, in which they conducted their séance and performed supernatural spiritual tasks while seated in a box, Irving managed to work out and demonstrate how the brothers accomplished their tricks while inside a wooden cabinet.30 Furthermore, another report, from Harry Houdini, who split his professional time between performing stage magic and exposing fake mediums, claims that Irving distinctly made a connection between the Davenports’ cabinet and the camera obscura. When sceptical onlookers objected to the séances being performed in darkness, Irving is reported to have said, ‘Is not a dark chamber essential in the process of photography?’ wondering how satisfying the results would be if photographers produced images outside of their camera obscuras.31 Photography, stage illusions and the Lyceum Theatre are then bound up in the task of attempting to render or manifest the spiritual world visually. The camera is a sort of performance precisely because it relies on the mystery of light and dark and the connection between life and death. David J. Skal claims that ‘the trappings of spiritualism are discernible in Dracula’ precisely because the Count is dead and as such any hypnotic trances of Lucy and Mina are mediumistic.32 However, this mediumistic theatrical display not only connects Dracula and Spiritualist performativity but also demonstrates the nineteenth-century stage’s wider preoccupation with performing both degenerate and medicalized bodies.

Dramatizing degeneration: Charcot, Dracula and Robert Louis Stevenson As Max Nordau claimed in Degeneration (1892), ‘ghost-stories are very popular, but they must come on in scientific disguise, as hypnotism, telepathy, somnambulism’.33 The phrases ‘come on [stage]’ and ‘disguise’ emphasize how Nordau saw the performance of supernatural concepts through scientific discussion. The preceding and subsequent sentences make reference to the ‘pulpit’ and ‘marionette-plays’, reaffirming the connection between the supernatural and the oratorical and the theatrical.34 The distinction between science and the world of performance, though, is not so clear. Even so, science underpins the fantasies of the supernatural. In one of Van Helsing’s entreaties to Seward to believe in the mythology of the vampire, supernatural belief and empirical proof are brought together in the figure of Jean-Martin Charcot: ‘Ah, it is not the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new; and which are yet but the old, which pretended to be young – like the fine ladies at the opera. I suppose now you do not believe in corporeal transference. No? Nor in materialization. No? Nor in astral bodies. No? Nor in the reading of thought. No? Nor in hypnotism–’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Charcot has proven that pretty well.’ (171, Seward’s diary)

Van Helsing appears to suggest that though science aims to explain everything, it cannot. Like Freud’s ‘uncanny’, there are some belief systems which, though they


Writing, Authorship and Photography

might appear new, are in fact deeply rooted in historical tradition. The professor is attempting to argue science and tradition are equal exponents of the supernatural. Nonetheless, Seward argues that some of these seemingly ‘new beliefs’ – namely in hypnotism – could be ‘proven’, or substantiated by Charcot, who was first and foremost a scientist (neurologist and anatomical pathologist). Seward continues to argue that even the supernatural might be ‘proven’ scientifically. Yet the nature of Charcot’s work recalled the very same spectacle and performance to which Van Helsing alludes. In fact, although he did not perform there, Charcot was one of the Lyceum’s distinguished visitors. However, he did offer public displays of his hysteria patients at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s.35 The proof to which Seward attests is both Charcot’s empirical proof from the world of science and the Salpêtrière and from the world of showmanship and performance. In other words, proof is both scientific hypothesis and the public ‘experiments’ or exhibitions which seemingly confirmed his theories. Like Franz Mesmer, who was jointly a physician and a hypnotist, Charcot effectively used hypnosis to ‘prove’ hysteria, to prove that only those who are hysterical can be hypnotized and are subject to suggestion. Thus, theatre became the spectacular setting in which was displayed the empirical proof of hypnotism. Such performances operated in a similar way to spiritualist materialization, which relied upon ocular proof – that the spirits are seen and therefore are real – while entrenched thoroughly in theatricality. Since the mechanics of the brain remained unseen, any demonstration of them drew heavily on the visual spectacle. An anonymous account of Charcot’s hypnotized hysterics in the British Medical Journal sustains this connection between theatricality and hypnosis, comparing an unnamed female subject with actresses: Women, and especially French women, are in the habit of going through the little performance called ‘throwing a kiss.’ Few actresses, I imagine, however able, accomplished, and remarkable for histrionic power and intelligence, could so rapidly assume and maintain the unaffected expression of graceful welcome as this unconscious and un-educated woman has put on under the impulse of a brain emotion generated by the simple impulse of associated muscular influence in the related brain centres, unrestrained by the self-consciousness which so often disfigures the best acting.36

The article not only makes the connection between hypnosis, hysteria and theatricality but actually proposes that the self-conscious inhibitions of the non-hypnotized are impediments to good acting. This article also reproduces some of the many photographs taken by Charcot of his hysterics, usually under the influence of hypnosis, and nearly always represented in some awkward physical posture. Such contortions were demonstrations of Charcot’s power of suggestion, since ‘an ignorant woman’ could not ‘possess as minute a knowledge of the action of each muscle as Duchenne himself ’.37 Duchenne was the same man who photographed different facial expressions by electrocuting the individual muscles of his subjects. The figure of Charcot in Stoker’s novel, then, brings together the ideas of hysterical performativity, hypnotic suggestion and their photographic proofs.

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The connection between Dracula and performativity lies not only in the figure of Charcot but also in Stoker’s professional capacity. Since Stoker was so heavily involved in the inner workings of the Lyceum, for his readers it made sense that the story would eventually be dramatized. Viscount Halifax, Charles Wood, repeatedly called for Dracula to be dramatized. The first instance of this request specifically implies that Stoker’s role in the Lyceum theatre, as well as his friendship with Henry Irving, can easily bring about this dramatization. I quote the letter from 23 October 1897 in detail to demonstrate how Halifax begins by appealing to Stoker as an author and ends with his petition to Stoker as theatrical manager, effectively blurring any boundary between the two professional lives: I suppose authors, to some extent at least, take the public with their confidence, and that as one of your readers I may without impertinence say what an interest Dracula has been in this House – We read it aloud and found we were incapable of putting it down – You have certainly made the subject of Vampires y[ou]r own. And now may I make a suggestion? Why not dramatize it, & produce it at the Lyceum? [When] put on the stage it could, I am sure [,]‌have an immense success. Sir H. Irving as C[oun]t Dracula would inspire awe with the [boldest?], & I can see a play which would be quite as fearful as Mr Hyde & Dr Jekyll, which would surpass that excellent old play of the Vampire in wh[ich] Boucicault used to act – & which could attract all London – I long t[o] see it done –. (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box WIL-WYN)

He later repeats this request in a letter written 1 July 1898, after remarking on Stoker’s suggestions for his later novel Miss Betty (1898). Certainly, it seems that Halifax cannot keep his mind on Stoker’s fiction without directly considering his role at the Lyceum theatre. But in this first letter, Halifax draws on previous vampire plays to highlight the potential for the dramatized Dracula. He alludes to Dion Boucicault’s theatrical hit The Vampire (1852), inspired by Polidori’s vampire text.38 Certainly, the vampire was no novelty to British theatregoers. John Robinson Planché adapted Charles Nodier’s Le Vampire, performed two months earlier in Paris, into The Vampire, or the Bride of the Isles, the first vampire on British stage, in August 1820, which played to packed houses. The play was performed at the English Opera House, which later became the Lyceum Theatre. To please the management, Planché cast the play in Scotland, though he later revived the vampire theme in English libretto for Marschner’s opera in 1829 at the Lyceum and finally accomplished his wish to set it in Eastern Europe.39 Thus, the theatrical vampire was intimately connected to the Lyceum. With the vampire’s rich spectacular history, Halifax’s call for dramatization seems perfectly within range of Stoker’s capabilities. Nevertheless, during Stoker’s lifetime Dracula never appeared on stage, apart from one read-through in advance of his novel’s publication to secure dramatic copyright. As Stoker’s correspondence attests, this was a pragmatic rather than artistic event, and the copyright was secured in this simple way from George Alexander Redford (examiner of plays; also Censor) on 9 May 1897. Both Christopher Frayling and, later, Roxana Stuart claim that Stoker’s working notes for the novel demonstrate that the


Writing, Authorship and Photography

text was clearly imagined as a play.40 However, the ‘script’ for the read-through was largely composed of typed excerpts from the novel’s manuscript. To suggest that the text was meant originally to be a play does not explain either why Stoker needed to cut and paste extensively from the novel in order to create a script or why the play was unperformable. Certainly, the reading of the manuscript took over four hours, and the epistolary and diaristic narrative could not be transposed to on-stage action;41 in one, perhaps apocryphal account, Irving – who did not participate in the copyright reading – is reported to have called the performance ‘Dreadful!’42 The read-through opened with a forced soliloquy in which Jonathan explained his trip to Transylvania, the audience being denied this sensational prologue to the novel’s actions.43 Since the copyright reading, critics have been generally unkind to the dramatic Draculas attempted by film and theatre directors alike.44 But unfortunately for the Victorian public, and for Halifax more specifically, Dracula was not destined to be a theatrical hit. Yet, in spite of the unperformability of Dracula under Stoker, his role at the Lyceum allowed for cross-pollination between the theatrical arts and his novel. Significantly, Stoker’s involvement with the publicity of theatrical events gave him important opportunities not only to realize the figure of Dracula but also to imagine him as a photographic spectacle. Beyond the figure of the vampire, Halifax’s letter also corroborates the desire on the part of nineteenth-century audiences to see the Gothic anti-hero, the monstrous and criminal gentleman, on stage. His letter makes a connection between Dracula and the stage play of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which was playing to mixed reviews at the time. This is significant since the theatrical version of Stevenson’s novel used photography as a means of publicizing the play. Wynne suggests that much of the furore surrounding the stage production of Stevenson’s novel was rooted in the fear and sensationalism of the Ripper Murders.45 Much of the public excitement about the Ripper Murders no doubt hinged on the fact that newspapers provided illustrations of the victims and the hours before their death, and the public knowledge that gruesome photographs existed of the crime scene of Mary Kelly in particular.46 But in the case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the lead actor Richard Mansfield is reported to have become incriminated in the Ripper investigation when theatre audiences were so convinced by his transformation into the homicidal Hyde. Though this may be urban myth, it says something about the connection between on-stage performance of the homicidal Hyde and fact, and reportage, of such gruesome murders in real life. This connection between Mansfield and the sensationalism of the Ripper Murders not only speaks to the nature of the subjects being depicted on stage but also highlights a significant link between Mansfield and Dracula’s theatricality. Mansfield, an American actor, moved Jekyll and Hyde to the Lyceum Theatre, under Henry Irving, in 1888. From Stoker’s correspondence we can see that he and Mansfield were engaged in a sustained argument over the latter’s payment throughout the first half of November of that year. This correspondence is heated but shows Stoker’s ability calmly but tenaciously to resolve a business dispute. More importantly, it suggests that Stoker had first-hand dealings with the actor so famed for his role as the on-stage monster. This is significant, since Stoker would later appropriate the sensationalism of the Ripper murders himself in his preface to the 1901 Icelandic translation of

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Dracula. Clearly Stoker hoped to replicate the sensation of Mansfield’s play in his novel. Moreover, in this preface he also claimed that the characters in the novel were apparently people personally known to him,47 suggesting that Stoker was keen to blur the boundaries between theatrical culture and the novel. In other words, his acquaintances from theatrical circles were fictionalized in his novel. Some critics have suggested that the character Quincey Morris is based on Buffalo Bill,48 who frequently performed in London and with whom Stoker corresponded (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box C). But Stoker’s later connection between Dracula and the Ripper suggests that he based the Count on Mansfield in his role as Jekyll/Hyde. At the very least, Stoker worked at the theatre which had produced Mansfield in Jekyll and Hyde and was already well acquainted with how to ‘attract all London’. Certainly, Halifax’s entreaty to see Dracula performed – ‘I long t[o]‌see it done’ – demonstrates the Victorian public’s ‘primal fascination’ with,49 even seduction by, villains such as Mr Hyde and Count Dracula. Mansfield effectively marketed Jekyll/Hyde as a theatrical spectacle, both in the play’s connection with the Ripper murders and with the careful use of promotional photography. Fundamentally, Mansfield used both context and image to advertise the monstrous transformation of Jekyll into Hyde, just as Terry, Irving and other actors were photographed almost exclusively in their roles. Owen Clayton conducts an insightful reading of Mansfield’s important publicity photograph: Mansfield plays the role of Jekyll: tall, standing erect, wearing a buttoned-up coat and pressed trousers, one hand raised, as if smoothing his hair, eyes uplifted. … In the same image, he also portrays Hyde: crouching low to express the character’s smaller, more physically warped stature, he adopts a sneering, menacing visage, and keeps his arms in front of him as if about to pounce upon the viewer.50

The effect of the portrait would not work without double-exposure photography. Imprinted on the same photograph are two images of the same man, depicting both the moment of transformation of one into the other and the dual nature of man. As a visual theatrical advertisement, this double exposure highlights the image’s inherent performativity: Mansfield plays each role successively, even if they appear superimposed on top of each other in the final photograph. As a consequence, the image performs the dual identity of Jekyll/Hyde as well as the moment of transformation between the two, in a way that cannot possibly be realized on stage. It becomes a spectacle in and of itself. The photograph exposes the complex psychological issue at the root of the novella, ‘that man is not truly one, but truly two’,51 as well as highlights the inherent performativity of all theatrical photography: it is Mansfield playing both characters. Since Stevenson’s novella claims that Hyde has never been photographed,52 Mansfield’s image comes to stand in for that missing image, both on stage and in the novella, revealing a transformation otherwise unseen in real life. The effect of the photograph, then, lies both in the fact that Jekyll/Hyde can finally be captured photographically, but that this photograph is made with the use of trickery and does not depict life as it is visually perceived. The image performs the invisible idiosyncrasies of human personality.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Clayton claims that Hyde’s ‘unphotographability’ is a significant metaphor in the text. Furthermore, he contends that Stevenson was interested in photography in his personal life, and it therefore becomes a powerful metaphor for imagining the unrepresentable. Stoker was a fan of Stevenson’s writing,53 and there are certain textual connections between Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which makes it possible to connect the two texts beyond their dramatic roots.54 This suggests that Stoker was far more indebted to Stevenson’s style of visual (non/mis) representation than has been previously noted. Even though characters repeatedly see Dracula in the novel, he takes on multiple bodies and appearances, enacting a physical transformation akin to Mansfield’s double-exposed photograph. Yet unlike Mansfield’s image, which is a literal (over)exposing, Dracula is frequently concealing his identity, even reducing himself to eyes that appear in the dark. But this is what informs Stoker’s characterization of Dracula in the novel. Stoker invites both his readers and the novel’s characters to look at the vampire, even as he disappears: dissolving into a bat or mist. This invitation to regard Dracula comes from his physical exceptionalism. The novel’s characters frequently note Dracula’s bizarre appearance. During his stay at Castle Dracula, Harker goes into detail about the Count’s ‘physiognomy’, describing his ‘lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily around the temples, but profusely elsewhere’ along with his ‘peculiarly sharp white teeth’ which protrude over the lips and his pale ears which were ‘at the tops extremely pointed’ (23–4). In Degeneration, Max Nordau provides a set of physical signifiers that can help us identify the new morally degenerate class of Victorian society. Vitally, he connects the physical pathologies with the moral pathologies, even claiming that ‘the asymmetry of face and cranium finds, as it were, its counterpart in their mental faculties’.55 Some of Nordau’s key physiological markers of degeneration are exhibited here in Dracula, for example ‘the unequal development of the two halves of the face and cranium; then imperfection in the development of the external ear, which is conspicuous for its enormous size, or protrudes from the head’.56 Moreover, in chapter XXV Mina calls him ‘a criminal and of criminal type. Nordau and Lombroso would so classify him, and qua criminal he is of imperfectly formed mind’ (296). The connection between Dracula and degeneracy has been considered at length by Daniel Pick,57 but the phrenological readings of Dracula’s face directly implicate both photography and performance as some of the novel’s key influences. As noted above, photography documented physical exceptionalism, in the contorted poses of Charcot’s hysterics and in the electrocuted faces of the electrophysiologist, Duchenne de Boulogne. But photography likewise played a significant part in the construction of the ‘degenerate’. Composite photography allowed eugenicists like Francis Galton to delineate specific phrenological types to taxonomize perceived hereditary traits such as religion or race and criminal predisposition. As Clayton suggests, the narrative style of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – and, I would argue, the double-exposed photograph used to publicize the stage version of the text – is reminiscent of the muchpopularized composite photograph since it overlays different narrative perspectives.58 This reading can be extended to Dracula too. Stoker’s novel overlays different textual perspectives – often occurring simultaneously – to create a composite but coherent narrative. The narrative is almost doubly exposed.

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But Stoker’s word choices also reveal a deeper photographic preoccupation with Dracula’s face and physiognomy: I seemed to see the high lights [sic] of the Count’s evil face, the ridge of the nose, the red eyes, the red lips, the awful pallor. It was only for a moment, for, as Lord Godalming said, ‘I thought I saw a face, but it was only the shadows,’ and resumed his inquiry, I turned my lamp in the direction, and stepped into the passage. There was no sign of any one; and as there were no corners, no doors, no aperture of any kind, but only the solid walls of the passage, there could be no hiding-place even for him. (221–2)

The flash of the Count’s ‘evil face’ is instantaneous, like the flash of the instant camera’s magnesium bulb. In photographic terminology, highlights and shadows are considered to be the result of either under- or overexposure, which each rely on the closing of an aperture. Here we see these words connected to Dracula’s visual appearance. The word ‘aperture’ appears a further three times throughout the novel regarding windows or gaps in buildings (the others are an aperture in Lucy’s broken window (131) and an aperture in Lucy’s coffin (176) through which Seward and Van Helsing peer). While the word quite literally means a gap or hole in portions of solid matter, the word’s connection with optical instruments dates back as far as the seventeenth century and was used with regards to photography in the mid-nineteenth century (OED). Stoker’s use of this word, then, brings together the language of photographic technology and the inability to see or to capture Dracula’s face. As we know already from his working notes, Stoker imagines the Count photographically, and as the extract demonstrates, the lack of an aperture means that the Count’s face seems to fade away into ephemerality. Daniel Martin suggests that in Dracula ‘the vampire-image (its movements, appearances, and disappearances) consistently antagonises the senses through a series of seductive encounters, in which the vampire-image never fully presents itself according to a logic of production and complete visibility’, even when the characters read Dracula’s body and movements as a sign of atavistic criminality.59 Dracula’s face, in its awfulness, draws in both Harker and Lord Godalming, before fading away. His fading away is made impossible by the lack of aperture in the room, but what is clear from Stoker’s notes is that even when presented with a photographic aperture, Dracula’s likeness remains obscured. In short, Dracula appears to adhere to some rules of photography – he can be captured by the Kodak, he cannot disappear without an aperture; the fact that he does not confirm to certain other photographic rules – his photographic image does not look like him but a skeleton, he does disappear into nothing even without an aperture – is highly suggestive of his uncanniness. He is an illusion, a trick of the light, though dependent on photographic technologies in order to be so. Harker and Godalming remain resigned to the Count’s elusive nature, realizing that even if they attempt to turn the aperture – both photographic and literal – on Dracula, the physical properties of his vampire-ness mean he goes beyond the world of physical laws: he can disappear into thin air. Yet, beyond the need to photograph Dracula, or to imagine his particularly criminal facial features as part of a larger photographic history, is the theatrical appeal of his


Writing, Authorship and Photography

supernatural mystique. Much of our understanding of Dracula’s nature comes from Professor Van Helsing whose oration on mythology in chapter XIV evokes theatrical spectacularity: Can you tell me why the tortoise lives more long than generations of men; why the elephant goes on and on till he have seen dynasties; and why the parrot never die only of bite of cat or dog or other complaint? Can you tell me why men believe in all ages and places that there are some few who live on always if they be permit; that there are men and women who cannot die? We all know – because science has vouched for the fact – that there have been toads shut up in rocks for thousands of years, shut in one so small hole that only hold him since the youth of the world. Can you tell me how the Indian fakir can make himself to die and have been buried, and his grave sealed and corn sowed on it, and the corn reaped and be cut and sown and reaped and cut again, and then men come and take away the unbroken seal and that there lie the Indian fakir, not dead, but that rise up and walk amongst them as before? (172)

Van Helsing takes on the role of the showman, inviting a sceptical audience to suspend their disbelief. His questions, which appear to be genuine at first, become rhetorical in their repetition. His parenthetical asides, which claim science is on his side, carry the impossible aspects of his oration. Van Helsing’s invocation of the magic of the Indian fakirs recalls exotic spectacles much like those hosted by Stoker’s friend John Nevil Maskelyne’s company’s exhibitions at the Egyptian Hall, as well as the attractions at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, for instance the Koh-i-Noor diamond. In the style and content of his speech, Van Helsing is Dracula’s best form of promotion: he generates the mythos that surrounds the Count’s powers, imbricating other popular Victorian spectacles. Van Helsing’s orations on Dracula, as well as the latter’s physiognomic attributes, cast the Count almost as part of the visual spectacle of the freak show. Rosemarie Garland Thomson writes that there was a nineteenth-century preoccupation with the exhibition of exceptional bodies, which she calls ‘monsters’ and ‘freaks’.60 She notes that ‘exhibiting anomalous bodies in taverns and on street corners’ directly fed into the institutions of American circus sideshows and London’s Bartholomew Fair.61 Thomson suggests that at the core of the attraction to these ‘freaks’ is a ‘seemingly insatiable desire’ to ‘gawk’ at the ‘marvelous phenomena’ of monstrosity, and this is precisely what ‘showmen and monster-mongers’ exploit.62 In other words, the ‘freak’ is a spectacle. As with traditional modes of stage theatre, freak shows and exhibitions were restricted by the same rules of popularity. Consequently, Thomson explains that freak mythology was sold under the guise of a ‘lecture’, delivered by a showman or ‘professor’ who usually managed the exhibited person.63 This is precisely the role played by Van Helsing here: he requires suspension of disbelief for the development of Dracula’s mystique, and he needs his professorial authority to authenticate the validity, and science, of his claims. But this role also mirrors the role played by Stoker at the Lyceum. As the theatrical manager he was responsible for the publicity of the talent: how they appeared in photographs, news reports, reviews and so on. The

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invocation of Dracula as a sort of stage spectacle, then, is a testament not only to his visibly remarkable physical appearance but also the role played by theatre in promoting physical exceptionalism. To use Gunning’s phrase again, such shows demonstrated the ‘primal fascination with the act of display’.64 Whether that is through the freak show, the photographs of the hysteric or the murderous Hyde, theatre and its promotion relied on performing bodies that had a unique and often problematic relationship with photography. As a result, Stoker is able to bring together his two professional lives – as author and as theatrical manager – within one text: Dracula. However, as interest in freaks and degenerates waned, theatrical spectacles took on a new form. One sees this most evidently in the types of the performances at the Egyptian Hall, in Piccadilly. Just a short walk from the Lyceum Theatre, the hall formed another vital part of London’s theatre district. The Egyptian Hall, run by Maskelyne & Cooke the Royal Illusionists, who were some of Stoker’s correspondents, had previously been the site of freak shows and from the 1870s onwards began to focus on visual entertainments and modern technologies.65 But it is the 1880–2 season which demonstrates most clearly that theatre still embraced on-stage freakery while moving towards sincerer theatrical illusions and photographic magic spectacles. Marina Warner notes that during this time the Egyptian Hall shows included Psycho the fortune-teller, flying spirits and levitating furniture, tableaus of ‘The Temptations of Good St Anthony’, complete with an ‘Imp with a Trumpet Snout’; while in the course of a ‘Light and Dark Séance’, the ‘decapitation illusion’ involved a tooth-chattering head of a skeleton floating out over the heads of the audience.66

The ‘Imp with a Trumpet Snout’ is reminiscent of the physical abnormalities which had previously graced the British stage and which continue to echo in descriptions of Dracula in Stoker’s novel. However, the other listed spectacles demonstrate an increasing dependence on modern ocular technologies for effects such as séances, decapitation illusions and projections. Dracula is indebted to these stage illusions too and how they are in turn reliant upon contemporary photographic technologies.

Death and photography on stage: The visual heritage of the vampire When Mina races to locate Lucy after she has sleepwalked through Whitby, Stoker describes a scene which has direct photographic and theatrical resonance. The lengthy section below demonstrates the movements of light and shadow which compose this narrative moment and which imitate theatrical effects: I ran along the North Terrace, but could see no sign of the white figure which I expected. At the edge of the West Cliff above the pier I looked across the harbour to the East Cliff, in the hope or fear – I don’t know which – of seeing Lucy in our favourite seat. There was a bright full moon, with heavy black, driving clouds,


Writing, Authorship and Photography which threw the whole scene into a fleeting diorama of light and shade as they sailed across. For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St. Mary’s Church and all around it. Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the Abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and the churchyard became gradually visible. Whatever my expectation was, it was not disappointed, for there, on our favourite seat, the silver light of the moon struck a half-reclining figure, snowy-white. The coming of the cloud was too quick for me to see much, for shadow shut down on light almost immediately; but it seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. … There was undoubtedly something, long and black, bending over the halfreclining white figure. I called in fright, ‘Lucy! Lucy!’ and something raised a head, and from where I was I could see a white face and red, gleaming eyes. … When I came in view again the cloud had passed, and the moonlight struck so brilliantly that I could see Lucy half reclining with the head lying over the back of the seat. She was quite alone, and there was not a sign of any living thing about. (87–8)

The connotations of ‘silver light’ and ‘diorama’ are particularly evocative of a photographic aesthetic. Silver nitrate was one of the first materials known to be photosensitive and therefore used in early photographic imaging. Moreover, prior to his work with photography Louis Daguerre developed the diorama, a technology that would later cultivate Nicéphore Niépce’s very early understanding of photochemistry into photo-technology in its modern form. The intimate connection between the diorama and photography also exists in a shared use of particular technologies. A diorama is a painted scene offering two views and therefore must be displayed in a specific room, in which light levels must be maintained in order to be successfully manipulated for the changing image. The viewer then observes the scene through a small hole, as if using a camera, and the translucency of the material on which the two scenes were painted allowed the picture to transform from scene to scene with cross lighting. Christopher Baugh defines a typical diorama scene as one involving ‘transitions from peaceful to stormy landscapes, and daytime scenes to romantic, moonlit scenes’.67 In this scene, then, Stoker, through Mina, imagines Whitby, with its tinges of the supernatural in both photographic and theatrical terms. Not only does the diorama become a helpful concept through which to understand the meteorological changes, but Stoker’s prose likewise replicates the effect in his chiaroscuro description of the harbour. But this passage goes beyond simply offering a panoramic view of Whitby by night. The Count’s sudden disappearance, which happens after the passing over of a cloud suggests that this description similarly draws on other photographic technologies. Phantasmagoria, as defined by Marina Warner, based in the same technology as the diorama, ‘turned to spectral illusion, morbid, frequently macabre, supernatural, fit to inspire terror and dread, those qualities of the sublime’.68 The primary goal of the phantasmagoria was not to demonstrate a shifting play of light between two scenes but to make composite elements of those scenes come to life and inspire fear in the audience. Certainly, this uncanny effect is what takes place in this moment in Stoker’s

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novel. Phantasmagoria were popularized throughout the eighteenth century by Étienne-Gaspard ‘Robertson’ Robert and usually required the projection of a magic lantern slide onto some sort of translucent material, for example smoke. The flickering image against a smoky backdrop is evoked in Stoker’s description of Dracula’s disappearance under the cover of cloud: it is as if once the cloud moves off, there is no semi-transparent material on which his image might be projected. The moonlight which cuts directly through the scene disturbs the darkness of the phantasmagoric apparition. In their ability to generate ghostly apparitions, phantasmagoria were used frequently on stage. The famous ‘Pepper’s Ghost Illusion’, invented by Henry Dircks and perfected and presented at London’s Royal Polytechnic Institute by John Henry Pepper in 1862, made use of this same projection onto a translucent material for on-stage phantoms. The illusion worked by positioning a pane of glass on stage so as to catch the reflection of a highly illuminated actor positioned in a room or alcove that could not be seen by the audience.69 Tom Gunning claims that such visual tricks were the ancestors of spirit photography,70 but the scenic invocation of the phantasmagoria here demonstrates Dracula’s more general preoccupation with stage illusions, which originate in photographic technologies. Indeed, David Brewster claimed that phantasmagoria were an aspect of ‘natural magic’ or of illusions that could be explained by simple tricks based in scientific principles.71 It is these scientific principles that reveal how such tricks depended on photographic technological developments. Wynne calls Lucy’s disappearance ‘stage managed’.72 Indeed, after her vampiric transformation, Lucy’s body itself becomes a ‘trick of the light’ (144), mirroring stage illusion and also reinforcing that the vampire’s body is ultimately protean and unfixable. Such descriptions demonstrate how Lucy’s vamped body is imagined through visual stage illusions. In Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism, Karen Beckman claims that by the end of the 1880s, conjuring became an integral part of theatrical performance, which formed a vital part of the ‘Victorian cultural diet’.73 However, her primary claim about stage illusions is that visual acts of violence towards the female body – its disappearance, decapitation, dismemberment – were a response to the fear of an overall feminizing effects of magic, such as the exotic magician’s robing, on the British male body.74 This, in part, explains the masculine violence against Lucy’s vampire body that is meant to ensure her passage into the afterlife. But Lucy’s vanishing at the hands of the male protagonists has an additional photographic undertone. There is a sense of illusion too in Lucy’s transformation into a vampire, which Stoker himself calls a ‘trick of the light’ (144). As Van Helsing approaches Lucy Westenra’s tomb for the first time with Dr Seward, Stoker uses photographic language to articulate the ephemerality of the vamped body. On this first visit, Van Helsing gestures to Seward to look into Lucy’s coffin while ‘holding up the candle to the aperture’ (176). She has vanished. Later in the text she reappears, again at the moment Van Helsing shines a light into her coffin: ‘Van Helsing raised his lantern and drew the slide; by the concentrated light that fell on Lucy’s face we could see that the lips were crimson with fresh blood, and that the stream had trickled over her chin and stained the purity of her lawn death-robe’ (187). The uses of the words ‘lantern’ and ‘slide’ in this second quotation construct Lucy’s body as a sort of projection from Van Helsing’s lantern. In


Writing, Authorship and Photography

a way, Lucy’s tomb becomes a camera obscura which both captures and releases Lucy’s body in the flash of a slide, as a trick of the light. The vampire body, then, is imagined as an extension of photographic technology, even a photographic image ready to be captured. This idea returns when the male protagonists of the novel meet to destroy Lucy’s body. In the cemetery, Lucy is seen clutching a child to her breast, a monstrous version of maternity. To stop Lucy re-entering her tomb, Van Helsing had applied a paste to the door made from the Eucharist (187). The host is an important fixing agent in this novel, demonstrating the exertion of male control over the female body.75 When the men return to her tomb, Van Helsing removes some of the host to remarkable photographic effect: We could hear the click of the closing lantern as Van Helsing held it down; coming close to the tomb, he began to remove from the chinks some of the sacred emblem which he had placed there. We all looked on in horrified amazement as we saw, when he stood back, the woman, with a corporeal body as real at the moment as our own, pass in through the interstice where scarce a knife-blade could have gone. We all felt a glad sense of relief when we saw the Professor calmly restoring the strings of putty to the edges of the door. (189)

Lucy, whose name originates in the Latin lux, meaning ‘light’, disappears at the closing of Van Helsing’s lantern as if only a phantasmagoria that has come to an end. Lucy’s vampire body becomes intimately bound up in the play of light in this moment, which suggests both that she is a phantasmagoric projection of Van Helsing’s lantern and, by disappearing through the interstice in the door, that the tomb parallels the camera obscura. This connection between the camera obscura and the tomb is made easily, since Stoker himself uses the phrase ‘in camera’ much earlier in the novel to mean ‘in a private room’ (138). Across the novel, then, the Latin origins for both ‘Lucy’, as light, and ‘camera’, as room, suggest important double meanings in the text. But if Lucy’s connection to light renders her ephemeral and phantasmagoric, then so does her connection with the British actress Ellen Terry. As the Bloofer Lady, Lucy is compared to the actress (160), though reportedly more attractive. The fictional newspaper account of the Bloofer Lady refers to Lucy’s ‘al fresco performances’ and her ‘popular role’, uncomfortably mixing the violence of the children being ‘slightly torn or wounded in the throat’ (160) with her outstanding, spectacular beauty. Much like the seductiveness of the stage monster, the Bloofer Lady is both beautiful and horrifying and, like the monstrous Mansfield, she is playing a role. Daniel Martin suggests that the female vampires Harker encounters are likewise both horrifying and seductive, invoking Loïe Fuller’s Serpentine and Butterfly Dances in Paris in the early 1890s, in which the woman ‘disappears within the technical craft of modern illusion and lighting’.76 Thus, this part of the book returns to where it began: with the comparison between the vampire and the theatre performer. Just like Lucy, the on-stage, choreographed spectacle of the actress can disappear through illusion and lighting. The actor-painter Johnston Forbes-Robertson once described Ellen Terry as a ‘vision of loveliness’ but ‘almost intangible’, and for Mrs Clement Scott, the actress was ‘the most eerie, unreal thing to look at that I ever beheld’.77 Both attest to Terry’s intangible, ethereal quality,

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which makes her a perfect analogue for Lucy. The fact that Lucy is both actress and vampire makes her doubly invisible, doubly capable of disappearing through some trick of the light, through some illusion. But while reading Stoker’s correspondence and working notes afford readers and critics alike helpful insights into his creative process and his conceptualization of the figure of Dracula, to some extent it reveals the man behind the curtain. It exposes the literary magician. While Stoker’s correspondence exposes how his engagement with real photographs allowed him to conceptualize the spectacle of Dracula, such backstage access limits the readers’ ability to suspend their disbelief when faced with the supernatural. Both Irving and Stoker believed in the power of the suspension of belief. A longer extract from Irving’s speech on the Davenport brothers reveals his connection between the stage, the supernatural and photography and draws them together through the power of belief. He asks: Is not a dark chamber essential to the process of photography? And what would we reply to him who would say ‘I believe photography is a humbug, do it all in the light and we will believe otherwise’? It is true that we know why darkness is essential to the production of a sun picture; and if scientific men will subject these phenomena to analysis, they will find why darkness is essential to our manifestations. But we don’t want them to find out, we want them to avoid a common-sense view of the mystery. We want them to be blinded by our puzzle, and to believe with implicit faith in the greatest humbug in the nineteenth century.78

While scientific and technological developments may in some way reveal unexplained mysteries, Irving argues that part of the lure of these scientific explanations is that we do not want them to exist. In other words, while the audience might claim that certain tricks – the spirit cabinet and camera obscura alike, here – are not believable, they do not want to believe in a practical explanation either. They want to be deceived, duped and to ‘believe with implicit faith in the greatest humbug in the nineteenth century’. As with so much of Dracula, the vampire’s draw is both in his mystery and in the group’s attempt to dispel that mystery. As a visual photographic spectacle, Dracula perfectly fits the bill to suspend and elicit disbelief, and Dracula is imagined as a spectacle within the novel as a result of Stoker’s professional connections to the theatre. In the following chapter on Joseph Conrad, I continue to focus on the connection between photography and the willing suspension of disbelief, again focusing, in part, on the other-worldly, by returning to spirit photography. For Conrad, writing – as act, object and profession – and photography were inextricably linked, and, reminiscent of Stoker’s own preoccupation with the careful stage-managing of celebrity identities, Conrad, too, was preoccupied with how the figure of the author became a photographable celebrity at the turn of the nineteenth century.


Part Three

Joseph Conrad: Photography, identity and modernity



Past and present lives: Conrad, heritage and literary celebrity

Figure 3  ‘Photograph of Joseph Conrad as a child, inscribed “Pour Jessie” ’, Stanisława Krakow (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s collection, Yale University Library).

The above photograph (Figure 3) of Joseph Conrad was taken in 1863,1 when he was six years old. On the back he inscribed a note to his grandmother in Polish. The translation reads, ‘To my dear Granny who helped me send pastries to my poor Daddy in prison – grandson, Pole-Catholic, szlachcic,2 KONRAD [6 July 1863]’.3 It is undoubtedly the earliest documented example of Conrad’s image and writing combined4 and demonstrates a nascent moment in his interest in photography and writing. Conrad would later reinscribe it for his wife Jessie George, whom he married in 1896, though it remains unclear what happened to the photograph between Conrad’s grandmother’s death in 1875 and this later date.5 Conrad reinscribed the photograph, this time across the front of the image, ‘Pour Jessie’, a simple address in French which was likely to recall the couple’s sixth-month honeymoon in Brittany. The inscriptions, then, document not only the different recipients of the image but also the transformation Conrad’s identity had undergone in just over thirty years. The first note, written in Polish, signified his national and familial heritage, while the second was written in the language most associated with his nautical career and future Western-European identity: French.6 Vitally, Conrad’s dual inscription of the portrait allows it to become emotionally meaningful in different ways to each recipient.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

The photograph, then, has accrued significant and varied meanings over time. Unquestionably, as a document the image itself has inherent meaning – it depicts Conrad as a child – but the emotional significance for each recipient of the gift originates in Conrad’s writing. For his grandmother, his outfit no doubt signifies the young Conrad’s connection to his family and Polish heritage. But in addition, the directness of ‘To my dear Granny’ in the first inscription demonstrates that this image is a form of intimate communication between family members; it suggests exclusivity. It is addressed to her from him. The directness of this correspondence is intensified in his remarkable engagement with the camera, as if he is looking at her rather than the professional photographer. In fact, his consciousness of the camera, especially in contrast to earlier photographs of him,7 shows his awareness of the staging, process and audience of photography. Walter Benjamin would later argue that a guiding principle of early photography was to ‘never look into the lens!’8 a custom which young Conrad chooses to ignore here. His willingness to look into the lens anticipates an audience, as though he is exchanging looks with them. Just as the image is going directly to his grandmother, there is a direct gaze between young Conrad and his imagined audience. And yet, when the image is inscribed a second time, it is not to Jessie but for/pour her. There is a lack of directness without the ‘to’, but the passivity of the ‘for’ is important for the photograph’s emotional importance. There are earlier photographs which Conrad might have given to Jessie had the purpose been to merely gift her a portrait of him as a young child,9 but the emotional power of this gift is intensified precisely because it had already been inscribed a first time. The portrait takes on emotional significance because it has once been inscribed and given to Conrad’s grandmother; thus, the image must be ‘to’ Conrad’s grandmother in order to be for Jessie. The fact that photographs were becoming affordable portable, paper objects allowed them to become more ubiquitous within the cultural imagination, as well as become objects of inscription and exchange, as this photograph attests. Here Conrad connects writing inextricably with the emotional effect of photographs, and it is in the process of inscription that the image become emotionally valuable, or doubly so. In other words, it is the meaning attached to the image that gives it value, rather than any inherent value within the image itself. Part Three of this book explores this relationship between image and context in the writing of Joseph Conrad. By ‘writing’ I mean both ‘writing’ as a profession and as a method of communicating information, which will be the focus of the first chapter in this section, as well as the act of writing itself and its relationship to photography, which will be explored in the following chapter. But what this section of the book makes clear is that, unlike Hardy, who attempted to fortify the quasi-religious vision of the author in response to an increasingly amateur world of representation, Conrad saw photography as an important starting point for writing. In other words, photography was the source of inspiration rather than an inhibition of it. This marks the dramatic shift in how professional authorship had come to consider photography as a valid method of visual communication and how photography now offered artistic potential. Like the image of himself as a young child, photography became for Conrad a medium from which writing modes might spring, ranging from a literal inscription upon the image to a drastic transformation of his writing style through literary

Past and Present Lives


impressionism. Conrad’s preoccupation with the image included an appreciation for the diverse practices and styles for which photography was responsible in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This part explores these disparate forms, beginning first with the portrait, the celebrity photograph and spirit photographs in Chapter 5, before continuing onwards to explore photojournalism, chronophotography and proto-cinema in Chapter 6. This book contends that his acceptance of the multivalence of photography allowed Conrad to acknowledge the inherent challenges and opportunities this afforded the writing profession, marking a distinct shift in how both photography and authorship were imagined. Nonetheless, while Conrad’s writing on photography reveals a contrast between him and earlier writers, whose focus on photography’s mechanical nature inhibited their ability to see the artistic malleability of the photographic image, he still imagines inherent issues with the visual medium and its use in British literary culture. In particular, Conrad fears how photography might contribute to the growing focus on the celebrity image of the author, a fear Conrad shares with his literary predecessor, Hardy. For this reason, while Conrad envisioned multiple opportunities for photography, implicated into discussions on this new medium are his own struggles to assert and maintain his personal and professional identities. Thus, while Conrad engaged with material photographs in his personal life – in both positive and negative ways – there are three ways in which photography provides opportunities and challenges for his professional writing. Firstly, Conrad uses photographs to challenge the concept of willing suspension of disbelief, in both the image and in fiction. For him, the supposed indexicality of photographs resulted in a failure to interrogate the verisimilitude of such images. For Conrad, this had a direct implication for fiction, something which I discuss in relation to Conrad’s short story ‘The Black Mate’ (1908) in this chapter. The text, which is likely to have been written many years in advance of its first publication date,10 overlaps with Conrad’s nautical career both temporally and in its subject matter. Yet it also implicates his position as a professional author. The plot hinges on a ship’s captain’s belief in spirit photographs, drawing attention to the way in which photographic images were read for their intrinsic ‘truth’ or documentary value despite these images being highly staged. Using careful narratorial control, Conrad positions the reader in order to align their own suspension of disbelief with that of the spirit photograph enthusiast. The second implication of photography for British literary culture was explored in one of Conrad and Ford Madox Ford’s jointly authored texts, The Inheritors (1901). This novel questions the part photography played in shaping the image of the modern British author. A dystopian novel for multiple reasons, the texts present a vision of British publishing in which, despite many of the protagonists’ protestations to the contrary, photography was then an inexorable part. In each case, however negative such a connection might appear, Conrad connects photography to writing. Thirdly and finally, Chapter 6 explores the threat photography posed to the very style of writing. Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent (1907) uses photography to facilitate his plot and in doing so demonstrates an achronological and deeply impressionistic writing style. The mechanism of the camera shutter becomes the analogue for anarchist bombs, and in the moment of capture-detonation the narrative of the novel is disrupted. Conrad’s fascination for ‘moving pictures’ also allows the


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events of the novel to unfold proto-cinematically. Moreover, the plot’s connection to real-life events implicates photojournalism as one of the key sources for the text, despite Conrad’s resistance, in The Inheritors especially, to such a vernacular style of writing. And yet despite these three clear connections between his writing and new photographic media, Conrad was reluctant to acknowledge the cultural fascination with visual technology. Stephen Donovan has noted that Conrad sold many of the rights to his books to the emergent film industry,11 despite his apparent distrust of the moving image. However, Suzanne Speidel makes it clear that Conrad’s seeming ambivalence towards visual and popular cultures allowed him both to imitate and oppose them. She writes that in ‘studying the relationship between Conrad’s writing and early cinema, it becomes clear that at times his work adopts strategies of imitation as opposed to, or indeed alongside, strategies of critique’.12 Certainly, Conrad’s conflicting opinions may be entirely for the purposes of critique, or they may in fact demonstrate his attempt(s) to combine literature and photography in creative ways. In a speech given on his first and only trip to the United States, he drew the connection between the literary author and cinema, indicating how cinema might to some extent be as dexterously employed as the literary arts. On 9 April 1923, before Conrad’s trip to the United States, he wrote to Eric Pinker13 detailing his ideas for a lecture he was due to give on the subject of ‘The Author and the Cinematograph’.14 He wrote: I … have sketched out the outlines of a lecture, or rather of a familiar talk, on the (apparently) extravagant lines: of the imaginative literary art being based fundamentally on scenic motion, like a cinema; with this addition that for certain purposes the artist is a much more subtle and complicated machine than a camera, and with a wider range, if in the visual effects less precise – and so on, and so on, for an hour; with a mixture of jocularity and intense seriousness.15

This letter evokes many of the same images as Thomas Hardy’s essays on the photomechanicalness of modern fiction. Here Conrad is suggesting, like Hardy, that while fiction may in some way rely upon visual, even cinematographic, components, the artist is fundamentally a more ‘complicated machine than a camera’. He uses his discussion of cinematography to extoll the merits and abilities of the fiction writer above and beyond the photographic. However, he still draws parallels between writing and visual technologies. In fact, he restrains himself from completely negating cinematography. Later in this letter Conrad continues, ‘[D]on’t imagine that I am going to be impertinent to the cinema; on the contrary I shall butter [the audience] up.’16 This lecture, given to a private audience of American editors and publishers, appears as a peculiar moment of paradox in Conrad’s career. While positioning the artistry of the author far beyond the mechanical nature of the camera, he does not wish to denigrate cinema entirely. Nonetheless, it shows the way in which Conrad imagined cinema and writing to be equally creative forms. As we will see, Conrad makes use of proto-cinematic novelistic styles in The Secret Agent, while also renouncing cinema elsewhere in his non-fiction. His favouring of some cinematic modes over others demonstrates how, as with photography, the cinematic

Past and Present Lives


medium can also communicate through, and be communicated in, many different styles. Thus, while Conrad never wrote directly or exclusively about photography, it is clear from his noted interest in cinema that he put other visual media alongside the work of the author. Conrad believed that some effects of photography were equal to fiction. This sentiment began in a deeply personal connection to the medium.

Sitting for and sending photographs: Conrad’s personal writing Conrad’s life was full of many personal and professional transformations. The double inscriptions of the photograph with which I opened this chapter are testament to the multiple national identities he held. However, what endures throughout his many linguistic transformations is his use of photography as a means of communication alongside writing. Photographs appear and reappear alongside both his native Polish writing (to his family) and English written fiction. Spanning many different languages, Conrad continues to rely on the ability for photographs to tell certain stories, whether he wished them to or not. Tellingly, the way in which Conrad writes about photographs demonstrates a concern over his identity and the way in which the image depicted him to the world, an anxiety which he returned to later in The Inheritors. During his early years, including during his term as a sailor, photographs and writing played an important part in Conrad’s connection to home and family. Between 1861 and 1890, the year in which Conrad ended his nautical career after time in the Congo, he sent photographs of himself on at least four separate occasions, to four separate correspondents. These are of interest since photography was neither cheap nor particularly portable before the 1880s. Consequently, the photographs Conrad engaged with in his formative years would have been expensive studio-produced images, rather than incidental or cheaply produced snapshots, and as such demonstrate the time, expense and consideration which would have gone into the photographs’ production. The letters which accompany the photographs are similarly thoughtful and considered. On 14 August 1883, Conrad wrote to Stefan Buszczyński, the executor of his father’s will and the man who would briefly become Conrad’s guardian after his father’s death in 1869. In it he thanks Buszczyński and regrets he cannot be with him personally. As a substitute for a personal visit, he includes a photograph along with the following lines: Therefore, being unable personally to remind you of myself and to obtain your indulgence for all my faults, I hasten to do it in writing, enclosing my photograph, in the hopes that in memory of the friendship for the father the son will find a friendly remembrance, and for his letter – even after such a long silence – a kind reception.17

Writing and photographic image, sent together, are supplied as substitutes for Conrad’s visit. In fact, Conrad is suggesting that Buszczyński’s kind reception for the letter will be contextualized by the memory of Conrad’s father. The repetition of words associated


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with memory – remind, memory, remembrance – suggests that the writing and image, while occurring in the present, will have some connection to the past. More than simply a portrait of Conrad, the image is connected with Buszczyński’s memory of the younger Conrad and his now deceased father, a connection which is reinforced in the language Conrad uses. By recalling the shared past between Conrad’s father and former guardian, the letter and the image become emotionally laden communications and gifts beyond what is simply depicted in either the writing or the photograph; they receive their meaning from their context and their inherent representational power, demonstrating the dual effect of photography and writing. This context of remembrance is also invoked in a letter from 2 May 1890 to Maria (Maryleczka) Bobrowska, his first cousin (daughter of his uncle Kazimerz). Again, Conrad uses his photographs as a call for shared familial remembrance. In the letter, Conrad expressed his disappointment that photographs he had planned to send had not been finished yet by the photographer. Instead they will be sent without annotation: I am leaving addressed envelopes ready for posting them. That is why you will find the photographs unsigned and no letter enclosed. So you see, my dear Maryleczka, how sad the situation is. I doubt even if I shall have time to write a few words to Stanis, and Tadzio.18 Please act as my intermediary with the family. Embrace them all on my behalf and ask for kind remembrances of the wanderer.19

The purposes of this letter are for Conrad to apologize for the images which will arrive unsigned, for him to request that Maryleczka pass on his best wishes to the family on his behalf, and to ask for his family to remember him despite his absence. Without the annotated images, Maryleczka must act as a sort of medium through which Conrad’s sentiments can be relayed. His frustration that the portraits will be received without inscriptions reveals the fundamental and profound effect writing has in Conrad’s sentimental sharing of photographs. The image alone is important, but the inscriptions, now substituted by Maryleczka’s physical embrace of the family, are equally as important to Conrad. Inscribed photographs, then, helped maintain a relationship while Conrad was away during his nautical career. The photographs, along with their personalized messages, allowed him to communicate in a way additional or supplementary to what the image itself conveyed, thus intimately connecting the act of writing with the medium of photography. Yet, photographs themselves were important to Conrad, as is demonstrated in his disappointment upon losing those which depict his family. Tadeusz Bobrowski, Conrad’s uncle, wrote to him on 9 October 1876 to express dismay at his having lost more of his personal belongings (while working aboard ships and travelling).20 These belongings included a family photograph and some books written in Polish. Bobrowski asks admonishingly: ‘And you ask me to replace them! Why? So that you should take the first opportunity of losing them again!? He who appreciates something looks after it.’21 Bobrowski moves from considering the many objects Conrad has lost to focusing on ‘something’ and ‘it’. In other words, the Polish books and the photographs – writing and image – become one discrete object. Together writing and photography here symbolize Conrad’s national identity. The envelopment

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of the family photographs and Polish books into one item implies that their loss was less about Conrad’s lack of consideration for them as important familial objects and more that losing those particular items signifies a larger symbolic loss. Bobrowski’s response seems particularly unfair, but both Conrad’s request and his uncle’s response demonstrate that these items are not merely books and images but items of familiar and interpersonal value. While they can be replaced this does not depreciate the symbolic value of the originals. Like the image of Conrad as a child, image and writing when brought together can have profound emotional effect: for Conrad and Bobrowski alike, photographs and Polish books are symbolic of personal and national identity. Implicit in the connection between photographs and writing, then, is Conrad’s personal identity. Together they allow him to communicate with his family his feelings of sadness at their separation and likewise enable him to articulate his Polish identity while far from home. But Conrad was also preoccupied with the connection between photography as a phenomenon and its manifestation of identity. Crucial to his understanding of how photography works as a representational tool – whether it is indexical or, as discussed below in relation to ‘The Black Mate’, highly staged – is his exploration of how easily it might depict himself. While he could see the value of the accuracy afforded by the camera, like many of the authors discussed here, he felt there was something essential missing from what was depicted in the final picture. This was integral to his fears surrounding the popularity of the image of the celebrity author. In his preface to Thomas Beer’s biography of Stephen Crane, he recalls a visit to his friend’s home, Ravensbrook, in 1898, during which a group photograph was taken (Figure 4).22 He writes: ‘Though the likenesses are not bad it is a very awful thing. Nobody looks like him or herself in it. The best yet are the Cranes’ dogs.’23 This photograph challenges the belief that the photograph is a direct copy of real life. Conrad suggests a complicated nuance in his dual use of the word ‘like’ and its cognates, which allows the photograph to be both a likeness and unlike how anyone really appears. He forces the distinction between the likeness – the final photograph, the representational object – and resemblance between the image and its subject. For Conrad, photographs are as much objects as images, and therefore as objects might represent more or less of their true (emotional) meaning separate to the images they depict. In other words, Conrad separates the image from its context – the actual appearances of his friends – to demonstrate how photography can directly capture an image from life, but in the process this image is divorced from actual personal experience. Again, this destabilizes the connection between what the image might mean emotionally to Conrad and what the image might ‘mean’: a visual memento of a trip to his friend’s home. Conrad addresses what the act of taking the photograph meant for him. In fact, for him the act of capturing is mechanical and dehumanizing. Conrad writes that the ‘visit [to Ravensbrook], during which I suffered from a sense of temporary extinction, is commemorated by a group photograph taken by an artist summoned with his engine (regardless of expense)’.24 Conrad’s visit is bound up in his own personal feeling of extinction, and a similar extinction of identity is enacted by the camera. There is a tension suggested between the ‘artist’ and ‘his engine’. Conrad appears to imply that while the photographer himself might be an artist – and, by extension, might make ‘art’ through photography – the camera can only ever be


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Figure 4  The Conrads at Ravensbrook (Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin).

mechanical. Like his speech on the author and the cinematograph, there remain some essential tensions between the artist and the photographer. This tension, which highlighted Conrad’s concern for the image of the author, was expressed openly to Hugh Walpole when the pair first met in 1918. Conrad apparently ‘cursed the public for not distinguishing between creation and photography’.25 For him, photography was separate from any form of creativity, but this did not mean that photography could not be creatively employed.

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As with his distinction between the artist and the engine, the act of photographing is mechanical, but the operator might be creative. In fact, Conrad claimed that the photographer might be able to generate a predetermined desired effect. In 1898, Edward Garnett wrote an article praising Conrad for his ‘realism of that high order’ to be published in the journal The Academy.26 To accompany the article, Conrad had his photograph taken; he described the resulting image thus: The fact is that in the Academy photograph it is not my clothes that are endimanchés27 but my face – the artistic! photographer’s aim being always to obliterate every trace of individuality in his subject – so as to make a respectable picture. (emphasis in original)28

It is not his outfit that seems unnecessarily formal but his own face. The photographer, while aiming for a ‘respectable’ picture suitable for the academy, has removed ‘every trace of individuality’, much like the group photograph taken at the Crane household the same year. This removal of individuality has been the actual ‘aim’ of the photographer while attempting to create an image which met the desired level of respectability. The ‘artistic! … aim’, punctuated with a sarcastically placed exclamation mark, ironizes the aims of art being professed at the end of the 1800s by Walter Besant and Henry James, among others. However, while it might appear that he is deliberately excising art from the process of photography, Conrad reveals how photography, while mechanical, can still be manipulated to generate a desired effect. By drawing the comparison between what he wears and how his face appears in the resulting image, Conrad suggests that somehow the overall respectability of the picture is not simply the result of costuming but of some effect of the artistic photographer: the image does not capture, simply, what can be seen but captures the photographer’s artistic vision. As this portrait would come to identify Conrad as a writer, alongside Garnett’s article in The Academy, he appears to be concerned with the consequences of the image’s visual effect. In a sense, it is because writing (as a profession) and photography are so intimately connected that Conrad agonizes here over the way in which he is presented; such an endimanché picture could not possibly depict the sea-worn face of Joseph Conrad. At every moment of Conrad’s development from child to seaman to author, photography re-emerges as an important articulation of identity. However, at each step Conrad makes it clear that the photographic image should not be taken at face value, but instead considered alongside writing, whether that be an inscription, an advanced letter expressing his heartfelt good wishes, Polish books or even Conrad’s own fiction. In his inscriptions of photographic images, as well as his writings about images without inscriptions or captions, Conrad makes it clear that photographic images alone communicate an intended effect of the photographer: an effect which might be entirely out of the control of either the sitter or the image’s viewer. The following section explores how Conrad used spirit photographs to demonstrate how the superficial reading of images did not account for all the effects and tricks which might be easily applied in the photographer’s studio. In ‘The Black Mate’ spirit photographs highlight the willing suspension of disbelief of the viewer and propose that photographs alone


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must be read critically for intention. But as these fictional images are also inextricably bound up in the structure of the tale, this demonstrates that for Conrad photography and writing were intimately connected.

Fictions and photographs: ‘The Black Mate’ (1908) and the power of belief ‘The Black Mate’, apparently written in 1886,29 is a humorous short story. The eponymous ‘Black Mate’, Bunter, is a particularly suspicious character with infamously black hair who has been recently hired by Captain Johns to work on board his ship, Sapphire. Captain Johns is superstitious and has frequent, often heated, discussions with Bunter about Spiritualism. He claims that since spirit photographs exist, then so too must spirits themselves. In short, he believes unquestionably in the documentary power of photography. Shortly after a storm at sea, which damages Bunter’s room and various glass objects within it, Bunter suffers an accident and suffers significant injury having fallen down the poop-ladder. The incident happens during a calm sea, and the event’s occurrence goes unexplained for some days, Bunter himself refusing to talk to anyone about it. Finally, Bunter confides in Johns that he saw a ghostly apparition which startled him, causing him to tumble backwards and injure himself. He does not go into further detail, but Johns nurtures him back to health, convinced that Bunter has become ‘a firm, if gloomy, recruit of spiritualism’.30 The Black Mate’s hair eventually begins to grow through as white, an apparent testament to this terrifying encounter. Finally, the narrator reveals the truth about what had happened: too old to gain a berth on ship through traditional means, Bunter had dyed his hair to appear younger. During the storm, his entire supply of hair dye had been wiped out. Frustrated, and knowing that his hair would begin to turn white again, Bunter fabricates the story of a spiritual encounter to explain his hair. At the tale’s close, his wife inherits a large fortune from a distant relative, meaning that Bunter will never have to return to sea. Without Johns’s belief in spiritualism, it would have been impossible for Bunter to have fabricated the story. However, since Conrad’s narrator does not reveal the true turn of events until the end of the narrative, the reader is placed in the same position as Johns: they are asked to suspend their disbelief naively, just as Johns demonstrates the willingness of the nineteenth-century viewer to believe in the veracity of the image. In this way, writing and photography are bound together. Once the lie is exposed to the reader, Conrad undermines the story that had been previously depicted and instead reveals necessary information which fundamentally transforms the interpretation of the text. The reader’s belief in the narrative and Johns’s belief in spirit photographs are paralleled, yet there remains one fundamental difference which reinforces the absurdity of the spirit photograph. The reader knows that the story is fictional, but the photographs appear real precisely because they can accurately depict reality. Conrad’s juxtaposition of Johns’s and the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief demonstrates how photography can be as easily manipulated as the prose form; just like writing can be used in both fact and fiction, so can photography be used as a documentary tool and

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a trompe l’oeil. Bunter’s dyeing of his hair and then his subsequent greying redoubles the effect and exposes to the reader that things are not what they seem. The central lie in the text is an attempt to exploit appearances: the dyed hair ensures Bunter’s employment on Sapphire. As we will see, Captain Johns’s belief in spirits stems from what he believes are reliable sources. These are primarily photographs but also include newspaper reports and other written texts. How Johns determines his belief, then, is through the power of sight: by either viewing or reading. It is important, then, that Bunter’s lie about the colour of his hair is also about creating a belief system in what can be seen. Johns believes Bunter is young because of the colour of his hair and then believes him again when his hair begins to turn grey. Bunter must adapt his outward appearance to convince his employers of his youth, since to be an old sailor is to be superfluous. A discussion about the value of aged sailors recalls the discourse on spirit photography, again connecting the lie of Bunter’s appearance with the lie of spirit photographs. Captain Johns’s belief in the presence of spirits is trivialized when Captain Sellers remarks that the only thing to do when sailors have passed their prime is to ‘make ghosts of them’ (89). The link between the spectral and the obsolescence of older men is condensed into this apparent allusion to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which Hamlet exclaims, ‘I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me’ (I. 4. 85).31 Much like Hamlet’s father, who is despatched – made a ghost – and replaced by Claudius, Sellers’s suggestion that to make ghosts of older sailors is to demonstrate that they are superfluous. The transformation of aging sailors into ghosts clearly demarcates how all spirits have been, fundamentally, human, even if they appear otherwise in photographs. In fact, the temporality of the photographic image – existing as a representation in the now, while being inextricably linked to what has happened in the past – demonstrates how photographs themselves are ghostly. Moreover, since spirit photographs were often made by using pre-existent images of deceased loved ones, the pictures do not depict spirits but rather family members in their living, human form. Indeed, the spirits manifested in photography were often called ‘extras’,32 both in the sense that they reportedly appeared spontaneously in a photograph where the scene had been empty and in the sense that spirits were often added to the photographic plate after exposure but before development. The connection between ghosts, or spirits, and old sailors depends on the value of either the image or the person, which can be inferred from their outward appearance. As an extension of this logic, the self-fashioned identity of Bunter, just as the spirit on the sensitized plate, is bound up in the ability to be believed. It becomes clear, then, why Bunter must lie in order to gain employment, and also how this identity is uneasily bound up in the world of spirits. For Conrad, both the dyeing of Bunter’s hair and the popularity of spirit photography document the need for deception in order for them to become more credulous. Bunter’s claim that he had undergone a spiritual encounter on deck is held together by the captain’s belief in spirits, which takes support from the existence of spirit photographs, along with various literary (press) authorities, arguing simply: ‘Why, they have been photographed! What more proof do you want?’ (89). The tension between the believer and the non-believer comes to a head in a heated exchange about midway through the text. Until Bunter’s accident, Captain Johns cannot comprehend Bunter’s inability to believe in spirits, leading him to exclaim, ‘Incredulity, sir, is the evil of the age!’ (100). While Johns


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deplores Bunter’s unwillingness to believe, there is a distinct irony that casts Bunter as the analogue for altered photographs. Johns can believe in Bunter’s masquerade as much as he can believe in spirit photographs. In short, both Bunter’s dark hair and photographic extras are credible. Tom Gunning proposes that late-nineteenthcentury visual technologies relied upon the (in)credulity of the spectator. He begins his argument with the likely apocryphal story of audience members running and screaming from the Lumière brothers’ film of a train arriving at a station. He examines exactly what might have been credible or incredible for the Victorian spectator and states that there was a constant vacillation between credulousness and incredulousness.33 This double bind is communicated in Gunning’s term, the ‘(In)Credulous Spectator’, and it is this dynamic Conrad interrogates in the short story. Both Johns and Bunter demand credulity – the former that spirits exist, the latter that he has gone white owing to a ghostly experience – and both build their belief on what can be seen. Johns believes in the proof of the photograph, that spirit images are credible, while Bunter believes that the story supporting his greying appearance will be credible because of Johns’s beliefs. But Johns’s beliefs are likewise a testament to the effect of the written word. After his exclamation about incredulity, the narrator adds that there are at least two reputable sources for belief in spiritualism in addition to photographs, one of which directly implicates writing: journalism and an academic called Professor Cranks. Johns claims that incredulity resists the evidence posited by such sources. The discussion about sources of proof is epitomized in Johns’s distinction between the books in his own personal collection and those belonging to the second mate. Johns claims that Bunter was not a ‘spiritually minded man’, since the novel he borrowed from the second mate was a ‘trashy pack of lies’ (100). Here, Johns calls fiction lies while also arguing that photography is truthful. As a result, Conrad constructs a narrative structure which juxtaposes writing (fiction) and (spirit) photography, while Johns draws a direct parallel between the two (journalism and photography). Johns cannot see that photographs can be just as artfully composed as fiction. For him, there is inherent truth value in the image of the spirit, since ‘the sensitised plate can’t lie. No, sir’ (101). The fiction of the borrowed novel is directly contrasted with not only truth but also, by extension, photography. Even with the knowledge that photographs can be fiction, the very nature of the medium is a challenge to anyone who does not believe in the veracity of the image. Conrad makes this point in Heart of Darkness (1899), another text with a nautical framework, and which would be written soon after ‘The Black Mate’ if the earlier composition date for Tit-Bits is to be believed. Marlow, when talking about the portrait of Kurtz’s Intended, acknowledges the deceptiveness of photographs: Thus I was left at last with a slim packet of letters and the girl’s portrait. She struck me as beautiful – I mean she had a beautiful expression. I know that the sunlight can be made to lie too, yet one felt that no manipulation of light and pose could have conveyed the delicate shade of truthfulness upon those features.34

Bound up in this moment, as with Johns’s belief in the spirit photographs, is the willing suspension of disbelief. On the one hand, Marlow accepts that photographs can be manipulated, but on the other he believes so much in the truthfulness of what he sees

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depicted – the Intended’s beauty – that he cannot believe that the photograph might lie. Conrad highlights the tendency for a photograph’s viewer to see only what is depicted rather than to use their knowledge – of the manipulation and staging of the image, as well as their understanding of life after death – in order to interpret that image. As ‘The Black Mate’ continues, Conrad layers up images which undermine Captain Johns’s credulity. In riposte to Bunter’s lack of belief in the truthfulness of photographs, Johns exclaims repeatedly, ‘ “Photographs! photographs!” ’ … in a voice as creaky as a rusty hinge’ (101). Rather than provide further evidence for the inherent truth value of photographs, Johns can only repeat the word ‘photographs’ over and over. The image of rusty hinge here becomes almost ideophonic, aurally mimicking the name of Johns’s spiritualism expert, Professor ‘Cranks’, cranking mechanically his belief in spirit photographs. But in addition to the image of the physical, mechanical crank, the word also implies a rogue or duplicitous person, often a fraud (OED). A duplicitous crank suggests that despite his professorship, Professor Cranks is not necessarily a reliable source. Furthermore, a literal crank is reminiscent of the mechanism used in early moving picture technologies, like the cinematograph from the Lumière brothers in the late nineteenth century, which was both camera and projector, or the kinetoscope developed by Thomas Edison in the late 1890s. Professor ‘Cranks’, then, suggests the direct reduplication of something mechanically, as well as being evocative of inherent duplicity. By drawing a comparison between reading and viewing, Conrad exposes how photographs, like poor journalism or suspect academia, require acts of conscious critical reading. Certainly, while Conrad demonstrates in his own personal engagement with photographs that writing can dramatically transform the meaning of an image, from a negative thing to a positive thing, the association between writing and photography in ‘The Black Mate’ highlights how authenticity is leant to the image by its connection to journalism. Perhaps pre-empting the era of photo manipulation, ‘The Black Mate’ is about questioning both text and image, and interrogating even further when the two appear together, as they increasingly did in British journalism.

Celebrity, authorship and the photographic in The Inheritors (1901) The capriciousness of the press and the mass market is explored in Ford and Conrad’s joint novel The Inheritors, which, though bizarre in style and content, is deeply critical of contemporary celebrity and British literary culture. The press and publication culture at the novel’s core demonstrates a value system based on appearances, influence and control and money. While the novel contains elements of twentieth-century science fiction, its exploration of the perception of literary celebrity and the nature of hack journalism would not have been entirely alien to readers of George Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891) exactly a decade earlier. The Inheritors35 begins in the middle of a conversation between two people: Arthur Etchingham Granger, an author, and a smart, beautiful woman. The pair walk


Writing, Authorship and Photography

alongside Canterbury Cathedral, and it is with some astonishment that Etchingham Granger realizes eventually that he has no idea who the woman is, though he assumes she is American or from one of the British colonies, since ‘she was familiar till it occurred to you that she was strange’ (4). Etchingham Granger links her nationality to this feeling, noting that her English was good but that she was definitely foreign. Finally, she reveals that she has come from the ‘Fourth Dimension’ who ‘are to inherit the earth’ (6). Referencing the Beatitudes – ‘Blessed are the gentle [meek], for they shall inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5) – the woman goes on instead to prophesy, ‘You will see how we will bring a man down – a man, you understand, with a great name, standing for probity and honour’ (13). Instead of being weak or gentle, that is, she goes on to suggest her substantial influence and power to overthrow the establishment. The surreal scene disperses, but throughout the novel this woman, who pretends to be his sister, is always one step ahead of Granger, who is commissioned to write a set of ‘atmospheres’ on current celebrities. She always manages to work her way into the social circles of celebrities before Granger even has an opportunity, and he finds that this woman begins to marshal enviable control over the important celebrities and politicians. Granger attempts to seduce the woman, while others see their tension as nothing other than sibling rivalry. The labyrinthine story reaches its climax when Granger is offered the opportunity to edit the journal for which he writes, The Hour. In the moment, he must choose whether or not to stop the presses to insert an article that would rock the foundations of society and expose the Fourth Dimensionists, but in attempting to impress the woman, he decides not to include the report. He learns to his dismay that he did exactly what she expected of him, including betraying his close friends and editors. The woman marries Granger’s editor’s nemesis, Gurnard, and Granger has a public breakdown, returning again to literary obscurity. If the text is somewhat hybrid, it is perhaps because of the nature of Ford’s and Conrad’s collaboration. Ford is reported as having since said, in the appendix to The Nature of a Crime (1909), that Conrad tried always to ‘key up’ his material while Ford wanted to ‘key down’. Ford goes on to describe The Inheritors ‘as it were of silverpoint, delicacies and allusiveness’.36 Describing the novel in this way highlights the delicacy of the visual rendering in the text, which recalls the intangible ‘atmospheres’ Granger is required to write. Also, the word ‘silverpoint’ echoes silver’s role in the creation of early photographs, and the style of this engraving is mirrored in the protagonist’s name etchingham. Granger must etch, in fine detail, the atmospheres of contemporary celebrities. This etching is in itself a sort of impression. Etchingham Granger is requested by his author-friend Callan to write ‘atmospheres’ on current celebrities. Significantly, Callan does not believe that the camera yields the same quality and clarity as literary representation. When Callan asks, on behalf of the editor Fox, for an ‘atmosphere’, a ‘series of studies of celebrities chez eux …. That’s what the public wants,’ (21) Granger responds, self-deprecatingly, that he has ‘seen photographs of you [Callan] and your arm-chair and your pen-wiper and so on, half a score of times in the sixpenny magazines’ (21). For Granger, the notion of what the public wants, what sells in sixpenny magazines and what he is being asked to do are bound up with mass (re)production of photography. He is suggesting, in part, that these literary atmospheres could be easily reproduced by photographs. However, Callan

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disagrees, claiming profoundly that ‘photography – is not – Art’ (22). The eccentric punctuation recalls Conrad’s claim about the ‘the artistic! photographer’s aim’.37 Here, there is a direct contrast between literary art and photography, which highlights the artful way in which photographic images could reproduce and disseminate en masse photographs of professional authors. However, despite Callan’s insistence on the importance of literary ‘atmospheres’ over photographic ones he himself is caught in the trap of photographic celebrity. Callan is an author, but Granger’s description – perhaps ‘atmosphere’ – of him is both textual and photographic. The writing Granger produces is never quoted, suggesting an inability to perform the task properly and signalling his final return to obscurity. However, Granger-as-narrator gives long descriptions of characters, meaning the entire novel comes to represent the work he supposedly completes for the journal, The Hour. In a sense, these descriptions supplant the writing – the ‘atmospheres’ – which Granger was supposed to complete. Granger’s description of the author Callan is quoted at length below to demonstrate the languid way Conrad and Ford develop character descriptions in the novel: They did not talk much; indeed there was very little conversation. What there was Callan supplied. He—spoke—very—slowly—and—very—authoritatively, like a great actor whose aim is to hold the stage as long as possible. The raising of his heavy eyelids at the opening door conveyed the impression of a dark, mental weariness; and seemed somehow to give additional length to his white nose. His short, brown beard was getting very gray I thought. With his lofty forehead and with his superior, yet propitiatory smile, I was of course familiar. Indeed one saw them on posters in the street. The notables did not want to talk. They wanted to be spell-bound—and they were. Callan sat there in an appropriate attitude—the one in which he was always photographed. One hand supported his head, the other toyed with his watch-chain. His face was uniformly solemn, but his eyes were disconcertingly furtive. He cross-questioned me as to my walk from Canterbury; remarked that the cathedral was a—magnificent—Gothic—Monument and set me right as to the lie of the roads. He seemed pleased to find that I remembered very little of what I ought to have noticed on the way. It gave him an opportunity for the display of his local erudition. (17–18)38

In his attempt to represent Callan, Granger slows his prose by dashes to represent the author’s speech. The style in which Callan’s speech is graphologically rendered mimics the speed of the speech itself. Thus, Granger provides a description of Callan which actually imitates the man himself. However, there is an elision between man and representation which is more problematic, and more photographic. Granger comments on the familiarity of the author’s face, since it was always photographed in precisely the same way as he presents it to him in this scene. As Granger notes the individual aspects of Callan’s face – his ‘lofty forehead’ and ‘superior, yet propitiatory smile’ – he says that it is ‘them’ which he sees on posters on the streets, rather than representations of them. Granger assumes that photograph and person are one and the same, just as Callan’s speech and the way in which it is written in the novel become


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the same. However, for Conrad and Ford the photogenic Callan was also connected to writing by being inspired by figures of real-life British literary culture. Conrad and Ford purportedly drew their characterization of Callan from two major authors: Hall Caine and the Scottish novelist S. R. Crockett. Conrad and Ford effectively fracture these discrete authorial identities into segments that reappear in the novel, essentially creating a composite. To Ford on 23 July 1901, Conrad wrote that Sydney S. Pawling of Heinemann’s39 wanted to know who each character in the novel represented.40 When Conrad brought up the name Callan, Pawling instantly interjected: ‘Of course it’s Crockett. There’s no man who had worked that kind of business more.’ However, in the same letter Conrad alludes to ‘the photo of the Great Callan, on the mantelpiece [of Pawling’s office], looking at me’. This photograph, the editors of Conrad’s letters note, must have been of Hall Caine, since he was Heinemann’s crowning success.41 Who Ford and Conrad really meant to typify in the novel remains ambiguous. Nevertheless, it demonstrates how the image of Callan depicted both by Granger’s description of him and by ubiquitous photographs in the novel is informed by Ford and Conrad’s professional acquaintances and affiliations. Rather than, as I opened this chapter, Conrad thinking of writing when he thought of photography, here he and Ford think of photographs when they think of writing. The authors who inspired Callan were aware of the power of their self-image and fought hard to cultivate one. Both Crockett and Caine relied heavily on their visual image, and both had been caricatured in popular press outlets, for example in Vanity Fair.42 As Granger gazes around Callan’s study, he becomes aware that for all the aesthetic ideology of the literary author – that photography was not art – there is a sense of inevitability attached to the fact that, as literary celebrities, their ‘atmospheres’ must always be photographic; despite Callan’s assertion that literature is true art, the writing profession was becoming synonymous with photographic images and authorial identity. Granger notes that Callan had every kind of ‘literary knick-knack. … [B]‌ook-holders that swung into positions suitable to appropriate attitudes; … . There was a writing-lamp that cast an aesthetic glow upon another appropriate attitude – and there was one typewriter with note-paper upon it, and another with MS. paper already in position’ (22–3). The warm image of the ‘aesthetic glow’ becomes symbolic of the good intentions of Callan’s artistic ideology, but as it casts around the room it uncovers the labour-saving devices that reduce modern authors to writing machines. The typewriter guaranteed that each author’s writings would look typographically identical and mechanized the dexterous and personal process of hand writing. The ‘MS. Paper already in position’ demonstrates that the professional author must always be in a state of preparedness, regardless of human feeling. The aesthetic and artistic are lost to modern mechanism. There is nothing human in this collection of things, and yet Granger uses the same word, ‘attitude’, for his collection of objects and his pose for the photographer. The impression of the scene leaves Granger to consider that ‘even in the small hours of the morning [Callan] was ready for the kodak wielder’ (22). Despite Callan’s claim that photography is not art, he is always in a state of composure, like his study, ready to have his image captured. That this scene moves distinctly from the aesthetic glow of writing, to its increasing mechanization, to photography, sustains the fears Hardy articulated

Past and Present Lives


about the increasingly technical nature of British writing. Nonetheless, writing and photography are seemingly inextricable. In The Inheritors we see a sort of resignation by Conrad to the inevitability of photography’s popularity. Despite the frequent claims made by artistic and literary manifestoes of the period, the public will still always want a photograph. Yet Conrad still struggled with the way in which photography presented his professional identity, a strict contrast to Callan, Hall Caine and Crockett. According to Conrad’s son, John Conrad, his father ‘disliked being posed’ for photographs.43 In an account from the artist Walter Ernest Tittle, it is clear to see that Conrad disliked photographers because they were capable of altering the final image from how he felt he really appeared. Tittle was an American illustrator and portrait painter who created two oil paintings, two lithographs and a copper dry-point etching of Conrad.44 Tittle gives an account of Conrad’s sitting for the images and viewing of them: The progress of the portraits interested Mr Conrad very much, and as the likeness developed he displayed much pleasurable excitement. ‘Artists, and even photographers, have a way of smoothing me out and making me look too nice and polite. I see that you are going to represent me as the rough old sea-dog that I am. There is nothing smooth about my face. Feel my temples, how deep and narrow they are; now my cheek bones, and see how they project. And feel how my head broadens abruptly over the ears; the back of my skull is nearly circular. Now my chin, feel how rugged and prominent the bones are. Paint me to look as I am – an old pirate with hooded eyes, like a snake! You laugh? Well, I was virtually a pirate once. I commanded that filibustering ship in The Arrow of Gold, you know, and was nearly captured many times. I know that you have caught my attitude exactly in these pictures; my father used to sit like that. and see how my waistcoat has crept up!’ He laughed his approval. ‘Capital! I could never keep it down. You were worrying a while ago about the length of the nose. Don’t change it, because you have it exactly. That’s the Korzeniowski nose absolutely. I don’t know which of the two I like better, they both seem so utterly like me. First I prefer one, then the other. This background of the gray [sic], cold sea is an excellent idea. You may not have been conscious of it, but you have introduced a fine bit of symbolism here; you show the ocean and the seaman who came out of it to the land. The pale-yellow light on the horizon suggests that there was hope for better things for the sailor when the land called him. The front view has quite an air about it.’ Meditatively, ‘My dear Tittle, do I look as great as that? Don’t you think that our friendship has prepossessed you in my favour?’45

This is certainly more positive than Conrad’s response to other portraits of him, in particular the photo-portrait for the Academy. Instead of Conrad being smoothed out by the photographer, being made to look too endimanché, Tittle paints him as he is. The waistcoat that has risen up recalls Conrad’s forced respectability as a six-yearold, in his culture’s version of endimanché – his szlachcic formal wear. Instead, the ruffled waistcoat represents a sort of truth of reality unachievable in a professional photograph.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Yet, Tittle’s portraits are not as easily reproduced as photographs, and as such cannot serve the demands put on the literary author and his image. In a letter to J. B. Pinker on 18 May 1907, Conrad claimed that, commercially, he was running ‘very much on popularity’ and asked him to ‘tell them [publishers] on the telephone from me that I have no photograph to send them. They bother me for that.’46 The popularity of authorship and the photographic demands attendant on professional writers are nuisances to him. However, when Tittle saw Conrad’s photograph on the front page of the news he instantly knew he was dead:47 such was the potency and ubiquity of Conrad’s own photographic image. For Conrad, then, photography needed writing and writing needed photography. On the one hand, photographs seemed to attest to a greater sense of verisimilitude than literature, directly implicating writing in questions of belief, as in ‘The Black Mate’; on the other hand, the culture of writing itself began to be dependent upon the photographable world. As The Inheritors suggests, while literature might maintain its position as ‘art’ in response to photography, the popularity of the author, and thus his writing, depended on the photograph-ready subject. This separates Conrad’s experience of British literary culture from Hardy’s experience. Where Hardy undertook the last stand against the co-option of photography by British publishing, despite its creeping effects, Conrad demonstrates a sense of resignation to the new photographic reality. Nonetheless, as his son remembered him, Joseph Conrad had a ‘photographic (for want of a better word) mind of quite an extraordinary capacity for the retention of “images” of every-day things’.48 John Conrad recalled how, by remembering the layout of pieces on a chess board from ten days earlier, Joseph Conrad showed an immensely pictorial mind. And yet, recounting an earlier incident, where his father was required to be photographed at home with his family, John Conrad writes that the photographer Will Cadby ‘did not realise that neither of us knew anything about exposures or light or in fact anything to do with cameras’.49 Each story is uniquely charming but highlights a vital way in which Conrad’s literary mind worked. While the specifics and the mechanics of the camera were of no use to him, the distinctly visual opportunities photography provided him could not be ignored. For Conrad, even while photographs threatened to destroy individuality or artistic freedom, his son’s description of his photographic mind demonstrates that for him, photography was an adequate tool of remembrance and nostalgia.


Modernity, mass media and moving pictures

Journalism, photography and the literary imagination Conrad’s relationship with the press was ambiguous. Despite his dependency on news reports of the Greenwich Outrage for the composition of The Secret Agent, he maintained that literary creativity should come from the author alone, rather than contemporary sources. In a letter to Edward Garnett on 19 June 1896, a few years after the Greenwich Outrage but before The Secret Agent was written, Conrad described his writer’s block, claiming, with contempt, that other authors took their inspiration from anecdotes, newspapers and history, whereas he could only take his from impressions: Since I sent you that part 1st (on the eleventh of the month)1 I have written one page. Just one page. I went about thinking and forgetting – sitting down before the blank page to find that I could not put one sentence together. … It’s very ridiculous and very awful. Now I’ve got all my people together I don’t know what to do with them. The progressive episodes of the story will not emerge from the chaos of my sensations. I feel nothing clearly. And I am frightened when I remember that I have to drag it all out of myself. Other writers have some starting point. Something to catch hold of. They start from an anecdote – from a newspaper paragraph (a book may be suggested by a casual sentence in an old almanac). They lean on dialect – or on tradition – or on history – or on the prejudice of fad of the hour. … I have had some impressions, some sensations – in my time: – impressions and sensations of common things. And it’s all faded – my very being seems faded and thin like the ghost of a blonde and sentimental woman, haunting romantic ruins pervaded by rats. I am exceedingly miserable.2

Here he juxtaposes his experience of impressions and sensations with other writers who choose to focus on real-life events. Yet, what this letter also expresses is his own sense of fear and misery at having to ‘drag’ a story out of himself. This chaotic and impressionistic method eventually became a vital aspect of Conrad’s aesthetic, his literary impressionism, but this earlier letter demonstrates


Writing, Authorship and Photography

his struggle with himself to legitimize his writing in relation to others and the profession more broadly. The style of writing to which Conrad refers – one which obscures the boundaries between fact and fiction in its turn to real-life events – was prevalent throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth as a result of a profound change in publishing styles, technologies and modes of dissemination. Laurel Brake makes clear that ‘as the power of fiction to attract readers demonstrably grew in the nineteenth century, so desire for news and information of all sorts fuelled the growth of the press’. This was in part due to attempts to expand readership in both journalism and fiction, which led to a cross-pollination of forms where fiction periodicals began including factual reviews and reports, as well as the inevitable advertising, and where newspapers began including short works of fiction.3 As a result of these textual transformations, the line between fact and fiction was not so clearly drawn. In fact, Karen Jacobs makes the claim that despite the derision for the popular expressed by literary modernists, they were dependent on ‘such popular genres as detective fiction, the diary, the case history, and the newspaper for their materials, as well as for the narrative tensions born of such genres’ varied rules of recognition’.4 As a result, not only was fiction’s dependence on non-fiction mass media a symptom of British literary culture’s modernization, it also contributed to an increasing sense of what constituted the modernist. However, while the aim of mixing fact and fiction in periodicals was to draw in a larger reading audience, there was one singular textual revolution at the end of the nineteenth century that opened up media to the masses: the invention of the halftone printing press. This new press, first used in the 1870s by the New York Daily Graphic, enabled publishing houses to print reproduced photographs alongside text using the same press. While this moment features as part of a longer history of press illustration throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the documentary nature of photographs – as opposed to engravings, which needed to be hand-drawn by artists – leant evidentiary power to national presses. Not only was the creation of the halftone press the result of research throughout the 1800s to make photographs reproducible for mass consumption, something made difficult because photographs ‘included an almost infinite range of grays’,5 but it also signalled yet another change in national readership. As Vanessa Meikle Schulman proposes with regards to American printing culture – a culture which gave Britain nearly all of its technological developments in printing6 – magazine publishers recognized the potential opened up by the halftone press for reaching both literate and non-literate audiences. As a result, mass media and the press now mixed not only fact and fiction on its pages but text and image too. This chapter begins with an exploration of Conrad’s own use of the popular press and its illustrations in his creation of The Secret Agent. In light of Conrad’s own frustration that contemporary authors relied so heavily on mass media for their inspiration, I explore exactly how Conrad’s novel reconciles the factual with the fictional – through the medium of photography. I then go on to suggest that photography in The Secret Agent – which appears both literally and figuratively in the text – has both the potential to destroy and to create, reflecting Conrad’s own ambivalent relationship with the medium and with the press more broadly.

Modernity, Mass Media and Moving Pictures


‘Moving Pictures’ and narrative time in The Secret Agent (1907) Martial Bourdin’s bomb exploded in Greenwich Park on 15 February 1894. This event, which the Illustrated London News called a ‘hideous and horrible, but scarcely deplorable’ accidental suicide, was reported widely by the press7 and is undoubtedly the inspiration for The Secret Agent. The decision made by the Illustrated London News to supplement their reports with images (Figure 5) shows their preoccupation with the visual representation of the event. In addition to the article, which enters into minute detail about Bourdin’s injuries, the reader is given visual clues so that their imagination might construct a timeline of events. In this way, the images are seen to be supplementary to the accounts provided by British newspapers: while the pictures are not necessary, they provide contextual information which feeds into the gory imaginations of the British public. This visual sensationalizing of the event demonstrates the interconnectedness of word and image. But the hyperbolic reporting of the event was criticized, even by anarchists themselves. Russian revolutionist and assassin Sergei Stepniak blamed this sensational journalism for protracting and spreading what he called ‘dynamite epidemics’,8 suggesting an unavoidable connection between reportage and the acts of anarchy themselves. Rather than commenting objectively on the event, British journalism in fact led to an increase in anarchist activity. The combination of the images and the specificity of the details9 means that the images, usually photographic, which accompanied the various press releases actually generated fear and anarchy more than simply observing it. While Conrad claimed, in a letter to Ambrose J. Barker in 1923, that he did not use the Greenwich Outrage as the inspiration for The Secret Agent,10 his ‘Author’s Note’ (1920) on the novel discloses that the story is ‘suggested and centred around the absurd cruelty of the Greenwich Park explosion’.11 Moreover, Norman Sherry has exposed how Conrad’s description of events in The Secret Agent draws directly from many of the journalistic accounts.12 Despite Conrad’s protestations, then, the novel undoubtedly makes use of the Greenwich Outrage. As a result, Conrad creatively manipulates real-life events for emotional and narrative effect, just like contemporary journalistic accounts.13 In a way that mimicked the newspaper responses at the time, Conrad delivered the novel to the ‘public gaze’14 in a fictionalized, highly visual way. But beyond this, Conrad’s novel also relies on visual technologies – the snapshot camera and the many technologies which facilitated moving picture studies and demonstrations – for the purpose of plot progression, and for his narrative styles. As I will go on to show, Conrad makes it clear that photography as a medium accommodates both the disruptive mechanicalness of the snapshot and the use of moving images intermixed with free indirect discourse narrative style. Fundamentally, photography and the image are used to particular dramatic effect, demonstrating photography’s versatility as a medium and its interconnectedness to writing. The Secret Agent was published in 1907 but set in 1886.15 In the place of Bourdin, Adolf Verloc is the revolutionary at the heart of the bomb plot. However, it is not


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Figure 5  Holland Trincham’s illustration for ‘Anarchist Conspirators in London’, Illustrated London News, 24 February 1894, issue 2862, p. 228. Reproduced with permission from Mary Evans Picture Library (reproduced by Special Collections, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds).

Modernity, Mass Media and Moving Pictures


Verloc who is blown to pieces. In the novel, Mr Verloc, a reluctant father-figure to his simple brother-in-law Stevie, recruits the latter in his mission to blow up the meridian (26). This mission, given by Mr Vladimir, a new first secretary of a foreign embassy in London,16 is intended to break Verloc’s long period of anarchist inactivity. Verloc provides Stevie with a bomb inside a tin of paint, which accidentally explodes as Stevie trips over a tree stump, killing himself and failing the mission. Stevie’s death is described as ‘instantaneous’ (65), which, repeated throughout the novel, juxtaposes the immediacy of the death with the unfolding narrative. Bourdin, the Illustrated London News reports, was not killed immediately by the blast,17 demonstrating that this is Conrad’s own addition to the narrative. The instant of Stevie’s death, while at the centre of the novel, is never recounted by the narrator. Instead the reader must learn gradually not only of the terrorist attack but also of the identity of the deceased.18 The novel has only one reference to photographs, and one to a camera, but Conrad’s debt to the new visual medium is pervasive: it is both literally and figuratively the bomb. Verloc’s anarchist friend, the Professor, wears a bomb which operates on the mechanism of a camera shutter. It is later implied that the Professor is responsible for the bomb which ultimately killed Stevie. The explosion fractures the chronological narrative of The Secret Agent, allowing Verloc not only to blow up the Meridian figuratively – to disrupt the consecutive, systematic flow of time which Greenwich Mean Time implied – but also to enable photography to disrupt the chronological flow of the narrative. In short, the disruption of the camera bomb facilitates Conrad’s literary impressionism. Adam Parkes has argued that literary impressionism was a mode of ‘the upmost temporal flexibility’, which, while deeply visual and vitally indebted to photography, offered impressions of ‘moments’ before the technology of the snapshot.19 Conrad’s narrative style conveys the sense of temporal moments – almost snapshots – run together to form one long narrative. In his biography of Conrad, Ford Madox Ford recounts the development of the pair’s collaborative literary style. Ford describes a narrative mode which moves forwards and backwards in time, building on individual impressions. He writes: For it became very early evident to us that what was the matter with the Novel, and the British novel in particular, was that it went straight forward, whereas in your gradual making acquaintanceship with your fellows you never do go straight forward. You meet an English gentleman at your golf club. He is beefy, full of health, the moral of the boy from an English Public School of the finest type. You discover, gradually, that he is hopelessly neurasthenic, dishonest in matters of small change, but unexpectedly self-sacrificing, a dreadful liar, but a most painfully careful student of lepidoptera and, finally, from the public prints, a bigamist who was once, under another name, hammered on the Stock Exchange. ... Still, there he is, the beefy, full-fed fellow, moral of an English Public School product. To get such a man in fiction you could not begin at his beginning and work his life chronologically to the end. You must first get him in with a strong impression, and then work backwards and forwards over his past. ... That theory at least we gradually evolved. (my emphasis)20


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Ford suggests here that the standard narrative progression of the novel is chronological, but that his and Conrad’s aim was to develop something more realistic, more impressionistic. Ford’s use of verbs in the present tense to describe the fictional encounter with this new man – ‘you meet’, ‘you discover’, ‘you get’ – along with temporal adverbs that qualify the verbs (‘gradually’, for example) demonstrates that literary impressionism always happens in the present moment, which is gradually pieced together in a coherent narrative. Cultivating the ‘strong impression’ of a character in real life involves a complex play between developing a narrative understanding of their identity and the fixed moment of acquaintance. By piecing together these impressions, each one is placed in relation to another. For example, this fictional acquaintance is made up of individual discrete impressions – that he is a liar, that he studies lepidoptera – which combine together to create a sort of syntax. This recalls Barthes’s theorization on the connoted message of the photograph, in which he claims secondary meaning might be applied to an image through its syntax, or context.21 What you learn of your acquaintance is then put in contrast with that which you already know, to create this overall impression of him. In this way, Ford appears to be suggesting that in real life the composition of multiple personal impressions from different temporal locations are run together to form a full characterization of a person, something which the novel as yet cannot do. Yet Conrad mimics photography and moving picture images in this way in an attempt to textually render this achronological narrative style. Even so, there are only two overt and direct references to the photographic process in The Secret Agent. The novel opens on the window of Verloc’s shop, in which features ‘photographs of more or less undressed dancing girls; nondescript packages in wrappers like patent medicines; closed yellow paper envelopes, very flimsy, and marked two-andsix in heavy black figures’ (3). In his notes, John Lyon suggests that the product in the yellow envelopes is most likely condoms, since prophylactics and pornography were often jointly disapproved of on moral and religious grounds (234).22 Ostensibly there is no need to buy the two together, but there is the suggestion that both pornography and protected sex form part of a wider lifestyle choice: both masturbation and protected sex are non-reproductive. In this way, the photographs relocate the emphasis of arousal from ‘reproductive futurism’ to here-and-now sexual gratification.23 In other words, these items are connected to the now not the future. There is the suggestion that to look at these images is to seek sexual arousal; they serve an immediate purpose, excised from any potential narrative. The second direct mention of photography, or rather, of the camera specifically, draws attention both to the scopophilic nature of photography and the brevity of the moment of photographic capturing. The anarchist and bomb-maker, the Professor, reveals his pseudo-photographic bomb in a sort of indecent exposure. In a discussion with Ossipon, a former medical student who now writes radical political pamphlets, he describes his new detonating mechanism: ‘I walk always with my right hand closed round the india-rubber ball which I have in my trouser pocket. The pressing of this ball actuates a detonator inside the flask I carry in my pocket. It’s the principle of the pneumatic instantaneous shutter for a camera lens. The tube leads up—’

Modernity, Mass Media and Moving Pictures


With a swift disclosing gesture he gave Ossipon a glimpse of an india-rubber tube, resembling a slender brown worm, issuing from the armhole of his waistcoat and plunging into the inner breast pocket of his jacket. His clothes, of a nondescript brown mixture, were threadbare and marked with stains, dusty in the folds, with ragged button-holes. ‘The detonator is partly mechanical, partly chemical,’ he explained, with casual condescension. (49–50)

The word ‘nondescript’ appears in both the description of the Professor’s bomb and the erotic ephemera in Verloc’s window, connecting these two moments across the novel. The Professor ‘swift[ly]’ discloses his photographic detonator as if flashing himself. The flaccid rubber tubing runs from the ball inside his trouser pocket, which he fondles in an almost masturbatory way. Just as the detonation device operates instantaneously, the actual sight of the contraption is glanced only for a moment: a flash, Ossipon receives a glimpse of the device, and the brown, worm-like tubing appears to issue from the armhole and plunge into the breast pocket as if avoiding detection.24 Thus, the connection between the Professor’s indecent exposure of his phallic rubber tube and the photographic apparatus of which it forms a larger part reinforces the sense of seediness attached to photography. At once the Professor offers a glimpse both of his mechanism and his clothes made of a ‘nondescript brown mixture, … threadbare and marked with stains, dusty in the folds, with ragged button-holes’. Indeed, it is the connection between the mechanism and the Professor’s body which is of most concern. While the Professor phrases his description of the detonation in a way that suggests he is in complete control, in fact the time between pressing the indiarubber ball and the explosion is what terrifies Ossipon the most: ‘It is instantaneous, of course?’ murmured Ossipon, with a slight shudder. ‘Far from it,’ confessed the other, with a reluctance which seemed to twist his mouth dolorously. ‘A full twenty seconds must elapse from the moment I press the ball till the explosion takes place.’ ‘Phew!’ whistled Ossipon, completely appalled. ‘Twenty seconds! Horrors! You mean to say that you could face that? I should go crazy—’ (50)

Echoing the horrors of Kurtz’s dying phrase in Heart of Darkness,25 Ossipon suggests that the ‘horror’ of waiting, even twenty seconds, should make a person go crazy. The violence of the bomb also mirrors the speed and violence of the camera flash. India-rubber tubing was often used to set up multiple flashes to capture an image,26 but as Kate Flint has noted extensively, the emergence of the flash transformed not only photography but also how we understand the world around us and the passage of time. The 1910s were the earliest point at which the flash might be considered instantaneous, or faster than a subject might blink.27 This gives credence to the Professor’s claim that his bomb, created at the end of the nineteenth century, is fast but not instantaneous. Furthermore, the pursuit of perfecting flash technology to increase its speed led to increasing violence and destruction: both the magnesium flash gun and the production of magnesium in factories were responsible for deaths.28 The violence of this photographic detonation, alongside the protracted and drawn-out flashbulb


Writing, Authorship and Photography

moment, mirrors the sense of anticipation the reader experiences throughout the novel waiting for the victim of the bomb to be revealed. Although it is frequently recounted throughout the novel that the bomber’s death was ‘instantaneous’ (65), the moment of detonation is at once drawn out and compressed. Without seeing the explosion at the centre of the novel, the Professor’s description of this camera-like explosion becomes a substitute for it, performing the act of detonation. Beyond the mechanical connection between the camera and the bomb, the photograph likewise compresses and expands time in a deathly way. Photography prolongs moments by capturing them. Christian Metz claims that ‘the snapshot, like death, is an instantaneous abduction of the object out of the world into another world, into another kind of time’.29 In other words, the snapshot captures in an instant but the resulting photograph lasts an eternity, just like death. This echoes an earlier comment by Maurice Merleau-Ponty in L’Œil et L’Esprit (1960). He writes that photography keeps open instants which would have been thrust closed by the passage of time.30 Like Metz he is commenting on the longevity of the photographic image. However, he then continues by saying that painting does not seek to identify movements in time, such as those of a horse, unlike photography. Referencing the work enacted by chonrophotographers, who aimed to capture the minutiae of human and animal movement, Merleau-Ponty connects the temporality of the photograph not with the length of time it exists but how short the exposure length is and consequently how fast the flash is. Chronophotographers were not interested in capturing the image of movement like cinematographers – who wanted continuous footage in the form of a film – but in capturing movement split into infinitesimal segments that could not be perceived by the eye. In effect chronophotographers opened out the temporality of the images’ capture by shortening the exposure time. This double temporality of photography is revealed here in the Professor’s detonator: while the ‘exposure’, or detonation, length is comparatively short, it opens out that moment into eternity. This reveals the peculiar way in which photography elongated ever smaller moments of time. As the exposure length for photography became shorter and shorter, it was never quite short enough. The speed at which something could be captured became a significant issue for chronophotographers like Étienne Jules-Marey and Eadweard Muybridge. Their studies of movement involved capturing ever smaller moments of time in order to exhibit human and animal locomotion that could not be seen by the naked eye. In fact, similar to the Professor’s detonator mechanism, when Marey began taking photographs of horses he attached india-rubber balls to the horse’s feet so that they would act as the trigger for the camera depending on the type of the horse’s gait.31 But opening up animal locomotion to increasingly smaller units of time in fact made it easier to run the images together, usually through optical toys such as the zoetrope or Edison’s kinetoscope. In this way, fragmented images of time – reducedexposure photographs – could be put together to form a larger narrative. Such technologies led to the development of early cinema, demonstrating the extent to which moving pictures are a succession of small, often imperceptible photographic images which run together to form a cohesive structure. Marta Braun writes that it was ‘the immense popularity of optical toys like the zoetrope, and other forms of

Modernity, Mass Media and Moving Pictures


diversion and edification like the magic lantern show, the music hall, and the popular press’ that conditioned acceptance of the earliest films. She adds that ‘early cinema [was] wholeheartedly adapted from these entertainments’.32 However, the narrative construction of successive chronophotographs demonstrates their correlation to Conrad’s (and Ford’s) literary impressionism. For example, Muybridge would often arrange his photographs in a different order to that in which they were taken, or with frames missing, while claiming also their chronological succession.33 By creatively reordering the images the viewer naturally assumes that the images tell a particular narrative. Thus, when Conrad arranges the novel achronologically around the invisible instant of Stevie’s death, the reader is led to believe, or to infer, that Verloc has been killed, withholding the moment of revelation from the reader until Winnie discovers the truth from Chief Inspector Heat in chapter IX. As a narrative composed of impressionistic snapshots, Conrad places each moment alongside one another to mislead the reader. However, part of the effect of optical toys (like those which used chronophotographs) was the speed at which each individual frame, or photograph, appeared on screen. Gunning notes that it is infrequently emphasized that early Lumière films began as a still image and were gradually sped up,34 demonstrating their root in singular photographic images and recalling the hand crank which allowed the speed of the films to be increased. Some projectionists even altered the speed of serious films for comic effect.35 The tone of the narrative and its content is determined by its continuity and its speed. Conrad expressed some distrust in cinema’s blind obedience to time, arguing adamantly with John Quinn36 that he was ‘not going to run [his] life like a cinema-film regardless of anything but time’.37 But Conrad also embraced what early cinema had to offer. By the 1920s, he had undoubtedly seen films,38 and even as early as 1915, he and Ford Madox Ford signed away ‘moving picture rights’ to their novel Romance.39 But Conrad’s criticism of cinema’s relationship with time was not a commentary on cinema itself, but cinema which thinks only of time. Essentially, the appeal of film to Conrad is the effect of running images together, as per his literary impressionism, while also retaining the singular event of each individual snapshot, even if this presents a narrative out of sync with chronological time. At so many moments, Conrad slows down scenic motion to indicate the inner thoughts of his characters, demonstrating at once his reliance on the cinematic mode of ‘moving pictures’ that reveal a part of the narrative, and his determination to prove the literary artist’s superior skill. In fact, this effect of running multiple tableaux together for cinematic effect is an intrinsic part of his writing style. He claimed: It’s the static quality of a grouping that disconcerts my imagination. When writing I visualise the successive scenes as always in motion – a flow of closely linked effects; so that when I attempt to arrest them in my mind at any given moment the first thought is always: that’s no good!40

Once these scenes in motion are stopped, frame by frame, he no longer finds them appealing. In fact, stopping upon these successive scenes is in many ways anathema to the photographic speed of modernity. As Louise Hornby rightfully attests, the fixity


Writing, Authorship and Photography

and stillness of the photographic image ran contrary to modernist epistemologies of motion.41 In the novel, Conrad does not stop on the individual frame of Stevie’s death, the moment of the photographic explosion, but passes over the ‘successive scenes’ in motion. For him, the ‘flow of closely linked effects’ are the aftershocks which ripple throughout the rest of the novel. Mimicking the Lumière films’ gradually speeding up, The Secret Agent takes its momentum from the explosion at the heart of the novel. From this point onwards, Conrad deliberately manipulates time through his writing in order to delay the revelation of the bomb victim’s identity precisely by speeding it up, skipping over scenes. This is mirrored in Ford Madox Ford’s claim that that he and Conrad agreed, when writing a novel, not to focus on chronology but on a progression d’effet, a term Ford used to describe how ‘every word set on paper must carry the story forward and, that as the story progressed, the story must be carried forward faster and faster and with more and more intensity’.42 The novel progresses – moves forward – but with increasing speed and intensity, just like the hand-cranked moving pictures projectionists exploited. As a result, the reader sees the effects of Stevie’s death become bigger and bigger, moving from Verloc’s murder to Winnie’s absconding and, later, suicide. However, this effect works only when one considers how the movement and succession of scenes is only possible in the individual moments of stillness that they are built from. Thus, Conrad’s fiction is constructed as a sort of montage which he continuously edits to achieve scenic motion, each individual image linked in their proximity to one another, rather than by chronology. Paul Kirschner responds to this, arguing that it is Conrad’s ‘unerring choice of the plastic subject for montage’ that tells us that his imagination was ‘more than pictorial; it was literally an imagination of moving pictures’.43 But the phrase ‘moving picture’ shows how Conrad may in fact have been indebted to something other than cinema. Rather, it is merely the collection of individual images or impressions in a narrative structure. This dual meaning of ‘moving pictures’ is articulated further in Conrad’s use of cinematic rhetoric. Conrad wrote the screenplay for ‘Gaspar Ruiz’, which was directly drawn from his short story ‘Gaspar the Strong Man’. Gene M. Moore argues that Conrad’s screenplay notes demonstrate that he had a ‘filmic vocabulary’: as well as viewing his texts as adaptable for the screen, Conrad could break down the narrative of the film into articulate sections.44 He primarily divided the text into ‘shots of dramatic action’, which he called ‘Pictures’, and shots of title screens – intertitles – which in silent cinema told the story or recounted speech, which Conrad calls ‘Screen’.45 Thus, each individual photographic image is interspersed with scenes entirely composed of writing, these intertitles, which likewise enable the progression of the moving picture. In short, Conrad’s conception of moving pictures involves the splicing together of photographic scenes and scenes including writing. Moreover, Moore highlights Conrad’s only explicit direction for camera movement, the marginal suggestion ‘that certain “Pictures” should be taken “Close Up” ’.46 Conrad breaks up his text into easily understood cinematic sections: thus, in order to make his story appear to move, it must be broken into significantly smaller textual moments. In other words, writing can be broken down and reimagined as discrete photographic images, just as The Secret Agent is a montage of snapshots spliced together.

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Yet, despite this moving picture effect upon the structure of The Secret Agent, Conrad still struggled to reconcile cinematographic form and literary art. The Boston Evening Telegraph records him having said: Before the cinematograph was invented, … fiction-writers tried to make moving pictures. This was the first essential of a good story – that it move. The trouble with moving-pictures is that they don’t show, except in a superficial way, what the characters are thinking.47

Here, when he thinks about cinematography he thinks of writing. But the difference between cinema and fiction-writing becomes a process of unveiling the thought processes of the protagonists. He is essentially speaking about free indirect discourse, in which there is room for the narrator both to describe characters and plots and to access the mental processes of his characters. In The Secret Agent, Conrad demonstrates how a moving-picture narrative might appear if there were room to access the thoughts of the characters. He does this through the figure of Winnie Verloc. It is suggested that she only marries Verloc to guarantee a good standard of living for her younger brother Stevie. Both she and her mother give accounts of a butcher’s son who Winnie had loved, and Winnie’s decision to marry Verloc is couched in terms of his financial situation.48 As it is gradually revealed – through a succession of shocks – that her younger brother is the victim of the blast in Greenwich Park, Winnie must come to terms with the fact that her husband is responsible for Stevie’s death. Almost directly after learning the truth, Winnie murders Verloc in her grief and anger, though the moment between hearing the news and her killing her husband is cinematically slowed down as she gazes ‘at the whitewashed wall. A blank wall – perfectly blank’ (180). Engrossed by this gaze, her life flashes in front of her eyes, as though watching projected moving pictures. Conrad once complained that cinema ‘merely affords entertainment for people who enjoy sitting with thought utterly suspended and watching a changing pattern flickering before their eyes’,49 and Winnie’s life review here seems to play out like a set of moving images, while her mind becomes the projectionist of her own life. The scene is described: Mrs Verloc pursued the visions of seven years’ security for Stevie, loyally paid for on her part. … A few seconds only had elapsed since the last word had been uttered aloud in the kitchen, and Mrs Verloc was staring already at the vision of an episode not more than a fortnight old. With eyes whose pupils were extremely dilated she stared at the vision of her husband and poor Stevie walking up Brett Street side by side away from the shop. … And this last vision has such plastic relief, such nearness of form, such fidelity of suggestive detail, that it wrung from Mrs Verloc an anguished and faint murmur, reproducing the supreme illusion of her life, an appalled murmur that died out on her blanched lips. (179, my emphasis)

This ‘exhausting vision’ (178) mirrors the static immovability – almost a trance – required of the viewer of moving pictures, but in addition to this Conrad provides the reader with Winnie’s interior thoughts and emotions. This moment is extended


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too, as Winnie’s seven years with Verloc are condensed into a ‘few seconds’. Time becomes almost elastic. Winnie’s thoughts span pages but relatively little time passes between hearing of Stevie’s death and Verloc’s murder; Winnie’s seven-year marriage to Verloc is condensed into this short (but long) moment. During this time, her mind moves between present realization of reality and past resentment over her marriage. This scene runs together as a collection of visions, but one which reveals what Winnie is thinking, rather than as purely narrative description. Michael Wood has noted that montage is one of the key identifiers of Modernist film. He writes that such organization of cinematic material indicates ‘a syntax which functions chiefly by association and accumulation’.50 This syntax demonstrates how the connection between each successive image is a sort of language. The reader sees Winnie’s memories progressively build up, running together as a language. This accumulation of Winnie’s life choices and decisions – to marry Verloc over the butcher’s boy – and the association between her memories of Stevie and news reports of the bombing imbue this cinematic moment with emotional effect and contribute to the mounting tension which leads her to murder her husband. Once she has killed Verloc, she looks back into the kitchen, the site of the murder, and she sees there ‘no vision of remorse, no sort of ideal conception. She saw there an object. That object was the gallows’ (196). Although ‘no vision of remorse’ suggests that Winnie has moved from the world of projected vignettes, into the mortal terror of real life, Conrad goes on to describe that Winnie has seen ‘illustrative woodcuts’ of the gallows (196), mirroring the ‘plastic relief ’ of her original visual memories. The plasticity of her original visions, which represent her past and current emotions, is transformed into the heavy, engraved woodcuts of her reality. The woodcut is a literal impression on a piece of wood, cut into it. This mirrors the process of lithography, which uses etchings in a smooth surface to perfectly replicate an image. It predates the emergence of photography but became a frequent tool in the reproduction of photographic images for mass media. In this way it is connected intimately with the visual nature writing and with publishing. But most importantly it also carries the markers of Conrad’s writing: it is literally an impression. Thus, Conrad invites the reader to view the many impressions of The Secret Agent as bound together as moving pictures. The final impression of the novel is imported with the same weight as the woodcut. Here Conrad returns to the powerful effect of writing, particularly the press, which featured so heavily in the inspiration for the plot of the novel. After Ossipon leaves Winnie alone on a train, without her money, newspapers report the ‘Suicide of Lady Passenger from a cross-Channel boat’. This Lady Passenger is Winnie, though the newspapers write of the woman’s identity and motive: ‘An impenetrable mystery seems destined to hang for ever over this act of madness or despair’ (224). This phrase is repeated throughout the final chapter as Conrad presents the reader with the final impression of the novel – Winnie’s suicide. The heft of the woodcut impression is evoked by the engraving found on the Lady Passenger’s ring – ‘24th June 1879’ – which is the final and only proof of Winnie’s life, marriage and death (226). The wedding ring and engraving, of no importance alone, become symbolic of Winnie’s death and of the mystery of her identity. These words from

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the press haunt Ossipon, just as journalistic writing on the Greenwich Outrage pursued and informed Conrad. Using distinctly photographic devices Conrad reimagines the incident which was so frequently recounted in contemporary press outlets. Thus, writing, literary impressionism, photography and moving pictures are bound together in the novel, both ekphrastically – since the press and photographs are described within the text – and mimetically in the way Conrad’s prose imitates cinematographic effects in his literary style.


Part Four

Photography, memory, identity: Virginia Woolf ’s prose and family albums



Virginia Woolf: Fact, fiction and photography

The Three Guineas (1938): Photography as truth? ‘Let us see then whether when we look at the same photographs we feel the same things.’1 So addresses Virginia Woolf to her imagined readers in her essay Three Guineas (1938). In doing so, Woolf invites her reader, as well as her implied audience,2 to read photographs to understand the dramatic ways in which personal circumstances affect modes of interpretation. Woolf is not suggesting that understanding of the images comes from knowing what they depict, but that emotional interpretation reveals the truth of photographs. For her, the process of reading these photographs requires the eye, the brain and the nervous system. This ‘system sends its messages in a flash through every past memory and present feeling. When we look at those photographs some fusion takes place within us; however, different the education, the traditions behind us, our sensations are the same; and they are violent.’3 Although Woolf acknowledges the inherent differences between photography’s spectators, for her there is something profoundly unifying in the experience of regarding these images. Not only are past and present brought together in this moment of looking, but each viewer becomes connected in seeing the images. But these are not just any images, these are ‘photographs of dead bodies and ruined houses’.4 Three Guineas is a pacifist polemic, proposing that societal institutions are to blame for war. The ‘photographs of dead bodies and ruined houses’5 are supposed to depict the Spanish Civil War, which had been endlessly reported in the press at the time of the essay’s publication. But rather than reproduce those images of atrocity, Woolf offers instead photographs of royal guards, judges and clergymen.6 In this way, Woolf replaces the images of ‘dead bodies and ruined houses’ with traditional patriarchal icons: to avoid atrocity, she proposes, is to rupture patriarchal modes of governance and to emancipate women culturally and politically. This was an enormous intellectual project for Woolf. As Maggie Humm notes, ‘Beginning in 1931, Woolf collected photographs and newspaper cuttings in her effort to document the different social, economic, and cultural positions of men and women.’ The resulting text, Three Guineas, used photographs in such a way that positioned Woolf in ‘advance of the typical newspaper photographic reproductions of the 1930s in which photographs are subordinate to stories’ and ‘created compelling testimonials about gendered photographic affect’.7


Writing, Authorship and Photography

For Humm and Woolf too photographs are not intrinsically evidentiary but rather accumulate meaning in the immense power of the ‘photographic affect’: the feelings the viewer experiences from the image. While Three Guineas is provocative and actively pursues feelings of disgust, there is something conciliatory in the emotive force of the photographic image. These images of ‘dead bodies and ruined houses’ elicit from her male reader shared feelings of ‘horror and disgust’,8 and it is this shared fraternity of feeling that, on the eve of the Second World War, offers hope that future atrocity might be avoided. Moreover, she claims that these images are ‘pictures of actual facts’,9 demonstrating that regardless of personal difference, and in spite of these images’ erasure from the published text, they can communicate a profound truth through the shared feelings of horror and disgust. In what follows, I want to reflect on how Woolf used photographs in her personal life to generate a ‘photographic affect’. As with the images in Three Guineas, the photographs with which Woolf repeatedly engages are profoundly emotive and testimonial in their emotional response. They also bring together the ‘past memory and present feeling’ of individuals, families and communities. In short, Woolf drew meaning from photographic images not through what they depicted but the ways in which they made her feel. This ‘photographic affect’ is drawn from a variety of systems of meaning for Woolf – familial, personal, social, gendered – and this is reflected in her own writing of and about biography. To understand Woolf ’s thoughts on photography we must necessarily understand how Woolf approached personal narratives and biographical storytelling. Woolf reveals that photography has a similar textual and interpretive capacity as that of the process of writing. Humm suggests that turning to Woolf ’s photograph albums is both a way of ‘recovering such marginal forms’ and also ‘offer crucial representations of gendered memories and identities’.10 This is true, but I want to move away from this Modernist rehabilitation of these albums and instead use the photographs to delve into Woolf ’s structural and formal understanding of her own personal life. In doing this, it is clear to see how the composition of her own personal memories and familial relationships informed her professional life through her understanding of life writing. Colin Dickey acknowledges how literature and photography were entwined for Woolf and argues that, for her, photographs become not only objects of observation and self-perception but also inform a ‘photographic lexicon’.11 Just as in Three Guineas, photographs not only have the testimonial power of narrative, they can also be narrativized: they are devices through which certain stories might be told and through which emotions might be felt.

Photography and life narratives Woolf interrogates and manipulates the relationship between fact and fiction, between life and art, in her biographical writing. In ‘The Art of Biography’ (1939), Woolf interrogated the flexibility of the biographical form, theorizing that biographies can be editorialized, if not fictionalized, to conceal information regarding the true lives of important, deceased, figures. She insisted that this distinctly mid-nineteenth-century

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tactic hid the true reality of someone’s history – that they were cruel or led what could be considered a sinful life12 – and created almost a simulacrum of biography that resembled ‘the wax figures now preserved in Westminster Abbey’.13 For her there is no life or colour to them. While she acknowledges it was also during the nineteenth century that cultural attitudes to biography changed, allowing the biographer greater freedom in what they could portray,14 she seeks instead a more vibrant account of life histories. She asks, ‘Could not biography produce something of the intensity of poetry, something of the excitement of drama, and yet keep also the peculiar virtue that belongs to fact – its suggestive reality, its own proper creativeness?’15 Woolf proposed that biography might in fact need only provide a ‘suggestive reality’, an insinuated reality rather than an explicit one, while retaining ‘its own proper creativeness’. She emphasizes therefore how biography requires fact but can and should also take on the appearance of other written genres. Such ‘facts’ are therefore suggestive and (re) interpreted, stylized and creatively composed. In the same essay, Woolf implicates photography in the writing of biography. As an extension of the problems earlier biographers faced in editorializing or hiding the life or persona of their subject, photography also provides the new biographer with contradictory challenges: Thus the biographer must go ahead of the rest of us, like the miner’s canary; testing the atmosphere, detecting falsity, unreality, and the presence of obsolete conventions. His sense of truth must be alive and on tiptoe. Then again, since we live in an age when a thousand cameras are pointed, or by newspapers, letters, and diaries, at every character from every angle, he must be prepared to admit contradictory versions of the same face. Biography will enlarge its scope by hanging up looking glasses at odd corners. And yet from all this diversity it will bring out, not a riot of confusion, but a richer unity.16

The biographer is still beholden to the concepts of reality; in fact, it is their duty to detect any falsity. However, part of this falsity are the photographic images which present ‘contradictory versions of the same face’. Photographs do not provide simply one narrative of a person’s life or persona, but instead create multiple, which must in turn be narrativized and interpreted by the biographer. This is the photographic affect that Humm describes: the ability to read photographic images not through their demonstration of a particular objective truth but through the profound creative prompt they provide for imagining a life. Certainly, in the biographies Woolf authored photography played the dual role of providing visual fact and illustrating fiction. Her biographies, Orlando: A Biography (1928), Flush: A Biography (1933), and Roger Fry: A Biography (1940) all feature photographs, not as ekphrastic descriptions of such photographs but as real photographic images within the multimedia texts themselves.17 In the case of Fry’s biography, Woolf included several pictures of him, along with his family, friends and his home.18 The purpose of the images was largely illustrative, testifying to the real events and people within Fry’s life. But in her other biographies, Woolf is much more playful about the evidentiary quality of photographs. The photographs included in Woolf ’s


Writing, Authorship and Photography

two other ‘biographies’, Flush and Orlando, are illustrative of fictional or fictionalized lives. Therefore, they cannot, like Fry’s biography, testify to the life of a real person or persona. In Orlando, the eponymous character, who neither ages nor dies, cannot possibly really exist, and yet photographs seemingly provide evidence to the contrary. The character is instead depicted photographically through Woolf ’s images of family, friends and their ancestors,19 using photographs artistically to challenge the idea that photographs are simply factual. Flush, the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s dog of the same name, included a frontispiece photograph not of Flush but of Woolf ’s spaniel, Pinka.20 While these images also testify to a certain indexical reality – they have been composed in real life and are of a real dog – these images are staged or fictionalized. Pinka did exist, Vita Sackville-West and Angelica Bell, who both modelled for Orlando, did exist, but they depict other fictional characters. This demonstrates that Woolf used photography as a malleable medium which could easily be used in both fictional and factual narratives. They are also reminiscent of Woolf ’s great-aunt’s, Julia Margaret Cameron’s, illustrative photographs for Idylls of the King, which used real people to photograph fictional subjects. For Woolf, photographs become the sites of a twoway relationship: photographs can be manipulated to tell a story, but they can also manipulate meaning in how one tells a story of themselves.

Family photographs In fact, Woolf ’s family’s engagement with photography ensured that she inherited a sort of photographic consciousness. Her understanding of photography was also shaped dramatically by the elegiac and memorial qualities of the medium and these qualities were inextricably bound to biography and the histories that could be communicated through familial storytelling. Woolf ’s father, Leslie Stephen, inspired his youngest daughter with a curiosity about photography from a very early age. As a professional biographer – the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography (1885–91) – Stephen carefully cultivated biographical narratives of his family and loved ones in two texts, never intended for publication, which the Stephen family found invaluable. In response to Woolf ’s mother’s death, Leslie Stephen compiled an album of photographs captured between 1856 and 1894. It contained not only images from Stephen’s second marriage to Woolf ’s mother, Julia Stephen, but also images from his first marriage to Harriet Marian (Minny) Thackeray, and other moments in family history. This was the first text; the second was written in 1895, following the death of his second wife. The Mausoleum Book was a memoir which gave an account of his two marriages and offered another, this time written, reflection on his family and their histories. Although Stephen’s memoir was never intended for public consumption, it was eventually published in 1977 and recent critics have returned to the memoir and analysed its content alongside the images from Stephen’s photograph album.21 In doing so, critics not only reveal the shared formal qualities of memoir and photograph album, but they also maintain the shared context of Stephen’s images and prose. The family and its narratives generate these contexts and meanings and therefore need to be deciphered to truly understand how Stephen and Woolf were able to recount such

Virginia Woolf


familial stories. One might feel the same things when looking at a photograph, once the very complex act of looking is decoded. The significant role played by photography in Woolf ’s life is apparent in her prolific output of photographs, as well as in her personal writing documenting her various photographic excursions. Her engagement with photography, while it can at times serve memorial purposes, is much more modern and vivacious compared to both her father’s and great-aunt’s photographic images. In an entry to her journal on 12 February 1897, Woolf ’s playfulness and keenness for photography is immediately exposed. She describes the battle she and ‘Nessa’ had getting the film into their complex new camera: The [Frena] arrived from Becks, in a new box, all rubbed up and beautiful, smelling strongly of Jargonel. We tried shutting Nessa up in the cupboard to put in the films, but there were too many chinks. Then she suggested being covered by her quilt, and everything else that I could lay hands on – She was accordingly, buried in dresses and dressing gowns, till no light could penetrate. Soon she emerged almost stifled having forgotten how to put the film in. I hustled her back into her burrow, however, and she contrived to manage it – We took 2 photographs of S and J on the sands, but the light was bad and I do not know whether they will come out.22

The giddiness with which Woolf describes piling clothes onto Vanessa demonstrates not only the excitement of receiving a new camera but also the shared joy the two sisters gained from photographing together. There is some domestic bliss to the ‘burrow’ she and Vanessa hollow out to set up the camera, and the images they produce are everyday family snapshots. This account is just one of many photographic encounters in Virginia and Vanessa’s lives, but significantly it also reveals their technical proficiency with the camera as well as the enjoyment they receive from it. While it is unclear whether Woolf and Bell shared a camera during their early attempts with photography,23 it is certain that by 1910 both women possessed a camera of their own. In three photographs from Bell’s albums, Woolf is shown with a camera: twice in 1910 and once in either 1918 or 1919.24 The differing types of photographs revealed in Woolf ’s personal writing, as well as in Leonard and Virginia Woolf ’s family albums, the ‘Monk’s House Albums’, show that Virginia was no stranger to the mechanisms of multiple cameras. By the age of fifteen, she was already developing her own negatives,25 and Humm notes it is likely she had some more advanced technical knowledge too.26 It is most probable that she worked with a 3A Kodak until she bought a Zeiss camera in 1931,27 but her journals suggest that her brother Adrian was certainly using a Kodak prior to this, since she gives an account of going with him ‘to buy some plates for his Kodac [sic]’ on 4 May 1897.28 While her shots fall into the category of amateur photography, she was certainly an amateur with remarkable technological knowledge. As a result, she belonged to the second wave of amateurs that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, co-evolving with the emergence of cheap film photography.29 Woolf bonded with her family through the act of photographing, but she also connected with them through photograph-sharing. Woolf felt that a photograph was the ‘best present’ she could think of30 and even decided that her half-sister Stella Duckworth’s wedding present should be ‘a photograph or a picture’.31 She also


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sent photographs to Leonard Woolf before they were married, writing, ‘D’you like this photograph? – rather too noble, I think. Here’s another.’32 As with Woolf ’s use of photographs in Three Guineas, she is at once providing and then supplanting an image in this exchange with Leonard Woolf, here for a much more coy and playful way. Certainly, Woolf grasped the power photographs wielded in the construction of familial and romantic ties. But photographs also seemed to reveal hidden family narratives for her. On 3 January 1922, Woolf wrote to the artist Barbara Bagenal thanking her for her recent photograph of her son: I have just stuck your photograph in my book. Many thanks for sending it. Your son is exactly like his father. But one always annoys people by finding likenesses, so I will say no more. I would send you a photograph in exchange – but mine all got the foggy dew this summer. I don’t know how yours are so good – There is Saxon to the life.33

Woolf has dutifully placed the image in her family album, demonstrating how her photograph albums were not reserved simply for her family or close friends but composed of images that extended beyond Woolf ’s immediate circle. Woolf notes how the photograph itself reveals the family connection, illuminating the visual marks of heredity between Bagenal’s son and his father. But in this letter, and through the comparison Woolf makes between the pair’s photographs, Woolf evokes her own familial photographic likeness. The ‘foggy dew’ of her photographs is reminiscent of the unfocused lens for which her great-aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron, was so famous.34 Marion Dell has written extensively of the ways in which Cameron shaped Woolf ’s artistic and personal development,35 but when turning to Woolf ’s play Freshwater (written 1923, revised and performed in 1935), we can also see that Cameron’s hazy photographic images are part of Woolf ’s artistic inheritance. In the play she gives an account of Cameron’s Bohemian life at Freshwater Bay, in the Isle of Wight. Cameron’s death scene evokes Woolf ’s own foggy photographs, ending with Cameron’s dying wish for her artistic successors: ‘Wait, wait. I have left my camera behind. [She takes it and holds it towards Ellen Terry.] It is my wedding gift, Ellen. Take my lens. I bequeath it to my descendents [sic]. See that it is always slightly out of focus. Farewell! Farewell!’.36 Despite the hyperbole of this biographical vignette, in this scene Woolf bequeaths to herself an artistic inheritance of the foggy lens. Therefore, for Woolf photographs are inextricably connected to family, and are imbued with an artistic haziness inherited from her own ancestor, even as she seems to disavow such connections. But the way in which family photographs were interpreted also relied heavily on how they were presented. Humm has noted that in both Woolf ’s albums and the albums of Vanessa Bell, the sisters’ captions often involved their own names or initials, and give full names to friends, for example, the sisters’ close friend Roger Fry.37 The captions are surely not aides-mémoire, since Woolf and Bell would have immediately recognized their family and close personal friends; nevertheless, both Woolf and Bell leave a lasting inscription of the identities of the portraits. In ‘Visual Autobiography: Photograph Albums of Turn-of-the-Century Midwestern Women’, Marilyn F. Motz considered

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the role captioning played for female compilers of photograph albums between 1880 and 1920: Because photograph albums are intended either for future viewing by their creator serving, in part, as a memory aid – or for viewing by friends and family members who can supply the necessary contextual information, the messages conveyed often are not explicitly presented. Sometimes key information needed for their interpretation is unavailable. Like diaries, photograph albums can use a form of shorthand notation – omitting last names or other references useful to audiences of a later generation – because they were never intended for a larger audience. … The captions written under many photographs help us understand the images, but the meaning of the captions is often ambiguous.38

Despite Motz’s analysis of this phenomenon in the United States,39 the fact that she focuses specifically on women’s acts of autobiography through photograph albums is significant. Kate Flint has noted how popular photography was inextricably tied to women and to the domestic because middle-class women were most likely to have the leisure time required to develop the hobby.40 But more than that, the photograph album both reflects and constitutes the domestic. As Pierre Bourdieu notes, ‘The family photograph is a ritual of the domestic cult in which the family is both subject and object,’41 and this explains why so often photograph albums are unreadable beyond the family unit. The very act of creating and reading photograph albums requires access to the ‘domestic cult’ to understand it. Motz highlights the way in which photograph albums rely on a set of familial codes for their decipherment. However, such codes are not ‘explicitly presented’ and take the form of ‘shorthand notation’. This is undoubtedly what Woolf and Bell are engaging in here. By providing captions above and beyond what would have been required in their own ‘shorthand notation’, Woolf and Bell extend the audience of these albums beyond the immediate family. They are effectively leaving them to their descendants, investing in a version of intergenerational dialogue: ‘They amass their messages to posterity; they hole up; they wait.’42 Evidently, Woolf saw the photographs of family and friends as a mode of personal narrative. The snapshot played an integral role in an individual’s ability to capture everyday life. In contrast to their father, the Stephen children – Virginia, Vanessa, Thoby and Adrian – had a much more modern approach to photography, both in creating photographic images and in displaying them in rich and multivalent photograph albums. The images in Leslie Stephen’s albums are almost always staged, depicting seated or standing subjects leaning on pillars or props,43 clues to the long length of exposure required to make such images. Nancy Martha West writes that ‘before the advent of Kodak, portrait photographs were generally seen as unique, formalized objects whose singularity represented a distinctive moment in the individual’s life’.44 They were unique in both their technological status – plate-produced and not easily replicated – and in their intention; studio photographs originally signalled a sense of gravitas, of precision, that the new Kodak did not. In their singularity, photographic portraits memorialized a fixed moment in time, rather than documented everyday experience. Such is the distinction between Leslie Stephen’s photographs and those


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of Bell and Woolf. While snapshot photography continued to document distinctive moments of a person’s life, the Kodak enabled photograph-taking to a more casual, and occasionally more celebratory, process, rather than a formal documentation of an event.45 Kate Flint notes that as photographic technology improved, and shutter speeds and exposure speeds increased, photography became much more comparable with the process of human memory. She writes that ‘the memory doesn’t normally work like a daguerreotype, or a wet plate left in a camera with an open lens, and nor … would we particularly want it to’.46 Instead, memory mirrors more closely the modern snapshot photograph: both are impressionistic, fragmented, momentary and ephemeral. As a part of the first generation of young women to grow up as part of a photographtaking, cinema-going, culture,47 Vanessa and Virginia Stephen visually experienced the world through the snapshot, rather than the studio photograph. G. Thomas Couser notes the influence the snapshot had on the way people could capture and retell the moments of their everyday lives through photography: In the twentieth century, the development of ever more compact and inexpensive cameras led to the further proliferation of visual images of ordinary people and the generation of relatively spontaneous and informal images (snapshots), whose subjects may not always even be aware of the photographer. As photography became less expensive, photographs began to be used as illustrations in life narratives – whether autobiographical or biographical. (Indeed, the inclusion of photographic illustration is one indication that a narrative is nonfiction.)48

The stress here is on ‘ordinary people’ and ‘informal images’ demonstrating that snapshots were not the posed photographs of the previous generation, where subject and photographer were locked together in a co-dependent relationship of imagemaking. Instead, snapshots offered the opportunity to capture incidental moments of the everyman. Therefore, the rise of popular photography created opportunities to tell stories about new social groups through the snapshot. Unlike Leslie Stephen’s albums, which create biographical narratives from studio portraits, dependent on the photographic technology of the previous generation, the snapshot opened up a new avenue for ‘life narratives’. These ‘life narratives’ might be literal writing, such as biography and memoir illustrated with the spontaneous snapshot images, or the stories constructed by the actual photographs themselves. These spontaneous and informal images are precisely those which Woolf and her siblings encountered and produced during their lives. But the inclusion of such photographs as part of biographies and autobiographies is complicated. While Couser parenthetically remarks that photographs are a classic sign of the text’s status as non-fiction, Woolf ’s photograph albums and writing demonstrate that photographs might easily become fiction, or move away from simply depicting facts or documenting moments. In fact, West argues that ‘snapshooters’ could effectively deny painful memories by simply not documenting them: taking photographs of happy moments they then reconstruct ‘their histories into narratives of “timeless” pleasure and affection … striving to secure a future that will remain untouched by pain’.49 Effectively, the snapshot image allowed personal ‘histories’ to be reconstructed into a ‘narrative’ that elided painful or traumatic memories, and in

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collating snapshot photographs, an individual could reconstruct their personal history to the point of fiction.

Remembrance of things past? Marianne Hirsch reflects on the storytelling capability of amateur photographs when she claims that the snapshot’s ability to immobilize the ‘flow of family life’ allowed the perpetuation of ‘familial myths while seeming merely to record actual moments in family history’.50 Thus, although the snapshot does, to some extent, chronicle domestic life by excising it from its temporal context, its ability to fracture this life into frames creates opportunity for family myth-making. This ‘myth’ is defined as an image the family perpetuates through photographs, which is in contrast to the experience of lived reality.51 Such myth-making can be observed in Woolf ’s photograph albums. Woolf organized her albums in a distinctly non-chronological way, which reflects how photograph albums themselves become sites of memory reconstruction and interpretation. In other words, the ‘myths’ which Woolf ’s photograph albums generate are not beholden to chronology but rather the subjective effects of memory or nostalgia. As Humm notes, despite the fourth Monk’s House album bearing the date 1939, the album opens with a news report from 1938 and is followed by images taken at Lady Ottoline Morrell’s home in 1923.52 This disruption of basic chronological markers demonstrates the snapshot’s ability to disorder any sense of linear memory. So the photographs in Woolf ’s family’s albums interrogate how one might remember, as well as what one might choose to remember, and what one might choose to forget. Lindsay Smith argues something similar about photograph albums more broadly. She notes that they ‘constituted a means of forging remembrance or patterns of recollection out of disparate meaningful fragments in the sense of representations and also as synecdoches, talismans and so on’.53 So the photographs themselves are synecdochic: they are parts which stand in for a whole, visual moments that stand in for whole experiences; they are visual testimonies built on emotional meaning. By arranging her photographs achonrologically, Woolf is creating new narrative meaning for those images. For Woolf, the style and presentation of her family albums communicated her own familial sense of ‘history’ or heritage. As a practiced and trained book binder, and with her skill for, and interest in, scrapbooks,54 Woolf compiled and collated her photographic albums in untraditional ways. Merry M. Pawlowski notes that both Three Guineas and The Years have roots in scrapbooks, with Woolf gradually collecting newspaper cuttings, quotations and photographs, which would later inform her argument in the former. But the photograph albums are a testament to Woolf ’s willingness to create a narrative out of images. Woolf arranged the photographs thematically, cutting her own slits in the paper for mounts and personally binding and embossing the books’ covers. This sensitive handling of the images shows Woolf ’s veneration for photographs, and in building these albums herself, Woolf was able to not only figuratively draw connections between or meanings from familial photographic images but also ensure that her narrative composition of the images


Writing, Authorship and Photography

implied as such. In essence, the snapshot, in its flexibility as a paper format as well as its ease of use and type of photographic capture, afforded the chance to document the banal everyday moments as well as organize such images to tell stories and myths idiosyncratic to Woolf ’s specific family. Family histories were also communicated through the images themselves. In fact, Woolf uses her albums to document the lives of the generation which preceded her. The Monk’s House albums contain photographs of the Woolfs’ respective family members from before either of them were born, and specifically they include images of Virginia’s father’s friends. David Garnett recollected that ‘she was fascinated by the old familiar figures of her childhood, the friends and relatives of her father’s and of her girlhood, some shrivelled by time, some still brightly vigorous, some horribly decaying’.55 The images are not merely documents of Woolf ’s childhood, but they also allow her to reminisce on her own life narrative through the relationships her father forged. This focus on ancestral connections is another way in which photographs form narratives and familial myths. Hirsch suggests that the way in which families share and view photographs is a vital part in the construction of a shared familial and cultural memory. She uses two key phrases to define this: ‘familial looking’, which is ‘a powerful, if slippery and often deceptive, instrument of cultural dialogue and cultural memory’ because it places ‘familial relation within a field of vision’; and the ‘familial gaze’, which includes ‘the conventions and ideologies of family through which they see themselves’.56 The ‘familial look’ is what individuals do when they look at one another or at photographs of family, but the familial gaze is the way in which such acts of looking are coded. Woolf ’s inclusion of traditional photographic images alongside newer snapshot images in her photograph albums shows her playfully contrasting her familial heritage with newer forms of portraiture. In doing so, Woolf puts the images in ‘cultural dialogue’ with one another and encourages a shared familial gaze. Hirsch describes a similar, personal experience, where when she looks through her family’s album’s, she ‘enter[s]‌a network of looks that dictate affiliative feelings, positive or negative feelings of recognition that can span miles and generations. … It is the context of the album that creates the relationship, not necessarily any preexistent sign.’57 Woolf ’s photograph albums, which play with the idea of memory and audience through their use of captioning, also elicit what Hirsch terms ‘postmemory’. Hirsch contends that family photographs often act to invoke memories in those who have not experienced them. Postmemory is, then, a combination of received impressions of heritage and ancestry one might obtain from the processes of familial-looking at domestic portraits.58 It is a means of constructing individual identity based on ancestral experiences somehow conveyed by the photographic image. It is not a memory that the viewer of the photograph has experienced and as such is a sort of prosthetic memory: prosthetic in the sense that it is substitution by the photograph for the original memory.59 Certainly, Annette Kuhn notes that the ‘memory work’ elicited by the family album can never be complete but instead allows memory to peel each new layer of meaning away in search of ‘not ultimate truth, but greater knowledge’.60 This is a sort of photographic affect. In this way memory and

Virginia Woolf


imagination work together symbiotically, emphasizing how ‘remembering appears to demand no necessary witness [and] makes no insistence on the presence of the rememberer at the original scene of the recollected event’.61 Moreover, Hirsch proposes that ‘postmemory characterizes the experience of those who grow up dominated by narratives that preceded their birth’, which is likewise pivotal to how we understand Woolf ’s conception of herself: entirely in relation to her ancestors, looking forwards and backwards simultaneously. We will see this imagined in Woolf ’s fiction in the next chapter, but Woolf ’s narrative effect within her personal engagement with photography elucidates this further. In this way, photographs become synecdochic in Smith’s terms: a way of ‘forging remembrance or patterns of recollection out of disparate meaningful fragments’.62 Thus, Woolf ’s photograph albums contribute to her own sense of postmemory by contrasting images of her lived experience with those of the generations before her. The way she continues to tell her own story through/by photography is dependent on and relational to the stories that have already been told by family photographs before. Woolf uses photographs and albums to understand her own life as well as to understand how we might talk about lives, as in the case of Orlando and Flush. This is in part because photographs themselves are malleable and can be manipulated affectively to forge new memories and create new narrative connections between other images. Though they are testament to some form of ‘reality’ or a that-has-been effect of the photographic image,63 when photographs are viewed in an album they become synecdochic of, even replace, the experiences themselves. This is demonstrated in Woolf ’s use of photographs in Three Guineas, where she invites the reader to view a set of photographs claiming they will create a certain affect, but then substitutes these photographs with others. The claim that viewers should have a shared photographic affect when seeing these images is a provocation, but it is also a construction of meaning. By claiming that all viewers will experience the photographs in the same way enables the reader of Three Guineas to expect these emotions, even where they are not implicit in the image. In other words, these photographs force a kind of paranoid reading, where the meaning goes before the symbol.64 Therefore, the reader is able to retrace the implied meaning of the original photographs onto the new, substituted images, demonstrating that, for Woolf, photographs were never simply what they depicted, but the system of signs to which they belonged. They are symbols which both manipulate and can be manipulated. While photographs, in particular photograph albums, provide Woolf with a sense of familial meaning and identity, it is likewise the case that such communal family gazing and shared familial postmemory can also disenfranchise the viewer of photographs who does not fit with, or cannot fit with, the agreed way in which such images are interpreted. Martha Langford notes how, in its connection with orality, family photography can provide a sense of relief through its shared myth-making: The psychodynamics of orality are reflected in the content and structure of the private photographic album, scripting the halting, serpentine dialogue of its interpretation. In the evanescent flow of visual information, there is comfort in seeing what others are seeing.65


Writing, Authorship and Photography

However, for those who do not participate in these suspended conversations across generations, in the process of familial looking – where viewing the photographs does not make us all feel the same thing – such images become incredibly alienating. In the following chapter, building on the ideas expounded here, I focus on two novels by Woolf that demonstrate the profoundly isolating experience of not connecting with such photographic communities.


Photographic communities: Time, family and tyranny in The Voyage Out (1915) and The Years (1937)

Made possible by context, photographs are more than context: they touch one another and the viewer. They substitute for people. They can be, and even demand to be, handled. When a much-handled photograph has faded, it can be difficult to bring oneself to throw it away. Photographs are part of our community.1 In this quotation, Margaret Olin outlines the way in which the pervasiveness of photography has enabled us to build community in the present by peopling the past with still images. These photographs are as emotionally valuable as the people they represent. It is the physicality of these photographs in particular, especially the lightweight portability of the paper snapshot, that enables viewers to develop a community of such images. But it is exactly because photographs build communities – particularly familial communities – that makes it all the more alienating when an individual cannot engage with, or resists, this photographic community. For Woolf, photographs offer both a sense of community and a sense of estrangement. To her they are both precious and fascinating, but also a method through which she experiences alienation. Using Olin as a starting point, this chapter examines the photographic communities Woolf built, shared and defined herself by, both in her life and in her fiction. How characters in her novels, especially the female characters, experience photographs speaks to the way in which Woolf herself both feared and revered the emotional potency of the photographic image. Nancy Martha West proposes that photographs were a vital part of generating a sense of belonging. She argues that ‘ideological shelterlessness’ is a defining aspect of the condition of modernity that can be reversed by infusing the ‘modern house with the serenity and stability of an idealized past’.2 She imagines this as the decoration of the home with family photographs, as if the present can be peopled by the photographs of the past. Virginia Woolf had the same belief in the image. At 22 Hyde Park Gate, Woolf ’s first home, G. F. Watts’s 1878 portrait of Leslie Stephen had hung in the front drawing room; after Stephen’s death, Vanessa orchestrated the family’s move to 45 Gordon Square, to which the portrait was also relocated. It then finally rested with


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Virginia and Adrian at 29 Fitzroy Square. An earlier painting (1875) by Watts of Julia Stephen hung originally in the main bedroom of 22 Hyde Park Gate, and later in Vanessa Bell’s country house at Charleston. The photographs of Julia Stephen taken by her aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron, were hung in the entrance hall in Gordon Square.3 The portability of photographs not only was testament to technological development but also transformed how photographs could be interpreted. The convenience of the photographic image is what enabled them to be subsumed into everyday life. Jennifer Green-Lewis notes the way in which photographs printed on different media allowed them to be ‘netted into our lives; bought, made, inherited, found’ in different ways.4 In short, the medium in which photographs appeared and how they are assumed within the lives of their keepers generates their meaning. While not all of Woolf ’s family images described here are photographs, they are certainly all in dialogue with photographs by appearing alongside them, and Woolf created and recreated this photographic community by exhibiting these images wherever she lived. For Woolf, photographs are objects that can only be understood as part of a wider system of meaning. For this reason, when engaging in acts of familial looking or in searching for familial likenesses, both Woolf and her characters ascribe personal value to the images. However, photographs, in their materiality, might also be manipulated or relocated, emptied out of meaning when the viewer is unable to access a wider interpretive system. As both an amateur photographer and an inheritor of photographs, Woolf was uniquely placed among her photographic community as both a creator and collector of images. Her characters likewise imagine themselves to be part of familial and social communities given meaning by photographs. Such photographic communities merge the past with the present: the anxieties and aspirations of previous generations are brought to bear on the identities of photograph-gazers in the present. To explore these ideas, this chapter focuses on two texts by Woolf: The Voyage Out (1915), Woolf ’s first published novel, and The Years (1937), the last novel published before Woolf ’s death, which documents the lives and experiences of a family over a period of years beginning in 1880. Each of these novels begin with the death of the central character’s mother and these maternal deaths prefigure the sense of alienation both Woolf and her characters experience when faced with family photographs, especially photographs of mother figures. The ways in which photographs, especially those which invoke the maternal, make and unmake personal meaning is a constant source of anxiety for Woolf. While Woolf rejected traditional senses of belonging (especially class-based belonging, as we can see in her understanding of, and resistance to, the ‘middlebrow’), her entire artistic enterprise was rooted in her personal sense of community, both homosocial and familial. As Jane Garrity notes, despite the general perception of the Bloomsbury group as an ‘intellectual elite’, or a closed circle, they were themselves deeply enmeshed within mass culture of the 1920s, as evidenced in their writing for and featuring in British Vogue.5 Woolf ’s community was not simply her artistic Bloomsbury coterie but also extended into the wider British public. Marion Dell also notes Woolf ’s complicated but largely unspoken reliance upon community belonging. In her book on Woolf ’s artistic and professional connections to her great-aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron, her step-aunt, Anny Thackeray Ritchie, and her mother,

Photographic Communities


Julia Prinsep Stephen, Dell describes how Woolf ‘herself remains ambivalent about her lines of descent, exhibiting both nostalgia for, and affiliation with, her past; but simultaneously trying to reject, suppress and obscure its influence’.6 Woolf ’s engagement with photographs in both The Voyage Out and The Years is evocative of her own such ambivalence, where her anxieties reveal how photographs have become so embedded within modern cultural imaginations that they have contributed to a cultural dependence on the tyranny of heredity that they reinforce. Woolf ’s ambivalence to the very concept of community extends to her later fiction, as Jessica Berman has shown by documenting Woolf ’s struggle to consolidate the figure of the individual within the larger communities (gender, class and nation) to which she belonged. Berman’s work is politically focused, but her reading of Woolf ’s social ideals provides useful insight into her private conception of community. She notes that in modern parlance, the society Woolf imagines ‘would be more cooperative than collective, predicated on the continuing diversity of beings who nonetheless exist together’.7 This is true of the way photographs bind together and break apart communities within Woolf ’s fiction. While photographs, particularly family photographs, enable communal gazing and interpretation, this community is imagined as a cooperative of gazers, working collaboratively and interconnectedly to understand what photographs mean. This means that the isolated individual, who cannot always understand her relation to photographs or does not believe in the power of photography to constitute identity or belonging, might be working interdependently with or against other gazers within this photographic community. In fact, democracy in viewing might in fact eliminate the individual spectator. By bringing disparate critical strands together through the juxtaposition of The Voyage Out and The Years, I attend to the profound talismanic, synecdochic potential of photographs to affect the familial bonds between and within the communities Woolf creates in her fiction. Woolf ’s belonging to larger stylistic and formal communities has been the topic of much critical attention. Maggie Humm’s substantial work on Woolf ’s photographs makes an authoritative case for Woolf ’s photographs to be considered within the modernist tradition. She writes that the photograph albums ‘are crucial artefacts, encapsulating and emblematising Woolf ’s responses to the arts and to her life and friendships’.8 Similarly, Dell has argued for the implicit connection between photographs and autobiography, noting that ‘photographs, especially when compiled in albums, are thus visual auto/biographies, functioning in the construction of identity and the retrieval of memory’.9 For Dell, this is an indication that the photographs Woolf viewed and took signify her tendency to draw on the feminine familial influences that surrounded her. Emily Dalgarno has also noted how Woolf ’s use of vision and visuality is inherently backwards-looking, claiming that the ‘undercurrent of elegy that runs throughout Woolf ’s work is often figured as the compelling power of perspective’.10 If Woolf ’s writing is elegiac, one of the profound ways such elegy is enacted is through the photographic image. Photographs are, for Woolf, this way of looking forwards and backwards at the same time, drawing present meaning from historic familial contexts. This is reflected in Woolf ’s own prose style, as proposed by J. Hillis Miller’s analysis of Woolf ’s narrative in Mrs Dalloway: the present-tense third-person narrative voice always occurs in the past so that the accounts of characters’ past lives become narrated


Writing, Authorship and Photography

within the same temporal moment as the ‘now’ of the narrative moment. This, in turn, demonstrates the pastness of the present.11 This means that photographs become almost spectral: they are opportunities for ancestors to visit and intrude upon the present. The Voyage Out charts the life, social debut and eventual death of Rachel Vinrace, whose cultural upbringing is entrusted to her maternal aunt, Mrs Ambrose, following the death of her mother.12 The novel’s action clusters around two voyages, one to South America and a further river cruise within South America itself.13 Rachel is incredibly inexperienced, and Mrs Helen Ambrose details Rachel’s ‘abominable’ naivety, describing how ‘this girl, though twenty-four, had never heard that men desired women, and, until I explained it, did not know how children were born’ (104–5). Mrs Ambrose takes on the task of educating her, hardly restraining herself from voicing an opinion on Rachel’s father, the Euphrosyne’s Captain, for not schooling her in the ways of men and women (85–6). Upon reaching South America, the pair decide to stay in Mrs Ambrose’s villa, where Rachel is introduced to many different British socialites as she participates in new social events. She becomes engaged to Terence Hewet on a trip up the river but is unable to consummate the engagement because she dies shortly thereafter. Her illness begins harmlessly, with a headache, before progressing to delusions and hallucinations. Rachel’s gradual decline reinforces the sense of dislocation that inhibits Rachel’s ability to develop into any sort of social debutante: she struggles to understand the culture around her, she is physically dislocated from her surroundings through her successive voyages, she is cut off by her illness and she is eventually debarred from life by her death. That the illness which finally kills her also makes her ‘completely cut off, and unable to communicate with the rest of the world’ (384) suggests the way in which she is displaced throughout the novel. But it is Rachel’s engagement with – and dislocation from – photographs within the novel that most clearly illustrates the depth of her isolation. Such displacement and disconnection through photographs reappear in The Years decades later. This novel, the last to be published in Woolf ’s lifetime, charts the interconnected life stories of the Pargiter family. As with The Voyage Out, the novel begins with the death of a mother, though for the Pargiters this takes place within the novel itself rather than preceding it. This death sets the scene for this family saga, which through successive episodes sees generations of the Pargiters grow, develop and die between 1880 and the ‘Present Day’, 1937. In The Years, the past and the present appear simultaneously in the print of this novel and photographs become a significant method of memory and memorializing the Pargiter family, while also enabling characters to move forwards and backwards throughout the timelines of their memories. As a result, time becomes cyclical, in contrast to the time-marked book sections. Eleanor is even stuck repeating herself in conversation with Peggy while claiming that she wishes to move only forwards: ‘I do not want to go back to my past. … I want the present.’14 Photographs reveal how nothing ever really dies in The Years, ensuring that viewers continue to exist within the ‘borderland between life and death for ever’ (21) through acts of familial gazing. Just as with Rachel Vinrace in The Voyage Out, characters in The Years struggle to use photographs as a way of looking backwards through ancestral history, even when people around them do so. This is all the more striking in a novel that is so self-consciously preoccupied with death and memorialization.

Photographic Communities


The emotional potency of photographs is clear in Woolf ’s own memorialization of the dead through the photographic image. Upon receipt of a photograph of her friend Lytton Strachey after his death, Woolf exclaimed how happy she was to receive the image, commenting on ‘how exactly it brings him back’.15 This photograph not only revitalizes Strachey but also brings him into the present, directly into Woolf ’s own photographic community. A similar account of photography’s memorial qualities is provided at the close of The Voyage Out following Rachel’s death. The process of packing to return home enables Evelyn Murgatroyd to remember Rachel through a photograph. However, her remembrance is connected not to what the photograph actually depicts but to Rachel’s direct material engagement with the image. This profoundly moving vignette is a contrast to the apathy other characters, including Terence Hewet, otherwise show about Rachel’s death: She took the photograph of her father and mother, and, before she laid it away in her box, she held it for a minute in her hand. Rachel had looked at it. Suddenly the keen feeling of someone’s personality, which things they have owned or handled sometimes preserves, overcame her; she felt Rachel in the room with her; it was as if she were on a ship at sea, and the life of the day was unreal as the land in the distance. (425)

What Evelyn manages to interpret in the image is not what it ostensibly displays. For Evelyn, the physical sensation of holding the photograph allows her to imagine Rachel’s physical presence in the room, just as Olin describes how the physical existence of photographs allows them to form part of the viewer’s community. As with Woolf ’s description of the Strachey photograph, Evelyn here ‘brings back’ Rachel through her act of interpreting the photograph. Consequently, while photographs act as both talismans of the familial past and a sort of memento mori by depicting the deceased, images might likewise be imbued with meaning through the act of photograph gazing. However, even though both Evelyn’s and Strachey’s photographs bring the dead into the land of the living, Evelyn’s description of intense alienation – ‘as if she were on a ship at sea, and the life of the day was unreal as the land in the distance’ – shows how expecting meaning from images, by performing a sort of paranoid reading, might equally be an act of dislocation.16

Likenesses and the tyranny of the photograph For Woolf, the process of identifying familial likenesses within photographs is one of the ways in which communities can be both forged and divided. In The Voyage Out, Rachel’s debut in British society is occasioned by an apparent reading of familial meaning or intent from a photographic portrait of her deceased mother. On board the Euphrosyne, Helen goes to find her brother-in-law. From their exchange it is clear that the photograph of Rachel’s mother is a vital component in determining Rachel’s path throughout the novel. Helen finds Willoughby sitting at his desk:


Writing, Authorship and Photography

Above him hung a photograph of a woman’s head. The need of sitting absolutely still before a Cockney photographer had given her lips a queer little pucker, and her eyes for the same reason looked as though she thought the whole situation ridiculous. Nevertheless it was the head of an individual and interesting woman, who would no doubt have turned and laughed at Willoughby if she could have caught his eye; but when he looked up at her he sighed profoundly. In his mind this work of his, the great factories at Hull which showed like mountains at night, the ships that crossed the ocean punctually, the schemes for combining this and that and building up a solid mass of industry, was all an offering to her; he laid his success at her feet; and was always thinking how to educate his daughter so that Theresa might be glad. He was a very ambitious man; and although he had not been particularly kind to her while she lived, as Helen thought, he now believed that she watched him from Heaven, and inspired what was good in him. (91)

Woolf ’s narrative voice here reveals how photographic communities are united and alienated. Helen and Willoughby are both communally viewing the image but draw individual conclusions as to its meaning; Woolf ’s free indirect discourse not only unifies the characters by describing them both in the third person but also reveals their thought processes so as to separate and alienate them from each other. Furthermore, Woolf also animates the image’s subject, describing how Rachel’s mother might behave in the room itself, making clear that what the image depicts brings the past into the present. Additionally, the stillness of the photographic subject complicates the sense of time of this portrait. As Louise Hornby has proposed, the concept of photographic stillness was problematic for ‘modernism’s accelerative forces’.17 But this stillness is here evocative of the photograph’s pastness, as it is obviously the product of a starchy studio photographer and not a snap-happy amateur. In this moment of photographviewing, the narrator draws the past into the present by confirming Helen’s earlier suspicions – that ‘she suspected [Willoughby] of nameless atrocities with regard to his daughter, as indeed she had always suspected him of bullying his wife’ (20). As a means of reparation for such atrocities Willoughby feels that it is his duty to ‘educate his daughter so that Theresa might be glad’. This imbues the image with an almost spectral quality, bringing not only his deceased wife into the present but into the conditional future, too. His eventual failure is then anticipated by the omniscient image of Theresa, who threatens to laugh at her husband, if only he would look in the right direction. The figure of the laughing, omniscient mother figure indicates how photographs not only have the potential to determine how her descendants might live but also the joy which such ancestors might have in tyrannizing the present. Theresa’s portrait also deifies the figure of the deceased mother in its omniscience. In Woolf ’s own personal life she describes the same symbolic power of the image, which had the ability to transform the domestic space. At the age of twenty-one she remarked, ‘I have Marny’s [Madge Vaughan’s] photograph on my shelf, like a Madonna to which I pray. She makes my room refined, as lavender in my drawers – (!!).’18 For her, Marny’s image is the Madonna, the ultimate mother-symbol. The image also dramatically alters the experience of the domestic space. Here too Theresa assumes the role of the Madonna, through both her shrine and apparent omniscience, and in

Photographic Communities


doing so transforms the domestic life around her: despite being dead, her image is the source of interpretations which define the course of Rachel’s life within the novel. Woolf found the image of her own mother to be not only symbolic but also oppressive. Julia Stephen was photographed from her childhood and was considered remarkably beautiful. Leslie Stephen described his first encounter with Woolf ’s mother, the then Julia Duckworth in 1866, with more Madonna imagery: ‘I saw and remembered her, as I might have seen and remembered the Sistine Madonna or any other presentation of superlative beauty. Her loveliness thrills me to the core, whenever I call up the vision.’19 As a ‘vision’ of ‘superlative beauty’, comparable to the Sistine Madonna, she seems almost sublime. Julia Stephen is compared to a portrait, just as Rachel’s mother in The Voyage Out is conceived of as a portrait. Julia Stephen was one of the central Pre-Raphaelite beauties who inspired Edward Burne-Jones and his peers. But she was also one of the many sitters her aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron, photographed during her lifetime. As a result, the image of Julia Stephen could be seen in popular public art images, as well as in the domestic portraits kept by Woolf and her family. It is clear to see that the beauty for which her mother was so famed was a cause of alienation for Woolf. At one moment, she describes the beauty her family was so famous for as a sense of familial community: ‘Femininity was very strong in our family. We were famous for our beauty.’20 But at another moment, it is clear to see that this omnipresence of Woolf ’s mother’s beauty dominated Woolf ’s way of thinking about her own body. In Moments of Being (originally published 1972), she recounts a moment of shame standing in front of a mirror at Talland House, aged about six or seven. Even though Woolf describes her ‘tomboy phase’, where she and her sister Vanessa ‘were said not to care for clothes’,21 such mirror gazing facilitated inward-looking criticism. Woolf notes: ‘The looking glass shame has lasted all my life.’22 The acts of photograph gazing and mirror gazing are somewhat reciprocal, where the domination of the mother’s image transforms how Woolf is able to look at herself and understand her personal identity. In other words, acts of familial looking prescribe how Woolf imagines herself. Thus, her mother’s image became a point of simultaneous self-identification and deindividuation for Woolf. It is her mother’s likeness, but Woolf does not see herself sharing said likeness. This creates at once a sense of community while also an alienation from that community. And Woolf makes these same claims more broadly in relation to feminine communities. In A Room of One’s Own (1929), Woolf writes that ‘we think back through our mothers if we are women’,23 connecting herself and other female writers through a matrilineal tradition and highlighting the sense in which women’s ancestors determine their identities in the present. And this predetermined feminine identity becomes something which Woolf attempts to disavow, famously calling for androgyny as a mode of writing.24 Elaine Showalter has suggested that femininity, for Woolf, was not only a physical repression, as with her perpetual distinction between her visual appearance and the sublime beauty of her mother, but also professional. Showalter writes that ‘androgyny was the myth that helped her evade confrontation with her own painful femaleness and enabled her to choke and repress her anger and ambition. Woolf inherited a female tradition a century old.’25 Not only was Woolf inheriting a tradition of beauty, but she also inherits the pressures of a female tradition


Writing, Authorship and Photography

of writing. There is therefore a tension between the individual and the community she occupies. Both talent and shame move across time. In the act of familial looking, Woolf ’s engagement with the various images of her mother jointly defines her personal and professional identities, both positively and negatively, in the same way that Rachel’s identity and future is defined through the familial gaze of her father and her mother’s portrait. In fact, Diane F. Gillespie comments that Woolf was preoccupied with ‘the way photographs tyrannise over the living’,26 as shown by how the photographs and portraits of the real-life Julia Stephen and the fictional Theresa Vinrace define the lives of the living. Gillespie also notes that while the prevailing perception is that photographs present facts (and likenesses), there is a ‘human tendency to distort the past, whether for self-indulgent, sentimental reasons or for prescriptive ones’.27 In other words, what one claims one sees – the authentic resemblance – is in fact influenced by one’s preconceptions, by what one wants to see. Woolf connects the idea of likeness with predetermined, prescriptive meaning. In 1929, William Rothenstein sent her drawings of Leslie and Julia Stephen, to which she replied that she has the ordinary persons [sic] love of a likeness and desire to be reminded by portraits of real people and I have been greatly interested and pleased to find in your pictures a trace of my father and mother. They are more worn and sad than I remembered them; but no doubt this is accounted for by the fact of my father’s illness. I admit that I think, perhaps with the partiality of a daughter, that my mother was more beautiful than you show her; but I am very glad to have these records of them.28

Despite being simply an ‘ordinary’ person, Woolf ’s readings of the images are subjectively affected by the ‘partiality of a daughter’ and her ability to read the images requires her to first overcome how she remembered her mother and father. In this way, Woolf ’s interpretation of the images is informed by and forms a part of her familial connection with her parents. The suggestive meaning of the family image is reflected too in how Willoughby and Helen further read Theresa’s photographic portrait in The Voyage Out. Helen having asked him whether Rachel might stay with her once the ship reached South America, Willoughby lays out his plans for his daughter while Helen muses on the photograph of her late sister: ‘She’s a good girl,’ he said at length. ‘There is a likeness?’ – he nodded his head at the photograph of Theresa and sighed. Helen looked at Theresa pursing up her lips before the Cockney29 photographer. It suggested her in an absurd human way, and she felt an intense desire to share some joke. (92)

It is through likenesses that both Helen and Willoughby seem to animate the photograph. Here Helen personifies the image: it makes her wish to share in the same joke as her deceased sister. However, she does not conflate the image and her sister in quite the same way as Willoughby, who sees the image as a sign of or symbol for Theresa’s ongoing existence in the afterlife. For Helen there is no suggestion of

Photographic Communities


Theresa’s afterlife, nor any idea that her sister somehow lives on through the image. Rather, the image has the ability to incite in her feelings of joy because it ‘suggested her in an absurd human way’. These two different readings of the same photograph demonstrate how regarding photographs does not always elicit the same feelings, but that contextual understanding of the image’s origins can elide the distance between past and present, bringing the photographic subject into the present. For Helen, instead of being directly or indexically linked to Theresa, the portrait is a representation which suggests her: Theresa’s image works both to depict a subject and to insinuate an imagined narrative that shapes its meaning. Theresa’s image is open to interpretation rather than a document of fact, but the meaning that the image provides is determined by how it is interpreted (differently) by Helen and Willoughby. However, in this exchange, Willoughby continues to conflate his wife’s image with what she supposedly would have wanted, implying that the photograph is in some way prescriptive. Rachel’s visit to her aunt, ‘which must be on a business footing, mind’ (93), is grounded in what ‘mother would have wished’ (92). The temporality of these phrases is intriguing. The use of the conditional past tense implies both openness and potential – what would or might have happened – and the fact that it did not. This extension of the conditional past into the infinitive – ‘the kind of woman her mother would have liked her to be’ (93) – implies that the potential ‘to be’ extends directionless through time. While the photograph is therefore a recognition of what has not happened, it still documents a future potential. Yet, the fact that Helen conducts a different reading of the image – the portrait is suggestive of her sister but not really her – reveals that the photograph itself does not include the meaning Willoughby implies. In short, the image does not contain what Theresa would have wanted for her daughter but allows her husband to draw these interpretations from it. Meaning is forged in the moment of looking, not in the image itself.

Privacy invaded, ugliness revealed: Domestic portraits, unlikenesses and dislocation Evidently, familial narratives are not bred solely out of shared likenesses. In fact, the meaning of an image is constructed in relation to a sense of familial community, or even lack thereof. Woolf again reflects on how photographic meaning can be predetermined in c­ hapter 19 of The Voyage Out, in an exchange between Evelyn Murgatroyd and Rachel. After discussing women’s suffrage and sex work, and the value of human life – in both philosophical and banal ways – Evelyn bluntly tells Rachel, ‘It is being human that counts, isn’t it? … Being real’ (290). When Rachel struggles to answer, Evelyn asks a follow-up question: ‘Do you believe in anything?’ (290). Unable to stand the fixed glare of Evelyn, Rachel exclaims that she believes in everything, before going around the room touching different items: ‘I believe in the bed, in the photographs, in the pot, in the balcony, in the sun, in Mrs Flushing,’ she remarked, still speaking restlessly, with something at the back


Writing, Authorship and Photography

of her mind forcing her to say the things that one usually does not say. ‘But I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in Mr Bax, I don’t believe in the hospital nurse. I don’t believe – ’ She took up a photograph and, looking at it, did not finish her sentence. ‘That’s my mother,’ said Evelyn, who remained sitting on the floor binding her knees together with her arms, and watching Rachel curiously. Rachel considered the portrait. ‘Well, I don’t much believe in her,’ she remarked after a time in a low tone of voice. (290–1)

These are the same photographs Evelyn revisits after Rachel’s death and which carry for her a remembrance of her deceased friend. However, Rachel’s dialogue here is dismissive: she believes in photographs, but not the one of Evelyn’s mother. The photograph itself has no meaning for Rachel, even within a larger belief system that includes photographs. This is because Rachel is excluded from the required method of interpretation. As Marilyn F. Motz proposed in her theorising on family albums, when family or friends view photographic images they can often ‘supply the necessary contextual information, [since] the messages conveyed often are not explicitly presented’. In other words, photograph albums use a form of ‘shorthand notation’ which viewers understand from within the family context.30 They exist within a photographic community. This enables different viewers to have similar experiences of an image: all you need is the right code. While the photograph Rachel holds is not a part of Evelyn’s family album, Rachel’s understanding of who the image depicts is limited because she lacks the familial code or ‘shorthand’ required to understand it. Her belief in the image is restricted because she is not a part of the family myth which informs the familial connection between Evelyn and her mother. Rachel here is not a part of the familial gaze. Yet, once Rachel is provided with the necessary context, she is able to interpret Evelyn’s other family portraits in a meaningful way. Upon seeing a photograph of Evelyn’s father in the same frame and ignoring his distinctly masculine features – specifically a ‘heavy black moustache’ – Rachel thinks that ‘there was a decided likeness between him and Evelyn’ (291). This cross-gender intergenerational likeness gestures towards Woolf ’s own anxieties about failing to inherit maternal beauty: here Evelyn is likewise shut out of a distinctly feminine visual inheritance. But more interestingly, the use of the word ‘decided’ here is ambiguous. On the one hand it suggests that the likeness is outright, noticeable and pronounced, but on the other it suggests that the likeness between Evelyn and her father is in some way predetermined. While one might resemble a parent regardless of their gender, it is curious that Rachel here chooses to discount the masculine markers of Evelyn’s father. Rachel is deciding what she believes she sees and eliminating from the image what does not fit with her reading of it. The photograph’s meaning comes not from likeness – in fact, Rachel mentally removes the markers of accuracy by imagining Evelyn’s father without a moustache – but from the interpretive code she has already received in the knowledge that the other portrait depicts Evelyn’s mother. In fact, the resemblance or likeness between Evelyn and her father is ‘decided’ – in its dual sense as both ‘predetermined’ and clear or certain – in the interpretation of the image, rather than in the image itself.

Photographic Communities


The necessity of a gesture or code to read across inter-gender familial likenesses is seen again in The Years. Similar to this exchange between Rachel and Evelyn, in this scene the reader is transported to a moment between Sam Robson and Kitty in which photographs form part of the domestic space: But here Sam, who stood in the background fiddling with his watch-chain, stepped forward and indicated with his stubby forefinger the picture of an old woman looking rather over life size in the photographer’s chair. ‘My mother,’ he said and stopped. He gave a queer little chuckle. ‘Your mother?’ Kitty repeated, stooping to look. The unwieldy old lady, posed in all the stiffness of her best clothes, was plain in the extreme. And yet Kitty felt that admiration was expected. ‘You’re very like her, Mr Robson,’ was all she could find to say. Indeed they had something of the same sturdy look; the same piercing eyes; and they were both very plain. He gave an odd little chuckle. (70)

Again, as with Evelyn, Sam hopes to demonstrate the connection between himself and the image by gesturing to it and explaining who it depicts. This then allows Kitty to understand that ‘admiration was expected’ and therefore to read the image in a defined way. This expectation of admiration highlights the tyrannical way in which photographs demand meaning from their viewers. In fact, it is this expectation of admiration that allows her to go further and claim the likenesses between Sam and his mother. As with Rachel and the image of Rachel’s father, the comparison between Sam and his mother is made once more across gender boundaries. Martha Langford has noted how photographs enable an intergenerational dialogue which she describes as ‘suspended conversations’,31 an almost spectral community that speaks to the present. Cross-gendered familial likeness is repeated once more in this scene, following on from Kitty’s attention to Sam’s mother’s portrait. Sam Robson goes on to suggest that he and his own siblings are ‘not a patch on her though’, making another intergenerational comparison. His daughter then joins them, at which point he says, ‘Not a patch on her,’ while pinching his daughter’s, Nell’s, shoulder. The implication here is that both his daughter and mother set unreachable standards with which his own generation cannot compete, and these unreachable standards are read through the photographic portrait. It is the image of the ‘[Nell’s] father’s hand on her shoulder under the portrait of her grandmother’ that induces in Kitty ‘a sudden rush of self-pity’ (70). Not only is the cross-generational reading of these familial likenesses affecting the family through which it finds meaning (the Robsons) but it also elicits in Kitty a profound moment of self-reflection. Photographs enact an idealization, especially in their memorialization of the matriarch. It is in fact the meaning-making between person and photographic image that generates her own feeling and thinking about her own personal identity, just as Woolf ’s familial looking – and the universal admiration of her mother’s beauty – created in her a profound sense of personal bodily shame. In this way, it is clear that photographs are conduits through which powerful senses of belonging are communicated, or even prescribed. This is precisely what makes a lack of likeness, or a resistance to the ideals proposed in the photographic image, so deeply alienating.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

In searching for meaning in familial photographic images, there is the potential for alienation through the act of misreading. Writing about how he has often mistaken photographs of his uncle and grandmother for images of himself and his own mother, Roland Barthes posits that likenesses often lead to misunderstandings in interpretation: But more insidious, more penetrating than likeness: the Photograph sometimes makes appear what we never see in a real face (or in a face reflected in a mirror): a genetic feature, the fragment of oneself or of a relative, which comes from some ancestor. In a certain photograph, I have my father’s sister’s ‘look.’ The Photograph gives a little truth, on condition that it parcels out the body. But this truth is not that of the individual, who remains irreducible; it is the truth of lineage.32

The photograph reveals familial connection through visual resemblance. But this resemblance is reduced to a ‘look’, an indicator of lineage rather than a depiction of that person’s individual identity. Both photograph and person retain these ancestral traces. Barthes here anticipates Hirsch’s idea of familial looking, which draws meaning from the connections between family images – such as visual heredity – rather than from the images themselves. This ‘look’ becomes a synecdoche for resemblance itself. However, Barthes highlights how by enacting an interpretation of photographs through likenesses the viewer misses something fundamental. He describes how his recognition of his mother’s face in photographs, ‘a certain relation of nose and forehead, the movement of her arms, her hands’, meant that he fundamentally ‘missed her being, and that therefore … missed her altogether’.33 Like Hirsch contends, the family myths proposed through the biographical reading of portraits are at odds with experiences of real life, and the viewer’s experience of the image is dislocated from their real experience of the subject, their being. Thus, in the act of creating meaning in photographs, as both Hirsch and Barthes propose, the resulting interpretations threaten to be divorced from real-life experiences of the referent. Images can, in their interpretation, be recontextualized and even made foreign to the viewer. From another perspective, since photographs can be used so creatively to construct and inform personal identity, and since photographs can also seem foreign when viewed outside the familial photographic community, in new contexts images themselves become problematic objects of interpretation. In fact, Woolf ’s response to her private photographic portraits being used publicly demonstrates how her identity was forged within the domestic space, rather than in the professional world of celebrity authorship. On 16 September 1932, she writes in her diary: Wishart is publishing L[eonard]’s snap shot [sic] of me instead of the Lenare34 photograph & I feel that my privacy is invaded; my legs show; & I am revealed to the world (1,000 at most) as a plain dowdy old woman. How odd! I never gave the matter a thought till this morning. I sent the photographs off with some compunction at being too late. Now I’m all of a quiver – can’t read or write; & can, rightly, expect little sympathy from L. … The complex is: privacy invaded, ugliness revealed.35

Photographic Communities


The content of the photograph here is irrelevant. Rather, it is the feelings Woolf has about how her body as depicted by the photograph that might be transformed through the act of publication. This hyperbolic response to the use of her private photograph depicts Woolf ’s fear regarding the misappropriation or misreading of such an image. Twice Woolf reinforces the idea that this is a private snapshot, yet she also acknowledges that she is responsible for sending it. It is as if once the photograph is in the public domain, the system of signs which bolster Woolf ’s personal and private identity become ‘revealed’. This movement between different photographic communities – the public and the private – is a source of great anxiety for Woolf. Given her iconic status throughout the mid-twentieth century and beyond, including her increasing iconicity, which saw the production of Virginia Woolf merchandise and T-shirts into the 1970s,36 Woolf ’s fears about the misappropriation of her image within the public community are largely well-founded. But the distinction between private and public images is so clear for Woolf because amateur photographs generate a sense of familial intimacy that is not reproduced in the staged, professionally produced studio print. In John Berger’s words, the private snapshot ‘is preserved so that the photograph lives in an ongoing community’ whereas the ‘public photograph, by contrast, is torn from its context, and becomes a dead object which, exactly because it is dead, lends itself to any arbitrary use’.37 Again, photographs are imagined as a community. Here, Woolf ’s ‘ongoing community’ is the system of images compiled in her Monk’s House albums and shared among her family members. These images correspond with particular modes of familial representation and myths, kept lively and vibrant by their connection with the familial community, and as a result are read within their appropriate context. This community does not include the public. In The Years too, Kitty expresses a similar fear about how photographs might be taken out of context within a much larger, non-familial group of people: ‘How I love that picture of you, Kitty!’ said Mrs Aislabie, looking up at the portrait of Lady Lasswade as a young woman. Her hair had been very red in those days; she was toying with a basket of roses. Fiery but tender, she looked, emerging from a cloud of white muslin. Kitty glanced at it and then turned away. ‘One never likes one’s own picture,’ she said. ‘But it’s the image of you!’ said another lady. ‘Not now,’ said Kitty, laughing off the compliment rather awkwardly. Always after dinner women paid each other compliments about their clothes or their looks, she thought. She did not like being alone with women after dinner; it made her shy. She stood there, upright among them, while footmen went round with trays of coffee. (244)

There is a fluidity between the public and the private for the reader here, as Woolf uses both ‘Kitty’ and ‘Lady Lasswade’ to refer to the same person. This allows the reader to see both the intimate familial name (Kitty) in tension with the public name (Lady Lasswade). Additionally, the disconnect Kitty feels with the image is mirrored in the sense of not belonging amongst this real-life, public community of peers.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

The interruption of the private, familial photographic community into the real-life, homosocial community encourages such shyness and self-consciousness. This merging of different communities in turn renders the photograph and Kitty’s likeness to it in some ways unreadable. She at once looks like and does not look like herself: enough for Mrs Aislabie to see it the image of her, quintessentially Lady Lasswade, but not a likeness that Kitty feels able to endorse. There is a disparity here between the absolute authority Mrs Aislabie believes this image to have and the relative unlikeness that Kitty herself perceives. It is in fact the intrusion of the likeness from the past which makes Kitty shy in the present, and which she connects to her own feelings of disconnect from the people around her. Rather than fostering a sense of community, the image, in its likeness, actually cuts Kitty off from her peers; she is at once ‘alone’ and ‘with women’ after dinner. This demonstrates clearly both the talismanic potential of the photographic image and how it moves across time to affect feeling and sensibility in the present. Certainly, how a person is able to view their own photographic image is a subject that questions the veracity of the image itself. Pierre Bourdieu notes that displaying photographs is inextricably bound in one’s own sense of familial identity. He argues that in order to ‘preserve the fleeting appearances and the individual gestures of a member of the family, one is forced to distinguish between the pictures reserved for family contemplation and those which could be shown to “outsiders” ’.38 These ‘fleeting appearances’ or ‘individual gestures’ are the same as the fragmented ‘looks’ Barthes also saw in familial photographs. Once more the audience frames how photographs might be interpreted.

Sudden snapshots: Tense and unnatural expressions The ephemerality, fragmentary nature of the photograph is reinforced further in the emergence of snapshot photography. Such easily produced, portable photographs could capture any image and share it with any person. The snapshot photograph occupies a particularly important place in Woolf ’s creative mind and this can be seen in her own unstaged, incidental photographs in her albums.39 With the rapidity of the snapshot image, a result of technological advancements in both film and flashbulbs, there was not always opportunity to manage or cultivate the image itself. However, the rapidity of the camera now provided ample opportunity to surprise the subject of a photograph, and to blur the boundary between public and private. In The Voyage Out, photography is used as a simile for the dramatic, if not violent, sudden exposure of human characteristics. Shortly after Rachel’s death, the remaining visitors at Mrs Ambrose’s villa are seated for dinner when a thunderstorm begins outside. Each successive flash of the ensuing lightning lights up their faces, capturing their unphotogenic expressions: The room grew suddenly several degrees darker, for the wind seemed to be driving waves of darkness across the earth. No one attempted to eat for a time, but sat looking out at the garden, with their forks in the air. The flashes now came

Photographic Communities


frequently, lighting up faces as if they were going to be photographed, surprising them in tense and unnatural expressions. (429)

The lightning reveals dramatically what lies beneath the façade and social niceties that continue even after Rachel’s death. As well as impeding their ability to enjoy their meal, the lightning also reveals, in a similar way to Leonard’s snapshot of Woolf, tense and unnatural expressions in their surprise. For Kate Flint, early flash technology is conceptually bound up with the revelatory ‘phenomenon of lightning, which startles, shocks, interrupts the moment’ precisely because flashbulb technology provided access to new and undiscovered photographable moments and scenes.40 As with Thomas Hardy’s fear of infringement on his privacy with the Kodak-wielding public, it is the flash photograph that haunts and unnerves Woolf. Using the photographic flash as a narrative device, Woolf reveals how public façade might be cut through by photography to reveal the ugliness and awkwardness of the subject’s true self. She similarly described her friend Alix Strachey’s photography studio as a place in which ‘a million candles flash in your face, and thus absolute truth is obtained – no sentimental evasions – what they call facing facts’.41 The camera has the ability to reveal, to disclose, ‘facts’ and ‘absolute truth’, but to do so without ‘sentimental evasions’. Here the idea of revelatory photographic fact – the moment of immediate exposure – is in tensions with a closed interpretive loop: the sentimental evasions. The photograph can be both subjective and artistic, interpreted sensitively and sympathetically, but also violent, revelatory and intrusive. Accordingly, even while the cheap, paper snapshot facilitated a culture of family photographs, it also provided the public with accessible images which might be reused or ill-used depending on their desire. In particular, ‘grangerizing’ photographs became a popular hobby in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The craft involved cutting out portraits before pasting them into other books as illustrations; occasionally it involved cutting through the depiction of the subject itself, to perhaps relocate their head or other body parts. Since the snapshot was both a cheap and reproducible commodity of a portrait, later-nineteenth-century photography was better suited to the practice than other art forms. Woolf would later be grangerized herself when, after the publication of Orlando, it became apparent that Woolf and Vita Sackville-West’s friendship was becoming more intimate. Vita’s mother, Lady Sackville, glued a photograph of Woolf ’s head in the flyleaf of her copy of the novel, writing, ‘The awful face of a madwoman … I loathe this woman for having changed my Vita and taken her away from me’.42 In The Voyage Out, Woolf appears to figuratively grangerize Rachel, removing the subject’s image from its system of meaning. She describes a moment of hallucination, which Rachel struggles to distinguish from reality: Terence sat down by the bedside. Rachel’s face was changed. She looked as though she were entirely concentrated on the effort of keeping alive. Her lips were drawn, and her cheeks were sunken and flushed, though without colour. Her eyes were not completely shut, the lower half of the white part showing, not as if she saw, but as if they remained open because she was too much exhausted to close them.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

She opened them completely when he kissed her. But she only saw an old woman slicing a man’s head off with a knife. (395)

Rachel’s face, which once resembled her mother’s in the photograph, is now ‘changed’ and almost cadaverous. While her face remains somehow remarkable, it looks dramatically different from previous descriptions. The minute detail of Rachel’s facial appearance is figuratively severed from the text in the hallucinated act of decapitation, and her illness also enacts this feeling of dislocation. Earlier descriptions of Rachel’s hallucinations reveal how ‘every object in the room, and the bed itself, and her own body with its various limbs and their different sensations were more and more important each day. She was completely cut off, and unable to communicate with the rest of the world, isolated alone with her body’ (384). Rachel’s feeling of being ‘cut off ’ is then linked with this hallucination of the decapitated man, as well as the changing of her face and images of dismemberment. Snapshots in The Years have the same dismembering and dislocating effects. When North visits Sara Pargiter he reflects upon her life and their shared experiences. After noting that she has a smudge on her cheek, North is left to his own thoughts: She left the room without looking in the glass. From which we deduce the fact, he said to himself, as if he were writing a novel, that Miss Sara Pargiter has never attracted the love of men. Or had she? He did not know. These little snapshot pictures of people left much to be desired, these little surface pictures that one made, like a fly crawling over a face, and feeling, here’s the nose, here’s the brow. (300)

This is an intimate but horrifying and humiliating moment. Free indirect discourse again brings the characters together, unified in one narrative voice, only for the characters to once more separate and become disjointed. The disjointedness in this scene comes originally from the smudge on Sara’s face, where she not only originally touches the wrong cheek in an effort to remove it, but she also fails to look in the mirror to adjust it immediately. In doing so, Sara becomes a character seemingly disconnected from her own self-image and body. This sense is reiterated in North’s assessment of her: that in that moment they spend together, he is seeing only a snapshot, a ‘little surface picture’ that appears portioned into body parts and foetid with decay. They are together but apart. Woolf ’s use of indirect discourse, positioning North as a narrator within the text, holds a tension between the external (the scene) and the internal (North’s thoughts), and as a result allows the public and the private to intrude upon one another. The public face of Sara is only a snapshot, partial and decayed, and interrogating the authority of North’s assessment: ‘Or had she?’ Moments earlier in the novel, Woolf has a similar intrusion of the public into the private family home. In this scene, Martin visits Kitty and once again Kitty appears self-conscious alongside her domestic photographs: He was looking round the room. It was crowded; there were little tables with photographs; ornate cabinets with vases of flowers; and panels of yellow brocade let into the walls. She felt that he was criticising the room and herself too.

Photographic Communities


‘I always want to take a knife and scrape it all off,’ she said. But what’s the use, she thought? If she moved a picture, ‘Where’s Uncle Bill on the old cob?’ her husband would say, and back it had to go again. (250)

Kitty’s photographs – or rather those of her husband – form an integral, if not busy, part of the room. They are in fact physical inhabitants that make the room busy. However, for her they seem to also be surface images, inconsequential and lacking in meaning, able to be scraped off like a veneer. What is intriguing here is both that this self-consciousness appears once someone from the public life enters the private, familial, photographic environment, the same as North’s visit to Sara and the party guests’ comments to Kitty briefly beforehand. But Kitty herself appears cut-off from the meaning of these photographs within her own home, though the images are not without meaning for her husband. This once more indicates the sovereignty photographs have within closed, familial circuits, not least because the intrusion of the public world – North, Martin – elicits a self-consciousness or disjointedness from meaning but also because it is clear that such images do have meaning to those who see beyond what the photograph depicts. Once more, Woolf draws attention to how photographs can both make and unmake meaning within familial communities. For Rachel in The Voyage Out, her cultural and familial isolation is emphasized in how photographs do not contribute to a sense of domestic, familial, space. While trying to describe her house at Richmond with her aunts, Rachel’s acuity in remembering this domestic space reveals the lack of emotional attachment with the place as a home: She called up before her eyes a vision of the drawing-room at home; it was a large oblong room, with a square window opening on the garden. Green plush chairs stood against the wall; there was a heavy carved book-case, with glass doors, and a general impression of faded sofa covers, large spaces of pale green, and baskets with pieces of wool-work dropping out of them. Photographs from old Italian masterpieces hung on the walls, and views of Venetian bridges and Swedish waterfalls which members of the family had seen years ago. There were also one or two portraits of fathers and grandmothers, and an engraving from John Stuart Mill, after the picture by Watts.43 It was a room without definite character, being neither typically and openly hideous, nor strenuously artistic, nor really comfortable. Rachel roused herself from the contemplation of this familiar picture. (242–3)

Despite this remembered image serving as a ‘familiar picture’, the drawing room fundamentally is without ‘definite character’. While at first glance Rachel’s memory appears to focus on minute details, they become increasingly indefinite. There is a ‘general impression of faded sofa covers’, and the ‘photographs from old Italian masterpieces’ appear not only without artists but also without names or definite articles. The word ‘from’, rather than ‘by’, also suggests their derivativeness or lack of uniqueness, and that photographs ‘take away’ something from the originals. Unlike Evelyn’s photographs, where likenesses are almost predetermined, Rachel’s relationship with her own family photographs is hazy. In contrast to Woolf ’s own photograph albums, there is no accuracy in captioning the portraits: instead of proper


Writing, Authorship and Photography

names, the subjects of the images are reduced simply to ‘fathers and grandmothers’. They are symbols of an unspecified and emotionless ancestry. Rachel does not draw any emotional meaning from such images but simply recalls the images’ existences. This is in direct contrast to Mrs Chailey, the hired help of the Vinraces, who populates her room on board the Euphrosyne with ‘a multitude of tiny photographs, representing downright workmen in their Sunday best, and women holding white babies’, as well as ‘one portrait in a gilt frame’, a picture of Theresa Vinrace (26). The specificity of what these photographs contains is the diametric opposite of Rachel’s own remembrance of domestic photographs. Furthermore, despite Theresa’s haunting photographic portrait in Willoughby’s office, the text makes no reference to any photographs of her mother owned by Rachel. Instead, such ownership is conferred upon Mrs Chailey, making clear that although family photographs are intensely powerful talismans for communicating ancestral truths, who qualifies as ‘family’ might go beyond true genetic inheritance.

Time, photographic afterlives and remembrance The increasingly rapid and affordable production (and reproduction) of photographs at the turn of the twentieth century plays a significant role in the ubiquity of the photographic image. Woolf was the first generation to inherit photographs of her antecedents, and this ensured that the stories she told – both fictional and nonfictional – used photographs as a locus for interrogating personal identity. But the very nature of photographs, especially regarding their temporality, imbues them with a much more figurative ubiquity, or a sort of haunting. With the exception of the embarrassing portrait photograph of Kitty, the fictional photographs both The Voyage Out and The Years depict are largely of family members who are deceased. In one of the opening vignettes of The Years, Delia goes to the bedside of her dying mother. She takes in a survey of the sickroom, noting the illuminated dressing table, the unused silver bottles and the ‘unreal cleanliness, quiet and order’ (21). In her perception of the room, she also glances at ‘the yellow drawing of her grandfather with the high light on his nose; at the photograph of her Uncle Horace in his uniform; at the lean and twisted figure on the crucifix to the right’ (21). Woolf ’s use of asyndeton compares and condenses the connections between family drawings, family photographs and the icon of the crucifix. In effect, these items bridge both time and memory, and all three subjects are kept alive through their depictions. Such a comparison is clear from Delia’s own thoughts about time and death. She longs for her mother to die in this scene, but she continues to go on ‘existing in this borderland between life and death for ever … soft, decayed but everlasting, lying in the cleft of the pillows, an obstacle, a prevention, an impediment to all life’ (21). The image of the dying Mrs Pargiter becomes enmeshed with the timeless depictions of family members, which in turn are inextricably bound to the immortal vision of the dying Christ figure. Even as Delia attempts to think of happier memories, to ‘whip up some feeling of affection, of pity’ (21), she struggles, confronted with the everlasting death of her own mother. This moment of familial looking, of using the image of the mother in an attempt to elicit positive memories, confirms the extent to which such immortal images, such as photographs, capture a stillness that is haunting,

Photographic Communities


and that far extends beyond the life of the subject of the image. In many ways, this is an unavoidable outcome of access to photography. As Thierry de Duvé notes, ‘Whether of a live or dead person, the portrait is funerary in nature, a monument. Acting as a reminder of times that have died away, it sets up landmarks of the past.’44 So, while photographs provide shortcuts to a familial past, they do so in a way that symbolizes the pastness, the deathlike quality, of such ancestries. In Camera Lucida, Barthes chronicles his search for a photograph of his mother, describing how he struggles to find an image that captures her essence. That is, until he discovers the ‘Winter Garden Photograph’. Ostensibly, the image is a version of his mother he can never have known, having been taken decades before his birth. Even so, he writes that ‘the only one which has given me the splendour of her truth is precisely a lost, remote photograph, one which does not look “like” her, the photograph of a child I never knew’.45 The photograph conveys the image of his mother without her likeness, and without conforming to his memory of her. The words ‘lost’ and ‘remote’ demonstrate the very strangeness of this image even in its familiarity. The familiarity of the image comes not from Barthes’s recognition of his mother as he remembered her but through some form of strangeness that allows Barthes to compose meaning within the image. It is a postmemory, a likeness composed out of the familial gaze that gives meaning to this image. Camera Lucida, much like The Voyage Out and The Years, is a text that documents personal (maternal) loss, familial and personal identity through photography. While both of Woolf ’s novels document the tyranny of the photograph, through which the past and the public is capable of intruding upon the present and the private, Barthes’s account is more hopeful. Significantly, Barthes keeps his Winter Garden Photograph private to the viewer, revealing how enormously poignant photographs can be when their context is known, and how exclusionary it can be – here for the reader of Camera Lucida – when access to meaning is denied.


Coda(k): Professional writing, leisure and class

Class was one of the key constraints upon photography’s increase in popularity throughout the nineteenth century. In The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories (1988), John Tagg highlights the way in which photography reinforced particular privileged ways of seeing, even while seeking to depict subjects more traditionally overlooked by the medium. For Tagg, photography cannot be one homogenous medium because it is instead multiple sets of discrete practices through which other, often disciplinary or institutional, ambitions and purposes are revealed.1 The fact that photography could not be homogenized made the upper- and middleclass claim upon the medium all the more important. Margaret Olin describes how the upper and middle classes also attempted to control the reproduction of photography alongside print, even before newspapers were able to publish photographs in any way, in an attempt to delimit the uses of both media.2 Jennifer Green-Lewis also reflects how ‘perspectives, locations, [and] subjects’ of early photography ‘were undeniably the product of wealth and leisure’, but that later photographic practices relied on a nostalgia for these earlier, selective perspectives and practices.3 This means that photography became its own self-defining medium, with class playing a pivotal role in how it shaped itself: ‘Photography is constructed as it constructs.’4 Therefore, the communities that photography builds are inextricably connected to the composition, culture and class of a very particular stratum of society, one that has access to certain modes of living that are separate to the lives of everyday people. This is in tension with Pierre Bourdieu’s claim that ‘cheap cameras which are easy to use’ create a middlebrow art ‘because the inclination to use them is not the product of training or education’.5 So, how photography, even supposedly amateur photography, was used during this period reveals how the medium was not as democratic as once hoped. One can see this in how amateur photographs documented the leisure time of its subjects. Amateur photography afforded the opportunity to document the locations visited by a supposed mass public. In its newfound portability, the amateur camera could be taken outside of the domestic space, and photographers were encouraged to visually capture their many environments. Kodak played a vital role in incentivizing travel photography. In 1892, Robert E Peary, the American explorer, returned from his recent expedition to the Arctic with over two thousand photographs produced by a Kodak camera. In 1898, Rudyard Kipling journeyed to Africa with a pocket Kodak.6 In


Writing, Authorship and Photography

addition to this, Kodak advertising campaigns and accounts published in the amateur photography magazine Kodakery gave examples of travellers using the camera in lieu of a travel diary.7 Woolf ’s The Voyage Out pays duty to this drive to photograph the unseen world. St John Hirst, Terence Hewet’s companion of sorts, exclaims his frustration at not having brought his camera with them on their river trip with the Flushings. The group, progressing deeper into the South American countryside, encountering local natives and traversing beyond previous colonial explorers, sees new flora and fauna: Rows of brown backs paused for a moment and then leapt with a motion as if they were springing over waves out of sight. For a moment no one of them could believe that they had really seen live animals in the open – a herd of wild deer, and the sight aroused a childlike excitement in them, dissipating their gloom. ‘I’ve never seen anything bigger than a hare!’ Hirst exclaimed with genuine excitement. ‘What an ass I was not to bring my Kodak!’8

Hirst’s frustration at not having brought his Kodak is rooted in the fact that he has not seen such animals before. The fact that these deer are a ‘sight’ that moves ‘out of sight’ suggests the transient nature of this visual moment: if only Hirst had had his Kodak to capture the animal permanently. But while this literary account testifies to the portability and easy use of the Kodak, it also signals the way in which the amateur photographer was still indebted to certain class systems. While photography might now be a tool for leisure and not, for example, scientific discovery or high art, the very concept of leisure was divorced from the ‘mass public’ to which amateur photography might appeal. Nancy Martha West reflects on how leisure and class were bound together even in Kodak advertisements: Leisure locales and activities … pervade early Kodak advertising: parks, tennis courts, fishing streams, campgrounds, sailboats, picnics, beaches, fairs, and automobiles. … Gold-plated adventure, that is. Anyone looking at Kodak’s leisure ads will immediately notice that models always play tennis in designer apparel, that the luggage they carry boasts monograms and Moroccan leather, and that the automobiles they drive are not Model T Fords but Studebakers.9

Although West is here concerned with American leisure culture at the beginning of the twentieth century, as this book shows Kodak was a household name in Britain, too. If Kodak had reached such levels of ubiquity then it had done so by advertising campaigns that appealed to the leisure class and they, much like the privileged first technicians of photography, were drastically different to the working and lower-middle classes. West writes that ‘the kinds of leisure activities depicted in Kodak ads – sailing, automobile touring, travel abroad – could be enjoyed, of course, only by those whose incomes registered far above that of the average middle-class American’.10 What this says about the four authors in this study, then, is that they too belong to a leisure class. And this conspicuous leisure class11 were represented not only in the demographic of amateur camera customers but also in the styles of images they hoped to capture.



As in The Voyage Out, what the photograph will depict – extensive worldly travelling and unseen, exotic animals – codes even amateur photography as a pursuit of the bourgeoisie. Even Pierre Bourdieu himself highlights how this simultaneous amateurbourgeois effect is in a way paradoxical. For example, on the one hand, ‘nothing is more directly opposed to the ordinary image of artistic creation that the activity of the amateur photographer,’ but in a world where everything can be photographed ‘it is still true that, from among the theoretically infinite number of photographs which are technically possible, each group chooses a finite and well-defined range of subjects, genres, and compositions’.12 In short, even though photography might appear to be a radical break in conventions of high art, and amateur photography might in turn be seen as a shift from serious, highly technical photography, ‘everything seems to obey implicit canons’:13 leisure-class photographers will produce images that conform to their upper-middle-class life, and working-class photographers – if they truly exist – can only depict working-class images. Thus, it seems that amateur photography, though clearly a threat to the idea of artistic production in terms of its aims, in its delivery it seems far less radical. The privileged nature of photography’s subject extends into portrait photography too. Despite each of these four author’s focuses on the rise of the amateur and the mass public, in the twenty-first century, the photographs through which we remember these authors remain almost entirely studio-produced. This, along with the implicit upperclass status of even amateur photography, problematizes the professional and social identities of the four authors central to this book. While Woolf might seem somewhat of an exception as a practicing amateur photographer, these images – as Bourdieu could have anticipated – capture the lives of exclusive social groups, groups which Woolf was quick to make clear were not middle-class. The images Woolf is perhaps best remembered by are not amateur images but carefully cultivated professional photographs. As is clear from her fear of exposing her private image to her reading public, Woolf maintained a photographic image of the author that was at once photograph-ready and highly composed: this could not be achieved through amateur images. This is what Conrad and Ford remarked on in The Inheritors, where the author Callan is simultaneously ready for the Kodak-wielder, and constantly performing a highly composed visual appearance. Moreover, this is why Stoker so carefully cultivated the public images of the actors at the Lyceum, and why Hardy felt so affronted by the rogue amateur photographers in his hometown. Despite each of these authors responding to amateur photography, their photographic legacies testify to the highly expensive images which marked the previous generations. This is perhaps because, despite the rise of the author as a professional, rather than elite, trade, both Conrad and Woolf are from largely wealthy backgrounds, and Hardy and Stoker worked hard to differentiate themselves from the upper working classes: Hardy as an architect and Stoker as a legal clerk. Conrad’s portrait as a young child depicts him in the dress of Polish nobility; Woolf, despite her protestation that she had an ‘ordinary persons [sic] love of a likeness’,14 was anything but, having grown up in a world so saturated with expensive family portrait photographs. While they are professional authors who embrace amateur photography (albeit to different extents) they do so alongside the curated, artistic images that come to represent them.


Writing, Authorship and Photography

In fact, the curated photograph portrait of literary authors had become so habitual in this period that Melville is reported as having remarked, ‘The fact is, almost everybody is having his “mug” engraved nowadays; so that this test of distinction is getting to be reversed; and therefore, to see one’s “mug” in a magazine, is presumptive evidence that he’s a nobody.’15 In other words, photography was so commonplace within the world of celebrity, especially literary celebrity, that it was almost banal. Helen Groth has remarked on how celebrity photographs became so commonplace because industrialized production made it easy and cost-effective to produce images of the stars of the day.16 Thus, modern technological advancements in photography had led to its ubiquity, but not its democracy. Authors’ reliance upon the mass public for literary demand fostered a culture which demanded and also reproduced photographic images. This is precisely the paradox at the centre of this book: as authors might be agitated by the nature of mass media, dissemination of texts and photographic images and the role of the amateur, these anxieties were inextricably tied to the very nature of professional authorship between 1880 and 1920.


Introduction: Capturing the image 1 . Evelyn March Phillipps, ‘The New Journalism’, The New Review, 13:5 (1895), 184. 2. Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, ‘Photography’, London Quarterly Review, 8 (April 1857), 442–68, reprinted in Classic Essays on Photography, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven, CT: Leete’s Island Books, 1980), 40. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid., 52. 5. Helmut Gernsheim, A Concise History of Photography, 3rd edn (New York: Dover, [1965] 1986), 55. 6. Jacques Louis Mandé Daguerre, ‘Daguerreotype’, in Helmut Gernsheim and Alison Gernsheim, L. M. J. Daguerre: The History of the Diorama and the Daguerreotype (London: Martin Secker and Warburg, 1956), reprinted in Classic Essays on Photography, 12. 7. Earlier photographic styles continued to underpin amateur photography. There was a resurgence of interest in earlier photographs and photographic styles, such as the exhibition of some of Niépce’s ‘heliographs’, towards the end of the nineteenth century (for a detailed account of this, see further Helmut Gernsheim, ‘The 150th Anniversary of Photography’, History of Photography, 1:1 (January 1977), 6), and art photographer Henry Peach Robinson was appointed as the vice president of the Royal Photographic Society in 1888. 8. Beaumont Newhall, The History of Photography from 1839 to the Present, 5th edn (New York: Museum of Modern Art, [1982] 1988), 129. 9. Kate Flint, Flash!: Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 28. 10. Ibid., 30. 11. Nancy Armstrong, Fiction in the Age of Photography: The Legacy of British Realism (London: Harvard University Press, 1999), 129. 12. From Photography, vol. 15 (1903), p. 438, qtd in Newhall, History of Photography, 129. 13. John Tagg, The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1993), 60. 14. See further, Daniel A. Novak, Realism, Photography, and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Jennifer Green-Lewis, Framing the Victorians: Photography and the Culture of Realism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996); and Armstrong, Fiction in the Age of Photography. 15. Lindsay Smith, The Politics of Focus: Women, Children and Nineteenth-Century Photography (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), 10–11. 16. Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990), 8.



17. Lindsay Smith, Victorian Photography, Painting and Poetry: The Enigma of Visibility in Ruskin, Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 3. 18. As is imagined by Roland Barthes. This ‘death of the author’ places literary meaning in the hands of the reading public, rather than within authorial control. Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’, in Image-Music-Text, trans. Stephen Heath (London: Fontana, 1977), 142–8. 19. Julia Straub, ‘Nineteenth-century Literature and Photography’, in Handbook of Intermediality, vol. 1, ed. Gabriele Rippl (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), 161. 20. Jennifer Green-Lewis, Victorian Photography, Literature, and the Invention of Modern Memory: Already the Past (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), 4. 21. David Cunningham, Andrew Fisher and Sas Mays, ‘Introduction’, in Photography and Literature in the Twentieth Century, ed. David Cunningham, Andrew Fisher and Sas Mays (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2005), 4. 22. François Brunet, Photography and Literature (London: Reaktion Books, 2000), 38. 23. Estelle Jussim, Visual Communication and the Graphic Arts: Photographic Technologies in the Nineteenth Century (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1974), 8. 24. Timothy Sweet, ‘Photography and the Museum of Rome in Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun’, in Photo-Textualities: Reading Photographs and Literature, ed. Marsha Bryant (London: Associated University Press; Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1996), 34. 25. This phrase comes originally from Daniel Boorstin, who described it as the ‘democratic revolutions’ of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which allowed the ‘common people’ to read books in their own languages (Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (New York: Vintage, 1992), 119–20). Brunet uses this phrase in a more nuanced way, and I follow in this tradition. 26. Brunet, Photography and Literature, 149. 27. Owen Clayton, Literature and Photography in Transition, 1850–1915 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 3. 28. Published originally in The Comic Times on 3 November 1855, according to the Library of Congress. In addition, they provide the following information on their website: ‘Dodgson also included it in another scrapbook (family magazine) entitled Mischmasch (1855–62). It was reprinted in the Lewis Carroll Picture Book (1899), pp. 28–32. See also Lewis Carroll Scrapbook (1979), pp. 7–9.’ [sic] Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Washington, DC 20540, http://mem​ory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/h?int​ldl/car​roll​bib:@field(DOCID+@lit(carrol​ l000​051)) (accessed August 2016). My references to the text are taken from Lewis Carroll, ‘Photography Extraordinary’ (1855), in Helmut Gernsheim, Lewis Carroll, Photographer (New York: Chanticleer Press, 1950), reprinted in Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present, ed. Vicki Goldberg (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981). 29. Ibid., 116. 30. Ibid. 31. Roland Barthes, ‘The Photographic Message’, in Image-Music-Text, 16. 32. Many ‘leisure’ pursuits experienced the same schism, especially in those pursuits where increasing professionalization was happening as a result of regulation and tabulation. 33. Miles Orvell, The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity Is American Culture, 1880– 1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 299.



34. The sporting communities in particular, especially in the United States, struggled to maintain a difference between professional and amateur. For more on this, see Wray Vamplew, Pay Up and Play the Game: Professional Sport in Britain 1870–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); J. A. Mangan and James Walvin (eds), Manliness and Morality: Middle-Class Masculinity in Britain and America, 1800–1940 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1991). 35. Grace Seiberling and Carolyn Bloore, Amateurs, Photography, and the Mid-Victorian Imagination (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 108. 36. Ibid., 107. Seiberling and Bloore go into greater detail in their book regarding the three types of the second wave of amateurs (106). 37. See, for instance, Laurel Brake, Print in Transition, 1850–1910: Studies in Media and Book History (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001); Mary Hammond, Reading, Publishing and the Formation of Literary Taste in England: Traditions in Middlebrow Writing, 1880–1930, ed. Kate Macdonald and Christoph Singer (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); and Faith Binckes, Modernism, Magazines, and the British AvantGarde: Reading Rhythm, 1910–1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). 38. Isaac Disraeli, The Calamities and Quarrels of Authors: With Some Inquiries Respecting Their Moral and Literary Characters, and Memoirs for Our Literary History, vol. 1, ed. Benjamin Disraeli (New York: W. J. Widdleton, [1812–13] 1868), 13. 39. For further information on the statistics of those identifying as authors, see Richard Salmon, The Formation of the Victorian Literary Profession (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Salmon writes: The national Census of 1841 grouped authors under the category of ‘Other Educated Persons’, of which only 167 out of 626 individuals declared their main occupation as writing. The 1861 Census was the first to recognize authorship as a distinct professional grouping, or rather cluster of groups that include editors, journalists, artists, actors, and musicians, amounting to some 1,673 individuals, and by the 1880s the number of self-declared authors had risen to 6,111. Only in 1911, though, did the official number of professional authors (13,786) come to exceed Byron’s estimate [in Don Juan]. (6) 40. G. H. Lewes, ‘The Condition of Authors in England, Germany, and France’, Fraser’s Magazine, 35 (March 1847), 288–9. 41. ‘Our views’, Amateur Photographer 1 (13 March 1885), 358, qtd in Seiberling and Bloore, Amateurs, Photography, and the Mid-Victorian Imagination, 113. 42. Peter D. McDonald, British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice, 1880–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 14. 43. Ibid. 44. Thomas Hardy, ‘Candour in English Fiction’, in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice: The Essays, Speeches, and Miscellaneous Prose, ed. Michael Millgate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), 98. 45. Thomas Hardy ‘English Authors and American Publishers’, Athenaeum, 23 (December 1882), 848–9, reprinted in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice, 33–4. 46. Richard D. Altick, The English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public 1800–1900, 2nd edn (Columbus: Ohio State Press, [1957] 1998), 306–7. 47. Altick discusses the attendant issues with measuring literacy historically. He uses both contemporary and modern data to determine whether there was a true increase in literacy rates over time. He specifically connects this to the elementary education system, though this obviously comes with its own limitations: data



collected through this system did not account for those who were not schooled or home schooled. He notes that the ‘provision of cheap books still lagged far behind the spread of literacy’ (286) and that ‘only the existence of a strong spirit of selfeducation in these years justified the belief that even a small proportion of workers and their families would read the sort of books accounted “good” by educated middle-class standards’ (286–7). 48. Pearson had previously worked at Tit-Bits, having won the job through one of the periodical’s contests. Altick, English Common Reader, 363–4. 49. Wilkie Collins, ‘The Unknown Public’, Household Words, 18:439 (21 August 1858), 217–22. 50. Joseph Conrad to Baroness Janina De Brunnow, 2 October 1897, in The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 2, 1898–1902, ed. F. R. Karl and L. Davies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 109. 51. McDonald, British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice, 22–3. 52. Woolf published The Common Reader in 1925 and The Second Common Reader in 1932. Woolf reflected on Conrad in the first edition. Woolf, ‘Joseph Conrad’, in The Common Reader (1925), 1st edn, in The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Volume IV: 1925– 1928, ed. Andrew McNeillie (London: Hogarth Press, 1994), 227–33. 53. Jane Garrity, ‘Virginia Woolf, Intellectual Harlotry, and 1920s British Vogue’, in Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, ed. Pamela L. Caughie (New York: Garland, 2000), 189. 54. Ibid., 197. 55. Flint, Flash!, 237. 56. Virginia Woolf, ‘Middlebrow’, in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (London: Hogarth Press, 1942), 118. 57. Ibid., 119. 58. Kate Macdonald and Christoph Singer, ‘Introduction: Transitions and Cultural Formations’, in Transitions in Middlebrow Writing, 1880–1930 (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 4. 59. Erica Brown and Mary Grover, ‘Introduction: Middlebrow Matters’, in Middlebrow Literary Cultures: The Battle of the Brows, 1920–1960, ed. Erica Brown and Mary Grover (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 1. 60. Macdonald and Singer, ‘Introduction’, in Transitions in Middlebrow Writing, 2. 61. Hammond, Reading, Publishing and the Formation of Literary Taste in England, 6. 62. Paul Hansom, ‘Introduction’, in Literary Modernism and Photography, ed. Paul Hansom (West Port, CT, 2002), xiv–xv. 63. Ibid., xiv. 64. Cf. Mary Bergstein, In Looking Back One Learns to See: Marcel Proust and Photography (Leiden: Brill, 2014). 65. Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature, ed. Randal Johnson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). 66. Discussed later in my ‘Coda(k)’, but see further Pierre Bourdieu, Photography: A Middle-Brow Art, trans. Shaun Whiteside (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990). 67. Virginia Woolf, The Second Common Reader (The Common Reader, second series), ed. Andrew McNeillie (San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986), 247–8. 68. Woolf, ‘Joseph Conrad’, in The Common Reader (1925), 1st edn, 230. 69. Joseph Conrad, The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’: Typhoon; Amy Foster; Falk; To-morrow, from Collected Edition of the Works of Joseph Conrad (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1964), xii.



70. Thomas Hardy, ‘The Science of Fiction’, New Review, 4 (April 1891), 315–19, reprinted in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice. 71. Virginia Woolf, ‘Modern Fiction’, in The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Volume IV. 72. Ibid., 160. 73. Ibid. 74. Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928: Compiled Largely from Contemporary Notes, Letters, Diaries, and Biographical Memoranda, as well as from Oral Information in Conversations Extending over Many Years (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1962). 75. All info here from Marion Dell, ‘Moments of Vision: Thomas Hardy and Virginia Woolf ’, Thomas Hardy Journal, 31 (2015), 13–24. 76. The New York World was a newspaper published in New York City from 1860 until 1931. 77. Many thanks to Erin Rhodes, of Colby College Library (Waterville, Maine), Special Collections, who provided a scan of the letter, from which this is transcribed (personal correspondence, 8 January 2016). I have retained the original punctuation, although I have substituted ‘&’ for Hardy’s use of the ‘et’ sign. 78. Tim Armstrong, Modernism: A Cultural History (Cambridge: Polity, 2005), 50. 79. Virginia Woolf, Freshwater: A Comedy (London: Hogarth Press, 1976). 80. Marion Dell, Virginia Woolf ’s Influential Forebears: Julia Margaret Cameron, Anny Thackeray Ritchie and Julie Prinsep Stephen (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 82. 81. Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album, MH-6 (c. 1850–1900 and undated), MS Thr 563 (12), Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University, http://oasis.lib.harv​ard.edu/oasis/deli​ver/~hou02​073 (accessed August 2016). 82. Virginia Woolf, ‘Ellen Terry’ (1941), in The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Volume VI: 1933– 1941 and Additional Essays 1906–1924, ed. Stuart N. Clarke (London: Hogarth Press, 2011). Originally published in New Statesman and Nation, 8 February 1941. 83. Ibid., 286. 84. Green-Lewis, Victorian Photography, Literature, and the Invention of Modern Memory, 25. 85. Susan Sontag, On Photography (New York: Picador, 1977), 81. 86. Louise Hornby, Still Modernism: Photography, Literature, Film (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 2. 87. Flint, Flash!, 60–7.

1 The figure of the author and amateur photography 1 . Hermann Lea, Thomas Hardy’s Wessex (London: Macmillan, 1913). 2. Thomas Hardy to Hermann Lea, 9 November 1904, The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy, Volume 3: 1902–1908, ed. Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 145. 3. Kate Flint, Flash!: Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 218. 4. William Howitt, Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British Poets, 3rd edn (London: Routledge, 1857). 5. For further information on this phenomenon, see further Nicola J. Watson, The Literary Tourist: Readers and Places in Romantic & Victorian Britain (Basingstoke:



Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). In The Voyage Out, discussed in Chapter 8, Woolf gives a brief account of the Dalloways’ trip around Europe, noting that ‘among other things [Mrs Dalloway] photographed Fielding’s grave’ in Spain. 6. Collected Letters, Volume 3, 145. 7. Upper [Higher] Bockhampton. 8. Collected Letters, Volume 3, 146. 9. Ibid. 10. See further Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Photography, trans. Rela Mazali and Ruvik Danieli (New York: Zone Books, 2008). 11. While this biography is ostensibly written by Florence Emily Hardy, it was largely composed of Thomas Hardy’s own writing (with or without quotation marks from his memoranda). Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928: Compiled Largely from Contemporary Notes, Letters, Diaries, and Biographical Memoranda, as well as from Oral Information in Conversations Extending over Many Years (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1962), 254. Watson suggests that this exhibition took place in 1904, but this does not match with Hardy’s memoranda. Clive Holland wrote an article on Frederick Whitehead in 1904. See further, Clive Holland, ‘The Work of Frederick Whitehead, a Painter of Hardy’s Wessex’, Studio, 32 (1904), 105–9. 12. Lea, Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, 15. 13. Watson gives a detailed account of this in The Literary Tourist, 182. In particular, he was happy to advise many American visitors on the locale. 14. Hardy revised his ‘Wessex Novels’, as they became to be known, for the OsgoodMcIlvaine editions which were published between 1895 and 1897. As noted in Watson, The Literary Tourist, 184. 15. Watson, The Literary Tourist, 198. 16. Lea, Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, xxii. 17. Collected Letters, Vol. 3, 145. 18. Ibid., 146. 19. See further, ‘Thomas Hardy’s Wessex’, The Bookman, 1:1 (1891), 26–8. http://0-sea​ rch.proqu​est.com.wam.leeds.ac.uk/docv​iew/3041​185?accoun​tid=14664 (accessed June 2016). 20. Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 3. 21. Annie Macdonell, Thomas Hardy (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1894), 179. 22. Ibid. 23. Jennifer Green-Lewis, Framing the Victorians: Photography and the Culture of Realism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 119. 24. William Henry Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature (Chicago: KWS Publishers, in association with National Media Museum, [1844–6] 2011). 25. Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Modern Public and Photography’, Le Boulevard, 14 September 1862, in Art in Paris 1845–1862: Salons and Other Exhibitions, ed. and trans. Jonathan Mayne (London: Phaidon, 1965), qtd in Classic Essays on Photography, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven, CT: Leete’s Island Books, 1980), 88. 26. Ibid. 27. While the belief in photography’s automaticity did emerge in the nineteenth century, it would be unfair to consider that this was the default position of all artists and authors in that period. In this way, I follow the line of argument pursued by Owen Clayton, who proposes that ‘literary scholars have represented the Victorian construction of



photography as being, variously, indexical, an objective process devoid of human intervention, and a technology that was necessarily associated with realist fiction. … Although automaticity was important in early conceptions of photography, it was not universally accepted’ (Owen Clayton, ‘Barthes for Barthes’ Sake? Victorian Literature and Photography beyond Poststructuralism’, Literature Compass, 13 (2016), 250). 28. Mark Durden, ‘Ritual and Deception: Photography and Thomas Hardy’, Journal of European Studies, 30:1 (2000), 57–69. 29. Ibid., 58. 30. J. M. Bullen, The Expressive Eye: Fiction and Perception in the Work of Thomas Hardy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). 31. Lindsay Smith, ‘The Wont of Photography, or the Pleasure of Mimesis’, in Illustrations, Optics and Objects in Nineteenth-Century Literary and Visual Cultures, ed. Luisa Calè and Patrizia Di Bello (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 68. 32. For a more detailed explanation of the philosophical and aesthetic discussions on mimesis please see Miles Orvell, The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 1880–1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989); and Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, 50th Anniversary edn, trans. Willard R. Trask, with a new introduction by Edward W. Said (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, [1953] 2013). 33. Smith, ‘The Wont of Photography’, 65. 34. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Barrett to Miss Mitford: The Unpublished Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Russell Mitford, ed. Betty Miller (London: Murray, 1954), 208–9. 35. Régis Durand, ‘How to See (Photographically)’, in Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video, ed. Patrice Petro (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 146. 36. Using the photogram, or camera-less, process. 37. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (London: Vintage, 1993), 6. 38. Boris Röhrl, World History of Realism in Visual Arts 1830–1990: Naturalism, Socialist Realism, Social Realism, Magic Realism, New Realism and Documentary Photography (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2013), 78. 39. Thomas Hardy, ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’, Forum 5 (March 1888), 57–70, in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice: The Essays, Speeches, and Miscellaneous Prose, ed. Michael Millgate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001). 40. Ibid., 87. 41. Ibid. 42. Ibid., 82. 43. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw Hill, 1964), 194. 44. Within quotation marks in original. Hardy, Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928, 153. 45. François Brunet, Photography and Literature (London: Reaktion Books, 2000), 10–11. 46. Hardy, ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’, in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice, 77–8. 47. Hardy, Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928, 114. 48. Ibid. 49. Thomas Hardy, ‘The Science of Fiction’, New Review 4 (April 1891), 315–19. Reprinted in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice. Michael Millgate adds this additional bibliographical information: This most sharply focused of Hardy’s literary essays appeared in the New Review, 4 (April 1891), pp. 315–19, as the third and final segments of a symposium


Notes on ‘The Science of Fiction’ in which the other participants were Walter Besant and the French novelist Paul Bourget (1852–1935). The Eclectic Magazine of New York reprinted the symposium (from the New Review) in its issue of June 1891 – Hardy’s contribution appearing on pp. 854–6 – but no pre-publication form of the essay is known to survive and there are no textual markings in the copy of the New Review (Millgate) that Hardy submitted for inclusion in his projected ‘Miscellanea’ volume. In June 1928 Desmond MacCarthy made the obituary gesture of reprinting the essay, still dated 1891, in the first number of Life and Letters, pp. 12–16. (106)

50. The word also appears in A Laodicean, to refer to Somerset as the lead draughtsman on an architectural project. 51. One might expect to see a discussion of Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ here. However, in this chapter what is being mechanically reproduced is not already an art object, as Benjamin argues, but merely life itself. There is something, perhaps, to be said about mass media in and of itself being a type of mechanical reproduction, but the distinction between original object (such as a text manuscript or a proof copy of a newspaper page) and its reproductions (final product) is not so distinct. 52. Brunet, Photography and Literature, 79. 53. Kelley E. Wilder and Robin Lenman, ‘Great Exhibition’, in The Oxford Companion to the Photograph, ed. Robin Lenman and Angela Nicholson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Accessed online at www.oxfordreference.com (accessed May 2014). Wilder and Lenman make the observation that at the Great Exhibition photographs were classed as musical or scientific instruments, and terms such as ‘photograph’, ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ had to be explained in the guide to the show. Only a few photographs had been entered into fine arts section, but since 6 million people visited the exhibition during its run, photography took up a special place in the cultural consciousness. In writing its final report, the exhibition jury eventually included approximately 150 photographs of industrial products, instead of lithographic prints. Finally, the Great Exhibition’s success encouraged the founding of the Photographic Society of London (later Royal Photographic Society), which eventually came into being in January 1853. 54. Thomas Hardy, ‘Candour in English Fiction’, New Review, 2 (January 1890), [15]–21, in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice. 55. Ibid., 98. 56. Hardy, ‘Profitable Reading of Fiction’, in Thomas Hardy’s Public Voice, 75.

2 Obscuring the boundaries: Art, imagination, photography 1. Ella Marchmill, the eponymous imaginative woman, is a poet. 2. Thomas Hardy, A Laodicean (London: Macmillan, 1976). 3. Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928: Compiled Largely from Contemporary Notes, Letters, Diaries, and Biographical Memoranda, as well as from Oral Information in Conversations Extending over Many Years (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1962), 291.



4 . Edmund Gosse, ‘The Tyranny of the Novel’, National Review, 19 (April 1892), 167–8. 5. Commissioned by Sir Leslie Stephen under his strict editorial eye. 6. Ruskin was also a member of this society, though he was not generally in favour of renovation either. He proposed instead that there should be a system in place to protect buildings so that they do not reach the point at which renovation is needed. John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (London: Century, 1988), 196. 7. Penny Boumelha, ‘Thomas Hardy’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Novelists, ed. Adrian Poole (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). 8. Dare is technically her nephew and therefore the next generation of De Stancys. However, she is unaware of Dare’s relationship to the family. 9. Having the fault for which the Church of Laodicea is reproached in Revelation 3, 15–16; thus, ‘lukewarm, neither cold nor hot’, or indifferent (OED). 10. Mr Ray considers trick photographs to be ‘libellous’, 336. 11. Geoffrey Harvey, The Complete Critical Guide to Thomas Hardy (London: Routledge, 2003), 105. 12. Thomas Hardy, ‘An Imaginative Woman’, in Wessex Tales (London: Macmillan, 1903). Hereafter, all page numbers appear in the text. 13. Geoffrey Batchen notes that hair was a complex object of mourning in the nineteenth century. For example, hair was frequently used in art as well as added to portraits and cameos. Significantly, hair was usually used by women, since they were ‘charged with new social roles as keepers of memory, as mourners and as home-based teachers of religious belief ’. Geoffrey Batchen, ‘Ere the Substance Fade: Photography and Hair Jewellery’, in Photographs Objects Histories: On the Materiality of Images, ed. Elizabeth Edwards and Janice Hart (London: Routledge, 2004), 32–46 (37). See also Geoffrey Batchen, Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance (Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum; New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004), 73. 14. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (London: Vintage, 1993), 6. 15. Batchen, Forget Me Not, 40. 16. Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), 59. 17. This is taken from sonnet 55 of Rossetti’s House of Life series. Trewe’s writing on the walls mirrors the same writing inside the ‘house’ of life of Rossetti’s poetry. Reproduction, along with creative and poetic production, is written on the architecture of the (poetic) house. Architecture is both a metaphor and setting for Hardy’s novel A Laodicean and demonstrates Hardy’s use of architecture to play out artistic tensions between the modern and antiquity. 18. Thomas Hardy, ‘The Photograph’, in The Variorum Edition of the Complete Poems of Thomas Hardy, ed. James Gibson (Macmillan: London, 1979), 469. 19. Julian Wolfreys, ‘The Idea of Wessex: Subject, Place, and Memory in Thomas Hardy’s Poetry’, Literature Compass, 9:11 (2012), 838. 20. Elissa Marder, The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Psychoanalysis, Photography, Deconstruction (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012), 157. 21. Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (London: Penguin, 2007), 79. 22. Hardy, Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928, 291. 23. Ibid. 24. Henry Peach Robinson, ‘Idealism, Realism, Expressionism’, in The Elements of a Pictorial Photograph (Bradford: Percy Lund; London: Memorial Hall, 1896), qtd in


Notes Classic Essays on Photography, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven, CT: Leete’s Island Books, 1980), 92.

3 Photography, promotion and the theatrical profession in Bram Stoker’s correspondence 1. Philip Burne-Jones was a painter and son of the Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones. University of Leeds, Brotherton Library, Special Collections (SC), BC MS 19C Stoker/01: Bram Stoker Correspondence (1866–1911), 24 boxes (box BONBUT). Emphasis in the original. 2. Bram Stoker, Dracula (New York: Norton, 1997). Reference to the text will appear in parentheses hereafter. 3. Philip Burne-Jones, The Vampire (London: New Gallery, April 1897). Information located in J. Lawrence Mitchell, who also notes that Burne-Jones’s cousin Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem of the same name to stir up some interest in the painting. J. Lawrence Mitchell, ‘Rudyard Kipling, The Vampire, and the Actress’, English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920, 55:3 (2012), 303. 4. See Harold Orel, A Kipling Chronology (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990), 85. 5. Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Ophelia in Hamlet and Lady Macbeth (1895–8) in Macbeth. Henry Irving leased the Lyceum every autumn. In 1895 Sir Johnston ForbesRobertson bid for use of the theatre, which Irving granted him on the condition that Mrs Patrick Campbell perform there. This saw her inaugural performance at the Lyceum and one of her first key Shakespearean roles (she played Juliet). Margot Peters, Mrs Pat: The Life of Mrs. Patrick Campbell (London: Bodley Head, 1984), 110–11. 6. Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, The Second Mrs Tanqueray: A Play in Four Acts (London: Heinemann, 1926). 7. This phrase is taken from the title of the essay by Phyllis A. Roth, ‘Suddenly Sexual Women in Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, Literature and Psychology, 27 (1977): 113–21, reprinted in Stoker, Dracula, 411–21. 8. While Burne-Jones later attempted to contest the claim that his painting was based on Mrs Pat – instead stressing that the vampire was modelled on an anonymous sitter in Brussels – this refutation comes in 1903, six years after this letter to Stoker and ten years after Campbell’s appearance in Mrs Tanqueray. It is clear that Burne-Jones was willing to sustain this connection between Campbell and his image for some time. Anon., ‘BURNE-JONES’S “VAMPIRE.”; Artist Says a Brussels Model and Not Mrs. Patrick Campbell Posed for the Painting’, special to New York Times (16 January 1903), 1. Found here: http://query.nyti​mes.com/gst/abstr​act.html?res=9D0DE7D91030E​ 733A​2575​5C1A​9679​C946​297D​6CF (accessed April 2016). 9. Tom Gunning, ‘ “Primitive” Cinema: A Frame-Up? Or the Trick’s on Us’, Cinema Journal, 28:2 (1989), 9. 10. Catherine Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 3. 11. Tom Gunning, ‘Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations: Spirit Photography, Magic Theater, Trick Films, and Photography’s Uncanny’, in Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video, ed. Patrice Petro (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995).



12. Richard Shusterman, ‘Photography as Performative Process’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 70:1 (2012), 68–9. 13. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (London: Vintage, 1993), 31–2. 14. In Belford’s biography of Stoker, she claims that Stoker estimated that in his twentyseven years with Irving he wrote over half a million letters (99). She does consider the letters held at Leeds and has some success with letters held at Stratford-uponAvon’s library, though she largely focused upon the life of Irving rather than Stoker. While there have been many biographies of Stoker, with varying degrees of authentic archival research and/or dramatic speculation, Belford’s biography brings together Stoker’s correspondence, held in various international collections, his many manuscripts of both published and unpublished material, and Belford worked closely with Stoker’s granddaughter Ann Stoker and great-grandson Noël Dobbs to flesh out her account of Stoker. Problematically, Belford’s biography is largely responsible for the common reading of Irving-as-Dracula, which more recent critics refute. Barbara Belford, Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of ‘Dracula’ (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996). 15. Located here: http://www.henr​yirv​ing.co.uk/ (accessed March 2016). 16. Belford, Bram Stoker, xiv. 17. For a comprehensive compilation of information on Stoker’s manuscript material and where it is archived, see further http://vic​tori​anfi​ctio​nres​earc​hgui​des.org/bram-sto​ ker/man​uscr​ipt-mater​ial/ (accessed September 2016). 18. Hall Caine is also the dedicatee of Dracula. The inscription reads: ‘TO MY DEAR FRIEND HOMMY-BEG’, which is a Manx nickname, 3. 19. Seventh Earl of Aberdeen; Governor General of Canada, 1893–8, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. 20. His concern is that the package had been stolen and that the ‘transit of letters, etc. between [t]‌here and the United States is not as dependable as it ought to be’ (SC, BC MS 19C Stoker/01, box G). 21. Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, trans. Ken Knabb (London: Rebel Press, 2004), 7. 22. Kate Foote (b. 1836) was the mother of George Houghton Gilman, who became the husband of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (his cousin, Foote’s niece). 23. Presumably meaning staff and editors from The Atlantic, a literary and cultural commentary magazine founded in 1857. 24. Auguste Van Beine wrote to both Stoker (9 July 18[90?]) and Irving (25 October 1896); the Irving letter was on headed paper which advertised his plays and company. 25. Originally held by Shakespeare Centre Library & Archive, Stratford-upon-Avon, archived online by The Henry Irving Foundation Centenary Project. 26. I am grateful to Dr Eric Colleary, the Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts at the Harry Ransom Center, Austin, for tracking down this play by Wilson Barrett. According to Colleary the play was performed in Leeds in 1892 but had also been performed in Philadelphia, where the photograph of McLeay, taken by Gilbert & Bacon photographers, was taken. 27. David Gardner, ‘McLEAY, JAMES FRANKLIN (Franklyn)’, in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 12 (University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003), http://www.biogra​ phi.ca/en/bio/mcleay​_jam​es_f​rank​lin_​12E.html (accessed May 2016). 28. David Mayer, ‘The Actress as Photographic Icon: From Early Photography to Early Film’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Actress, ed. Maggie B. Gale and John Stokes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 77.



2 9. For example, in Cameron’s illustrations to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. 30. See Mayer for a more detailed discussion of the types of photographs produced by studios. Mayer, ‘Actress as Photographic Icon’, 80. 31. Henry Irving 1838–1905 Correspondence. Located here: http://www.henr​yirv​ing.co.uk/ (accessed March 2016). 32. Until the 1880s there was no way of reprinting or publishing photographs, so cartes de visites taken in local photographers’ studios were often the way in which images were circulated. It may well be the case that Stoker had not seen the Sarony images for this reason, since Sarony operated in New York. 33. For further information see Mark Rose, Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); and Jane M. Gaines, Contested Culture: The Image, the Voice, and the Law (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); also the complete text for the US Supreme Court’s decision on the Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony (decided 17 March 1884) can be found here: http://case​law.find​law.com/us-supr​eme-court/111/53.html (accessed September 2016). 34. Debord, Society of the Spectacle, 8.

4 ‘Could not codak him’: Theatrical monsters and popular photography 1. According to Barbara Belford’s biography of Stoker (Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)), Stoker took a leave of absence from Trinity College Dublin in 1866 in order to work as a clerk for a year at Dublin Castle in the Registrar of Petty Sessions (34). Stoker stayed at Trinity after completing his degree for a master’s in pure mathematics, which eventually took three years to complete. Belford also notes that Stoker was clerking at Dublin Castle during his master’s degree, but it is unclear if there was a break between this earlier year-long leave of absence and this time or whether from that absence onwards Stoker continued to clerk (51). He also wrote theatre reviews for the Dublin Evening Mail during this time, so the likelihood of his continuing clerical work alongside studying and writing seems high. 2. Belford, Bram Stoker, 99–100. 3. Petty Sessions were local courts dealing with minor criminal and civil cases. For further information on the duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions during this period, see further ‘Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851’ on the electronic database for the Irish Statue Book: http://www.irish​stat​uteb​ook.ie/eli/1851/act/93/enac​ted/en/print.html (accessed September 2016). 4. Bram Stoker (as Inspector of Petty Sessions), ‘Introduction’ to The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland (Dublin: John Falconer, 1897) (written/signed 31 December 1878). Retrieved from http://www.bra​msto​ker.org/non​fic/01irel​and.html (accessed March 2016). 5. Ibid. 6. Caryn Radick, ‘ “Complete and in Order”: Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Archival Profession’, American Archivist, 76:2 (2013), 502–20 (506). Retrieved from http:// dx.doi.org/doi:10.7282/T3VH5​KWM (accessed March 2016).



7. Miles Orvell, The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 1880–1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 77. 8. Jennifer Wicke, ‘Vampiric Typewriting: Dracula and Its Media’, ELH, 59:2 (1992), 472–3. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid., 469. 12. Daniel Martin, ‘ “Some Trick of the Moonlight”: Seduction and the Moving Image in Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 40 (2012), 527. 13. Ibid., 528. 14. Tom Gunning, ‘ “Primitive” Cinema: A Frame-Up? Or the Trick’s on Us’, Cinema Journal, 28:2 (1989), 9. 15. Margaret Denny, ‘Advertising Uses of Photography’, in Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography, vol. 1, ed. John Hannavy (New York: Routledge, 2008), 9. 16. Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition, annotated and transcribed by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008), 194–7. 17. This can be easily claimed after extensive research into Stoker’s archived letters. He kept a great deal of ephemera relating to Irving and the Lyceum, but the letters and, especially, photographs demonstrate how even as Stoker archived these artefacts he very rarely consulted them. An image of the actress Nancy Price has been drastically faded by the sun, suggesting it had been left out or at the top of a pile. 18. Please note that the 2013 edition of Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula corrects the previous edition’s caption from ‘Whitby Abbey’ to ‘St. Mary’s Abbey’. According to my correspondence with the publishers McFarland & Co., older or online editions of the book may still represent the erroneous attribution of the photographs to Whitby. 19. According to Belford, Stoker and his family holidayed there for three weeks in August in 1890 (220). The town was also popular with other writers, for example, Dickens and Lewis Carroll. The Rosenbach facsimiles reveal that Stoker began writing Dracula sometime in early 1890, but pages from the early memoranda have been later revised to include Whitby as the Count’s port of entry and to alter Styria to Transylvania as the vampire’s home. Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula, 29. 20. See further, ‘Frank Sutcliffe – Photographs of Whitby’, http://www.sutcli​ffe-gall​ ery.co.uk/ (accessed April 2016), as well as Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, Hon. FRPS, Whitby and Its People as Seen by One of the Founders of the Naturalistic Movement in Photography: A Selection of His Work, compiled by Bill Eglon Shaw (Whitby: Sutcliffe Gallery, 1974). 21. Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula, 21. 22. Eighteen-Bisang and Miller include a footnote here which documents that according to Peter Haining in Vampire Omnibus, Elizabeth Gray’s ‘The Skeleton Count; or, The Vampire Mistress’, serialized in The Casket in 1828, is the first serialized vampire story. As we will see, Stoker draws on many literary antecedents for his conceptualization of the Count and here he draws on his depiction as a skeleton. 23. Called Röntgen rays in their very early incarnations. 24. Anon., ‘The Photography of the Invisible,’ Quarterly Review, 183:366 (April 1896), 496, qtd in Simone Natale, ‘The Invisible Made Visible’, Media History, 17:4 (2011), 345–6. 25. Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula, 25.



26. Felix Nadar (Gaspard Felix Tournachon), ‘My Life as a Photographer’, trans. Thomas Repensek, October, 5 (1978), 9. 27. Martin, ‘ “Some Trick of the Moonlight” ’, 541. 28. Tom Gunning, ‘Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations: Spirit Photography, Magic Theater, Trick Films, and Photography’s Uncanny’, in Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video, ed. Patrice Petro (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 61–2. 29. Again, not every full-body manifestation was captured, but Gunning provides an overview and essential examples in ‘Phantom Images’, 53. 30. Qtd in Catherine Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 41. 31. ‘Appendix B: Irving’s Speech’, in Harry Houdini, A Magician among the Spirits (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1924), 272. 32. David J. Skal, Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of ‘Dracula’ from Novel to Stage to Screen (New York: Faber and Faber, [1990] 2004), 49. 33. Max Nordau, Degeneration, 4th edn, translated from the 2nd edn of the German work (New York: D. Appleton, 1895), 13–14. 34. Ibid. 35. Listed in Stoker’s Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906). Qtd in Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage, 32. Freud also visited Salpêtrière in the 1880s, which connects the nascent point of modern psychoanalysis with the performance of hypnotism. 36. Ernest Hart, ‘Hypnotism, Animal Magnetism, And Hysteria’, British Medical Journal, 2:1666 (3 December 1892), 1218. 37. ‘M. Charcot’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 39 (October 1893), 617. 38. Skal, Hollywood Gothic, 17–18. 39. Information in this section comes from a combination of Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage, 19; and Skal, Hollywood Gothic, 17. 40. Christopher Frayling, Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula (London: Faber & Faber, 1991), 300, qtd in Roxana Stuart, Stage Blood: Vampires of the 19th-Century Stage (Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994), 190. 41. Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage, 36. 42. Cites Daniel Farson, The Man Who Wrote Dracula (London: Michael Joseph, 1975), 164. Farson was Stoker’s great-nephew. Skal, Hollywood Gothic, 41. 43. Skal, Hollywood Gothic, 41. 44. For a comprehensive analysis of the critical reviews of theatrical Draculas, see Stuart, Stage Blood. Perhaps as a result of painstaking work with such damning theatrical reviews, Stuart does not appear to be too convinced by any of Dracula’s stage manifestations either. However, she concedes that, on occasion, filmic representations triumphed but only through the use of the close-up (207). 45. Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage, 12–13. For a more detailed investigation of the link between the Ripper murders and Dracula, see further Nicholas Rance, ‘ “Jonathan’s Great Knife”: “Dracula” Meets Jack the Ripper’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 30:2 (2002), 439–53. 46. See further L. Perry Curtis, Jr, Jack the Ripper and the London Press (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001). 47. In Skal, Hollywood Gothic, 65–6. In Belford, the central tenet is that Stoker could not have written Dracula without Irving’s influence. She deplores the frequency with which any personal or archived writings of Stoker are usually dedicated to Irving,



leading her to ask in her introduction, ‘If Irving had not existed for Stoker, would Dracula have been stillborn?’ (xiv). While I argue that Stoker’s novel would not be what it is without the influence of British theatre, Stoker’s interest in drama while he still lived in Dublin, where he wrote reviews of Irving’s plays which led to the pair’s meetings, suggests that sooner or later Stoker would have found his way into the theatrical profession, with or without Irving. 48. Louis S. Warren, ‘Buffalo Bill Meets Dracula: William F. Cody, Bram Stoker, and the Frontiers of Racial Decay’, American Historical Review, 107:4 (2002), 1124–57. 49. Gunning, ‘ “Primitive” Cinema’, 9. 50. Owen Clayton, Literature and Photography in Transition, 1850–1915 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 74. 51. Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 2nd edn, ed. Martin A. Donahay (Ontario: Broadview, 2005), 79. 52. Ibid., 49. 53. A posthumous sale of Stoker’s belongings, which included an Edinburgh edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s works, fetched $305 (reported by Special Cable Dispatch to The Sun, printed in The Sun (New York), 8 July 1913. Qtd in The Forgotten Writings of Bram Stoker, ed. John Edgar Browning (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 247–8). Stoker’s books, autographed letters and other manuscripts were sold off in their hundreds, the advertisement running to twenty pages in length. Despite this, the collateral raised was minimal (reproduced from the Catalogue of Valuable Books, Autograph Letters, and Illuminated and Other Manuscripts, Including the Library of the Late Bram Stoker, Esq. (London: Dryden Press, 1913), 1–20, qtd in The Forgotten Writings of Bram Stoker, ed. John Edgar Browning (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)). 54. For example, the character ‘R. Enfield’ in Stevenson and ‘Renfield’ in Dracula. 55. Nordau, Degeneration, 18. 56. Ibid., 16–17. 57. Daniel Pick, ‘ “Terrors of the Night”: Dracula and “Degeneration” in the Late Nineteenth Century’, Critical Quarterly, 30:4 (1988), 79. 58. Clayton, Literature and Photography in Transition, 76–7. 59. Martin, ‘Some Trick of the Moonlight’, 526–7. 60. It is perhaps no coincidence that the director Tod Browning, who directed the 1931 film version of Dracula with Bela Lugosi a year later (1932) would go on to direct Freaks, a film about the potentially evil capabilities of the physically deformed and disabled. 61. Book Seventh of William Wordsworth’s The Prelude describes the sorts of sights one might find at Bartholomew Fair. His list includes ‘the silver-collared Negro’, equestrians, ‘Albinos, painted Indians, Dwarfs’, giants, ventriloquists, the ‘Invisible Girl’, waxworks, clockworks, puppet shows, among others. The Prelude, ll. 703–13. 62. Rosemarie Garland Thomson, ‘Introduction: From Wonder to Error – a Genealogy of Freak Discourse in Modernity’, in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 2. 63. Ibid., 7. 64. Gunning, ‘ “Primitive” Cinema’, 9. 65. Tom Gunning also notes that Maskelyne and Cook added motion pictures to the bill at the Egyptian Hall shortly after the Lumière brothers’ premier in London, in ‘Phantom Images’, 61.



66. Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media into the Twenty-first Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 155. 67. Christopher Baugh, ‘diorama’, in The Oxford Companion to Theatre and Performance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), http://0-www.oxfo​rdre​fere​nce.com. wam.leeds.ac.uk/view/10.1093/acref/978019​9574​193.001.0001/acref-978019​9574​ 193-e-1089 (accessed May 2016). 68. Warner, Phantasmagoria, 148. 69. Tom Gunning, ‘To Scan a Ghost: The Ontology of Mediated Vision’, Grey Room, 26 (2007), 112–13. 70. Ibid. 71. Sir David Brewster, Letters on Natural Magic, new edn with illustrations (London: Chatto and Windus, 1883). 72. Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage, 60. 73. Karen Beckman, Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 41. 74. Ibid., 42. 75. Once Mina begins to turn into a vampire the wafer becomes toxic to her, burning her forehead when Van Helsing places it there. But at the denouement of the novel, Van Helsing keeps Mina safe in the Carpathian Mountains by creating a wafer circle around her, which she cannot exit (316). Applied to Lucy’s tomb, then, the host creates the same barrier. 76. Martin, ‘Some Trick of the Moonlight’, 535. 77. Qtd in Wynne, Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Victorian Gothic Stage, 86. 78. ‘Appendix B: Irving’s Speech’, in Houdini, Magician among the Spirits, 272.

5 Past and present lives: Conrad, heritage and literary celebrity 1. Stanisława Krakow and Joseph Conrad, ‘Photograph of Joseph Conrad as a Child, Inscribed “Pour Jessie” ’, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Library, GEN MSS 1207, http://brbl-dl.libr​ary.yale.edu/vuf​i nd/Rec​ord/3432​494 (accessed September 2014). 2. The Szlachta were a legally privileged noble class, to which Conrad and his parents belonged. According to Najder there is no precise way of rendering this in English, since in Poland no distinction exists between what in English is the nobility and gentry. This is why I use Najder’s translation here instead of others’. The Szlachta’s cultural values varied geographically and economically, though all spoke Polish regardless of original ethnic background (Poland was a commonwealth at this point and included many languages: Polish, Ukrainian (Ruthenian), Byelorussian [sic], Lithuanian, Latvian and Yiddish). The Szlachta was unusually large, forming approximately 10 per cent of the whole nation. No titles were allowed, and each szlachcic referred to others as ‘brothers’. Szlachcic could become a member of the Sejm (the Polish parliament), or even, theoretically, king. See further Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, trans. Halina Najder (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2007), 3–4. 3. Qtd in Najder, Joseph Conrad, 22. Conrad’s father Apollo Korzeniowski was away working for the Red faction of Polish nationalists but was imprisoned after an uprising against the Russians, during which Conrad’s grandmother cared for him.



4. While an earlier instance of Conrad’s writing exists, in a letter to his father in 1861, Conrad would have been only three and a half and had very little control over the composition of the letter. His note formed a minor part of a letter written from Conrad’s mother, Ewa Korzeniowska, to her husband, who guided Conrad’s hand. 5. Owen Knowles, A Conrad Chronology, 2nd edn (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 186. 6. Conrad was born and raised in Poland but moved to Marseille, France, in 1874 to study to become a sailor. In 1886 Conrad became a naturalized British citizen and began writing Almayer’s Folly in 1889 before a brief stint in the French Congo during 1890 (which would later be depicted in Heart of Darkness). 7. An earlier photograph of Conrad exists, taken in 1862. Again, he is dressed in traditional szlachta dress, holding a whip. However, he seems largely distracted by the whip and is not looking at the camera or seemingly aware of his conditions. The above photograph shows he is much more aware of having his photograph taken, and the photograph itself clearly has more emotional significance for Conrad, demonstrated in the double inscription. This earlier image is reproduced in The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 1, 1861–1897, ed. Frederick R. Karl and Laurence Davies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), plate 3. 8. Walter Benjamin, ‘Brief History of Photography’, in One Way Street, and Other Writings, trans. J. A. Underwood (London: Penguin, 2008), 177. 9. See note 7. 10. The story was first published in The London Magazine in 1908 but was not anthologized in the posthumous volume Tales of Hearsay in 1925. As I will discuss below, it is in fact highly likely that ‘The Black Mate’ was composed in the 1880s, which would make it the oldest of Conrad’s texts in this chapter. See Jack Skeffington’s comprehensive account of the story’s publication history for further details: https://modern​ism.resea​rch.yale.edu/wiki/index.php/The​_Bla​ck_M​ate (accessed July 2016). 11. Referenced in Stephen Donovan, ‘Sunshine and Shadows: Conrad and Early Cinema’, Conradiana, 35:3 (2003), 238. There have been numerous cinematic versions of The Secret Agent, including Alfred Hitchcock’s film Sabotage (1836) and a BBC three-part drama being aired at the time of this book’s writing (2016). See Donovan for further information on other film versions of the novel, which has been frequently analysed in relation to popular cinema. Below, I argue that Conrad’s interest was less in cinema and more in moving pictures. 12. Suzanne Speidel, ‘ “Post-Impressionism” and the Cinema: How We Are “Made to See” in Conrad’s Victory’, in Joseph Conrad and the Performing Arts, ed. Katherine Isobel Baxter and Richard J. Hand (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), 80. 13. The son of Conrad’s agent, who took over after his father’s death in 1922. 14. Conrad’s notes for this survive at the Lilly Library, Indiana University. See Don Rude, ‘Joseph Conrad’s Speeches in America: His Texts Recovered’, L’Époque Conradienne, 13 (1987), 21–32. 15. Joseph Conrad, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 8, 1923–1924, ed. Laurence Davies and Gene M. Moore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 74. 16. Ibid., 75. 17. Joseph Conrad, Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 1, 7–8 (7). Unless otherwise stated, the editors with the help of Najder are responsible for the translations.



18. Zuzanna, Marta, Stanisław and Tadeusz were Maria’s brothers and sisters, thus Conrad’s cousins. 19. Joseph Conrad, Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 1, 49. 20. Conrad’s maternal uncle who became his nephew’s official guardian after Stefan Buszczyński. 21. Jeffrey Meyers, Joseph Conrad: A Biography (New York: Cooper Square Press, 2001), 37. 22. Archived at Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. Joseph Conrad Literary File, Photography Collection PA-00281, Accession / P Number: P20. 23. Joseph Conrad, ‘Stephen Crane: A Preface to Thomas Beer’s Stephen Crane’, in Tales of Hearsay and Last Essays (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1963), Part Two, 106. 24. Ibid. 25. From 23 January 1918, The Diary of Hugh Walpole, in Rupert Hart-Davis, Hugh Walpole: A Biography (London: Macmillan, 1952), qtd in Joseph Conrad: Interviews and Recollections, ed. Martin Ray (London: Macmillan, 1990), 135. 26. Edward Garnett, The Academy, 15 October 1898, The Academy: A Weekly Review of Literature and Life, October–December 1898, Volume LV [55], 82–3. The photograph is attributed to Russell & Sons and appears to be reproduced using photogravure. Thomas Hardy also featured as one of the ‘Academy Portraits’, written by Lionel Johnson, on 12 November 1898, 251–2. The latter’s image is an etching by William Strang. 27. ‘In one’s Sunday best’. 28. Sent to the Hon. A. E. Bontine, 16 October 1898. Joseph Conrad, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 2, 1898–1902, ed. Frederick R. Karl and Laurence Davies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 105. 29. In a letter to his agent, James B. Pinker, of 19 January 1922 (The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 7, 1920–1922, ed. Laurence Davies and J. H. Stape (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 407–8), Conrad reveals the earlier composition date but asks that Almayer’s Folly be recorded as his first piece of fiction writing. The story was first published in April 1908 in London Magazine and collected posthumously in Tales of Hearsay (1925). Jessie George contests the earlier date of composition, claiming that she gave Conrad the plot for the story, which would have been impossible in 1886. For further details on the contested date of composition, including the theory that Conrad merely revised the pre-existing tale with Jessie’s help, see Najder, Joseph Conrad, 134–5, 388; and Jocelyn Baines, Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography, third imprint, with corrections (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1960), 84–5. 30. Joseph Conrad, ‘The Black Mate’, Tales of Hearsay and Last Essays (London: Dent, 1955), Part One, 112. All page numbers appear in the main text henceforth. 31. William Shakespeare, Hamlet (London: Arden, 2006). 32. John Harvey, Photography and Spirit (London: Reaktion Books, 2007), 47–8. 33. Tom Gunning, ‘An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the (In)Credulous Spectator’, in Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film, ed. Linda Williams (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997), 117. 34. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 4th edn (New York: Norton, [1963] 2006), 72. 35. Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford (Hueffer), The Inheritors: An Extravagant Story (Edinburgh: John Grant, 1925), The Works of Joseph Conrad, Vol. 5. Page numbers will appear in the main text henceforth. 36. Oxford Reader’s Companion to Conrad, ed. Owen Knowles and Gene M. Moore (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), http://www.oxfo​rdre​fere​



nce.com/view/10.1093/acref/978019​8604​211.001.0001/acref-978019​8604​ 211-e-0195?rskey=EhY​SWR&res​ult=1 (accessed March 2015). 37. Conrad, Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 2, 105. 38. I have retained the original style of dashes used in the novel to demonstrate how each word is connected in Conrad and Ford’s description of Callan’s speech. It appears to be a typographic choice to mimic the speed at which Callan spoke. 39. Partner of Heinemann Publishing, who was due to publish The Inheritors. 40. Conrad to Ford, 23 July 1901, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 2, 1898– 1902, 343–5. 41. Conrad, Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 2, 345, n. 2. 42. Sir (John) Bernard Partridge, Sir (Thomas Henry) Hall Caine, watercolour (381 mm × 267 mm), Vanity Fair, 2 July 1896, held by National Portrait Gallery, NPG 3667; F. R. [unidentified], Men of the Day No. 686: Caricature of Mr SR Crockett: ‘The Stickit Minister’, Vanity Fair, 5 August 1897. 43. John Conrad, Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered ‘Ojciec jest tutaj’ [Father is here] (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 62. 44. One of the oils (painted 1922–3) is now in National Portrait Gallery: http://www.npg.org.uk/coll​ecti​ons/sea​rch/portr​ait/mw01​446/Josep​hCon​rad?Lin​ kID=mp01​005&role=sit&rNo=3) (accessed March 2015). 45. Walter Tittle, ‘The Conrad Who Sat for Me’, Outlook, cxl (New York, 1 and 8 July 1925), 333–5 (361–2), reprinted in Joseph Conrad: Interviews and Recollections, 157–8. 46. May 18 1907, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 3, 1903–1907, ed. Frederick R. Karl and Laurence Davies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 439. 47. Interviews and Recollections, 153. 48. Conrad, Joseph Conrad, 166. 49. Ibid., 62.

6 Modernity, mass media and moving pictures 1. The editors of Conrad’s Collected Letters note on more than one occasion that this is a reference to a text called ‘The Rescuer’. In fact, it seems likely that they mean The Rescue, which was published in three parts, the first in 1896. 2. In letter to Edward Garnett, 19 June 1896, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad: Volume 1, 1861–1897, ed. Frederick R. Karl and Laurence Davies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 288–9. 3. Laurel Brake, ‘The Advantage of Fiction: The Novel and the “Success” of the Victorian Periodical’, in A Return to the Common Reader: Print Culture and the Novel, 1850– 1900, ed. Beth Palmer and Adeline Buckland (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), 12–13. 4. Karen Jacobs, The Eye’s Mind: Literary Modernism and Visual Culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), 6. 5. Michael Ayers Trotti, ‘Murder Made Real: The Visual Revolution of the Halftone’, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 111:4 (2003), 397. 6. Richard D. Altick, The English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public 1800–1900, 2nd edn (Columbus: Ohio State Press, [1957] 1998), 306–7. 7. Anon., ‘Anarchist Conspirators in London’, Illustrated London News, 24 February 1894, no. 2862, 223. See further Adam Parkes, A Sense of Shock: The Impact of



Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), for an in-depth discussion. 8. Qtd in Parkes, Sense of Shock, 102. 9. In particular, the specificity of Bourdin’s injuries. See further, Illustrated London News (24 February 1894), 223. The gruesome minutiae of the press are mimicked in The Secret Agent, where Conrad describes how Stevie’s remains were scraped off the ground using a spade (65). 10. Joseph Conrad to Ambrose J. Barker, 1 September 1923, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 8, 1923–1924, ed. Laurence Davies and Gene M. Moore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 165. 11. Joseph Conrad, ‘Author’s Note’ (1920), reprinted in The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 231. 12. Norman Sherry, ‘The Greenwich Bomb Outrage and The Secret Agent’, Review of English Studies, 18:72 (1967), 412–28. 13. Conrad, ‘Author’s Note’, 231. 14. Ibid., 228. 15. Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). 16. The nationality of the embassy, along with Verloc’s nationality, remains concealed. However, the group of anarchists with which Verloc associates produce pamphlets called F.P., an acronym for The Future of the Proletariat, suggesting they are soviet anarchists. 17. Bourdin actually died roughly fifty minutes after the explosion. Anon., ‘Anarchist Conspirators in London’, 223. 18. For a significant portion of the novel we are led to believe that Verloc is the one who has been killed, since it was his mission, and he is missing on the day of the explosion. 19. Parkes, Sense of Shock, 107. 20. Ford Madox Ford, Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance, http://www.noume​nal. com/marc/jcfmf/ind​ex2.html [p. 129?] (accessed September 2016). 21. Roland Barthes, ‘The Photographic Message’, in Image-Music-Text, trans. Stephen Heath (London: Fontana, 1977), 21. 22. In the 2016 BBC three-part drama series, The Secret Agent, Verloc owns a shop for European objects. In racks hung from the walls are various European newspapers, most obviously from Russia and France. Ossipon also delivers anarchist pamphlets to be sold in the shop. However, most importantly the shop sells pornographic stereoscopic photographs. Multiple customers are seen looking through stereoscopes positioned around the shop, and stereoscope cards are available for individual purchase. The photographs which are shown on-screen are largely erotic seminude photographs of women, but the Victorian period was not limited by obscenity in quite the same way as most people imagine. For scholarly information on visual pornography of the Victorian period, see Linda Williams, ‘Corporealized Observers: Visual Pornographies and the “Carnal Density of Vision” ’, in Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video, ed. Patrice Petro (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 3–41; and Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2009). 23. I take this term from Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 2. He argues that everyone, but in particular politicians, phrases ideologies about the future and about development in



terms of heteronormative sexual reproduction. Edelman proposes, as well as critiques, the idea that the future can only be imagined through children. 24. Both the words ‘flash’ and ‘expose’, so intimately connected to photography, in the nineteenth century also come to mean to indecently exhibit oneself. 25. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 4th edn (New York: Norton, [1963] 2006), 69. 26. Kate Flint, Flash!: Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 28. 27. Ibid. 28. Ibid., 27. 29. Christian Metz, ‘Photography and Fetish’, October, 34 (1985), 84. 30. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, L’Œil et L’Esprit (Paris: Gallimard, [1964] 2006), 54–5 (translation my own). 31. Marta Braun, Picturing Time: The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 27. 32. Ibid., 150. 33. Ibid., 246–7, 251. This was in contrast to Marey, who focused on scientific rigour. He studied human and animal circulation and eventually developed the sphygmograph. His desire to mechanically measure small human motions – the pulse, for instance – was largely his route into chronophotography. In her book, Marta Braun is particularly dismissive of Muybridge as someone who may only have stumbled upon chronophotography through Marey, but who eventually received the majority of the credit for its invention. 34. Tom Gunning, ‘An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the (In)Credulous Spectator’, in Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film, ed. Linda Williams (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997), 118. 35. Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918, 11th edn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, [1983] 2001), 130. 36. A New York lawyer who collected literary manuscripts, including Conrad’s. 37. Joseph Conrad, 10 August 1916, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 5, 1912–1916, ed. Frederick R. Karl and Laurence Davies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 632. 38. Gene M. Moore writes that Conrad went to see Frank Lloyd’s 1918 film version of Les Misérables in August 1920 and Maurice Tourneur’s 1919 film version of Victory in November the same year. ‘Conrad’s “Film-Play” Gaspar the Strong Man’, in Conrad on Film, ed. Gene M. Moore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 40–1. 39. Ibid., 32. 40. Joseph Conrad to W. T. H. Howe, 16 August 1917, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 6, 1917–1919, ed. Frederick R. Karl, Laurence Davies and Owen Knowles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 117. 41. Louise Hornby, Still Modernism: Photography, Literature, Film (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 1. 42. Qtd from Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance, 210, in Oxford Reader’s Companion to Conrad, ed. Owen Knowles and Gene M. Moore (2001), accessed online: http://www.oxfo​rdre​fere​nce.com/view/10.1093/acref/978019​8604​ 211.001.0001/acref-978019​8604​211-e-0325 (accessed March 2015). 43. Paul Kirschner, ‘Conrad and the Film’, Quarterly of Film, Radio, and Television, 11:4 (1957), 350. 44. Moore, ‘Conrad’s “Film-Play” Gaspar the Strong Man’, 38. 45. Ibid.



4 6. Ibid. 47. From James Walter Smith, ‘Joseph Conrad – Master Mariner and Novelist’ (Boston Evening Telegraph, 12 May 1923, 2), in Joseph Conrad: Interviews and Recollections, ed. Martin Ray (London: Macmillan, 1990), 186. 48. Winnie’s mother’s account appears at the close of chapter II (30), and Winnie later gives her own version of events to Ossipon on p. 202, after she has murdered Verloc. 49. Ray, Joseph Conrad, 161. 50. Michael Wood, ‘Modernism and Film’, in The Cambridge Companion to Modernism, ed. Michael Levenson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 223.

7 Virginia Woolf: Fact, fiction and photography 1. Virginia Woolf, ‘Three Guineas’, in A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 95. 2. Woolf ’s essay, primarily, takes the form of a sustained letter to a male peer, who has written to her asking how to solve the problem of war. However, throughout the essay Woolf addresses different audiences – female administrators of women’s university colleges, for ­example – along with being written with a publication audience in mind. The letter-essay does not have examples of correspondence and therefore may not be called epistolary. 3. Woolf, ‘Three Guineas’, 96. 4. Ibid., 165. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid., 106, 144, 148. 7. Maggie Humm, Snapshots of Bloomsbury: The Private Lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell (London: Tate, 2006), 30. 8. Woolf, ‘Three Guineas’, 96. 9. Ibid., 95. 10. Maggie Humm, Modernist Women and Visual Cultures: Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Photography and Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002), 39. 11. Colin Dickey, ‘Virginia Woolf and Photography’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts, ed. Maggie Humm (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 376. 12. It is suggested, but not clarified in the essay, that Woolf is talking about homosexuality when she writes about secret hidden lives. It is also implied that she is referring to the life of John Addington Symonds, whose biography was stripped of homoerotic references by Edmund Gosse, who became the subject and source of derision for Woolf in her essay about him. Virginia Woolf, ‘Edmund Gosse’, Fortnightly Review, 1 June 1931; reprinted in The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Volume V: 1929–1932, ed. Andrew McNeillie (London: Hogarth Press, 2009). It seems Woolf was likely sexually attracted to Madge Vaughan, Symonds’s daughter. 13. Virginia Woolf, ‘The Art of Biography’, in The Essays of Virginia Woolf: Vol. VI: 1933– 1941, and Additional Essays, 1906–1924, ed. Stuart N. Clarke (London: Hogarth Press, [1939] 2011), 182. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid., 184.



1 6. Ibid., 186. 17. Orlando: A Biography, second impression (London: Hogarth Press, 1928); Flush: A Biography, ed. Kate Flint (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Roger Fry: A Biography (London: Hogarth Press, 1940). 18. Diane F. Gillespie, ‘ “Her Kodak Pointed at His Head”: Virginia Woolf and Photography’, in The Multiple Muses of Virginia Woolf, ed. Diane F. Gillespie (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1993), 136. 19. Alongside Vita Sackville-West, Angelica Bell also featured as Sasha, ‘The Russian Princess as a Child’. Painted portraits come from Vita Sackville-West’s family home, Knole. 20. A gift from Vita Sackville-West. See further Jane Goldman, The Cambridge Introduction to Virginia Woolf (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 75–8. Kate Flint (who refers to Woolf ’s dog as ‘Pinker’ instead) notes too that Woolf thanked Vita Sackville West for a photograph of the dogs, including Pinker, requesting that she might ‘keep it and perhaps use it in [her] story?’ From Woolf to SackvilleWest, 17 March 1932, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume V, 1929–1932, ed. Andrew McNeillie (London: Hogarth Press, 2009), 35. 21. Many imprints of The Mausoleum Book include Stephen’s photographs, including the Clarendon Press edition introduced by Alan Bell, Sir Leslie Stephen’s Mausoleum Book, with an introduction by Alan Bell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977). Likewise, Karen Kukil does this with the online collection of Leslie Stephen photographs. She has also given a talk at the Modern Language Annual Convention in 2005, pairing To the Lighthouse to the Stephen photograph albums: ‘Consuming Passions: Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album and Virginia Woolf ’s To the Lighthouse’ (personal correspondence). 22. Virginia Woolf, A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897–1909, ed. Mitchell A. Leaska (London: Hogarth Press, 1990), 34. Jargonel appears to be a type of pear. However, if this is the case, it is not clear why Woolf has chosen to begin the word with a capital letter. I am unable to find a product that might be used in camera production or maintenance for which this is the name. 23. Maggie Humm suggests that they shared their Frena (No. 2) camera, in Snapshots of Bloomsbury, 5. 24. Qtd in Gillespie, ‘Her Kodak Pointed at His Head’, 129. 25. Qtd in Humm, Snapshots of Bloomsbury, 6. 26. See Humm, Modernist Women, 46. 27. Suggested by Humm in ‘Virginia Woolf and Visual Culture’, in The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf, 2nd edn, ed. Susan Sellers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 217. 28. Woolf, Passionate Apprentice, 81. 29. Grace Seiberling and Carolyn Bloore, Amateurs, Photography, and the Mid-Victorian Imagination (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 107. Seiberling and Bloore go into greater detail in their book regarding the three types of the second wave of amateurs (106). 30. At age sixteen. Virginia [Woolf] to Thoby Stephen, June/July 1898, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume I, 1888–1912, ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (London: Hogarth Press, 1975), 18. 31. Journal entry 25 March 1897, Woolf, Passionate Apprentice, 60. 32. Virginia Stephen to Leonard Woolf, 1 May 1912, The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume I, 497.



33. Indentation in original. Letter from Virginia Woolf to Barbara Bagenal, written 30 December 1921, sent on 3 January 1922. In The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume IV, 1929–1931, ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (London: Hogarth Press, 1978), 496. The reference to ‘Saxon’ here could either mean that Bagenal’s son is particularly Anglo-Saxon-looking, or it could be reference to Saxon Sydney Turner, another key member of the Bloomsbury group. He and Bagenal (née Hiles) were lovers before she married Nick Bagenal. Woolf could be suggesting that Bagenal’s son bears the resemblance of Turner, who was potentially still the lover of Barbara Bagenal even after her marriage. This is gestured towards in Woolf ’s letter to Vanessa Bell on 29 January 1918, The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume II: 1912–1922, ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (London: Hogarth Press, 1976), 214. 34. The phrase ‘foggy dew’ could also be a reference to the folk song of that name (sometimes called ‘Foggy, Foggy Dew’) which is the ballad of a young lover and appears to have become popular in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. 35. Marion Dell, Virginia Woolf ’s Influential Forebears: Julia Margaret Cameron, Anny Thackeray Ritchie and Julia Prinsep Stephen (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 1. 36. Virginia Woolf, Freshwater: A Comedy (London: Hogarth Press, 1976), 73. 37. Humm, Snapshots of Bloomsbury, 15. 38. Marilyn F. Motz, ‘Visual Autobiography: Photograph Albums of Turn-of-the-Century Midwestern Women’, American Quarterly, 41:1 (1989), 67. 39. Lindsay Smith, The Politics of Focus: Women, Children and Nineteenth-Century Photography (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), also provides a useful and historical focus on the phenomenon of the British photograph album. I draw on this below. 40. Kate Flint, Flash!: Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination, Oxford University Press (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 237. 41. Pierre Bourdieu, Photography: A Middle-Brow Art, trans. Shaun Whiteside (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990), 19. 42. Martha Langford, Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001), 64. 43. Leslie Stephen Photograph Album, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College, MA, United States, MS 5, 39 leaves; 57 × 46 cm. A selection of the images can be found here: http://www.smith.edu/librar​ies/libs/rareb​ook/exhi​biti​ons/step​ hen/ (accessed May 2015). I am particularly grateful to Karen Kukil, Associate Curator of Special Collections at the libraries, who has provided me not only with unrivalled knowledge of the collection but also facsimiles of pages from Stephen’s albums. 44. Nancy Martha West, Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000), 145. 45. Ibid., 140. 46. Flint, Flash, 62. 47. Humm, Modernist Women, 18. 48. G. Thomas Couser, Memoir: An Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 27–8. 49. West, Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia, 143. 50. Marianne Hirsch, Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 7. 51. Ibid., 8.



52. Morell was an aristocrat and social hostess. She was the patroness of many literary figures, including T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. She was a host to many of the Bloomsbury Group. Humm, Modernist Women, 69–70. 53. Smith, Politics of Focus, 68–9. 54. This would later be significant in her starting the Hogarth Press with husband Leonard Woolf. Virginia Woolf hand-set the printing press herself, and bound the books herself, using the same expertise she used with her own personal projects. For information on Woolf ’s handsetting, see further Laura Marcus, ‘Virginia Woolf as Publisher and Editor: The Hogarth Press’, 263–79; for information on bookbinding see further Tony Bradshaw, ‘Virginia Woolf and Book Design’, 280–97; and for information on Woolf ’s habit of scrapbooking, see further Merry M. Pawlowski, 298–313, all in The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts. 55. David Garnett, ‘Virginia Woolf: A Portrait’, in Virginia Woolf: Interviews and Recollections, ed. J. H. Stape (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1995), 157. Maggie Humm erroneously attributes this to Duncan Grant, Angelica Bell’s lover. David Garnett, another prolific member of the Bloomsbury group, had an affair with Duncan Grant but later married Angelica Bell. As Hermione Lee reports, Angelica’s father was most likely Duncan Grant, rather than Clive Bell. Thus, David Garnett married the illegitimate child of Vanessa Bell and his previous lover. See further Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf (London: Chatto & Windus, 1996). 56. Detailed in Marianne Hirsch, ‘Introduction: Familial Looking’, in The Familial Gaze (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1999), xiii, xi. 57. Hirsch, Family Frames, 53. 58. Ibid., 22. 59. See further Celia Lury, Prosthetic Culture: Photography, Memory, and Identity (London: Routledge, 1997), who discusses the implications for identity and selfidentification in a culture of digital photography. 60. Annette Kuhn, Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination (London: Verso, 1995), 6. 61. Ibid., 128. 62. Smith, Politics of Focus, 68–9. 63. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (London: Vintage, 1993), 77. 64. See further ­chapter 4 of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002). 65. Langford, Suspended Conversations, 157.

8 Photographic communities: Time, family and tyranny in The Voyage Out (1915) and The Years (1937) 1. Margaret Olin, Touching Photographs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 16. 2. Nancy Martha West, Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000), 159. 3. Kate Flint, ‘Virginia Woolf and Victorian Aesthetics’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts, ed. Maggie Humm (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 24–5.



4. Jennifer Green-Lewis, Victorian Photographs, Literature, and the Invention of Modern Memory: Already in the Past (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), 32. 5. Jane Garrity, ‘Virginia Woolf, Intellectual Harlotry, and 1920s British Vogue’, in Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, ed. Pamela L. Caughie (New York: Garland, 2000), 186. 6. Marion Dell, Virginia Woolf ’s Influential Forebears: Julia Margaret Cameron, Anny Thackeray Ritchie and Julia Prinsep Stephen (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 1. 7. Jessica Berman, Modernist Fiction, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Community (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 122. 8. Maggie Humm, ‘Memory and Photography: The Photo Albums of Virginia Woolf ’, in Photography and Literature in the Twentieth Century, ed. David Cunningham, Andrew Fisher and Sas Mays (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2005), 42. 9. Dell, Virginia Woolf ’s Influential Forebears, 94. 10. Emily Dalgarno, Virginia Woolf and the Visible World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 5. 11. J. Hillis Miller, Fiction and Repetition: Seven English Novels (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), 186. 12. Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). All further page numbers are in parentheses. 13. There are very few specifics about where exactly in South America the novel is set. On the one hand, this serves the colonial undertone of the novel, demonstrating white Western European society’s ability to override local customs and traditions. On the other hand, the trip to South America becomes a cipher for a journey into unknown, foreign lands. The lack of geographic specifics generalizes the experience of the unknown to the reader. 14. Virginia Woolf, The Years (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 318. All further page numbers are in parentheses. 15. 8 February 1932 to Lady Ottoline Morrell, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume V, 1929–1932, ed. Andrew McNeillie (London: Hogarth Press, 2009), 16. 16. As discussed in Chapter 7. Cf. c­ hapter 4 of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002). 17. Louise Hornby, Still Modernism: Photography, Literature, Film (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 9. 18. Qtd in Maggie Humm, ‘The Story behind the Pictures’, The Guardian, 15 November 2003, http://www.theg​uard​ian.com/books/2003/nov/15/class​ics.virgin​iawo​olf (accessed November 2015). 19. Referenced in Smith College Library’s caption to a photography contained in Leslie Stephen’s photograph collection. Accessed here: http://www.smith.edu/librar​ies/libs/ rareb​ook/exhi​biti​ons/step​hen/33c.htm (accessed May 2015). 20. Virginia Woolf, ‘A Sketch of the Past’ (18 April 1939–17 November 1940), in Moments of Being: Unpublished Autobiographical Writings, ed. Jeanne Schulkind (London: Chatto and Windus for Sussex University Press, 1976), 68. 21. Ibid., 67–8. 22. Ibid., 68. 23. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 57. 24. Ibid., 78–9.



25. Elaine Showalter, A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing (Bristol: Princeton University Press, 1977), 264. 26. Diane F. Gillespie, ‘ “Her Kodak Pointed at His Head”: Virginia Woolf and Photography’, in The Multiple Muses of Virginia Woolf, ed. Diane F. Gillespie (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1993), 146. 27. Ibid. 28. 14 January 1929, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume IV, 1929–1931, ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (London: Hogarth Press, 1978), 6–7. 29. On a superficial level, the repetition of the ‘Cockney photographer’ in both descriptions of Theresa’s photograph could be an allusion to Woolf, who once identified herself as a Cockney (Woolf, 7 May 1905, A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897–1909, ed. Mitchell A. Leaska (London: Hogarth Press, 1990), 271). It is perhaps difficult to imagine her ‘Cockney’ heritage in face of the later Bloomsbury image of Woolf. However, the reiteration of her geographical background clearly underpins not only Woolf ’s own identity but also the identities of characters within The Voyage Out. 30. Marilyn F. Motz, ‘Visual Autobiography: Photograph Albums of Turn-of-the-Century Midwestern Women’, American Quarterly, 41:1 (1989), 67. 31. This quotation is taken from Martha Langford’s Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001). This book focuses on the parallels between oral history, archiving and the family photograph album. However, it also makes clear that photograph albums work as community-making spaces by working across generational and gender boundaries. 32. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (London: Vintage, 1993), 103. 33. Ibid., 65–6. 34. Professional photographer. 35. Virginia Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Volume 4: 1931–1935, ed. Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie (London: Hogarth Press, 1982), 124. 36. Elizabeth Hirsch provides a helpful overview of the way in which Woolf ’s image has been used across the past century. ‘Virginia Woolf and Portraiture’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf. 37. John Berger, ‘Uses of Photography’, in About Looking (New York: Vintage, 1992), 56. 38. Pierre Bourdieu, Photography: A Middle-Brow Art, trans. Shaun Whiteside (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990), 29. 39. Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album (MH-5), 1892–1938 and undated, Cambridge, MA, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Harvard Theatre Collection MS Thr 562. https://nrs.harv​ard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:4395​ 033 (accessed April 2021). 40. Kate Flint, Flash!: Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 10. 41. Woolf to Vanessa Bell, 11 April 1920, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume II, 1888– 1912, ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (London: Hogarth Press, 1976), 428. 42. Qtd in Elizabeth Hirsch, ‘Virginia Woolf and Portraiture’, 173; and Maggie Humm, ‘The Story behind the Pictures’, http://www.theg​uard​ian.com/books/2003/nov/15/ class​ics.virgin​iawo​olf (accessed November 2015). 43. Watts is responsible for some of the family portraits Woolf hung in her own homes. See above. 44. Thierry de Duvé, ‘Time Exposure and Snapshot: The Photograph as Paradox’, October, 5 (1978), 116. 45. Barthes, Camera Lucida, 103.



Coda(k): Professional writing, leisure and class 1. John Tagg, The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 118. 2. Margaret Olin, Touching Photographs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 132. 3. Jennifer Green-Lewis, Victorian Photography, Literature, and the Invention of Modern Memory: Already the Past (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), 58. 4. Linda Haverty Rugg, Picturing Ourselves: Photography & Autobiography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 9. 5. Pierre Bourdieu, Photography: A Middle-Brow Art, trans. Shaun Whiteside (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990), 47. 6. Both examples cited in Nancy Martha West, Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000), 25. 7. Ibid., 176–7. 8. Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 326. 9. West, Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia, 38. 10. Ibid., 40. 11. See Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (New York: B. W. Huebsch, [1899] 1912), for a detailed exploration of class and leisure at the end of the nineteenth century. 12. Bourdieu, Photography, 5–6. 13. Ibid., 7. 14. 14 January 1929, The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume IV, 1929–1931, ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann (London: Hogarth Press, 1978), 6–7. 15. Herman Melville to Evert Duyckninck, 12 February 1851, qtd in Moby-Dick (New York: Norton, 2002), 535. Qtd in Gavin Jones, Failure and the American Writer: A Literary History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 52. 16. Helen Groth, Victorian Photography and Literary Nostalgia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 190.

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Index 1861 Census  9, 163 The Academy  99, 107 accessibility  2, 53, 151 actors  15, 55–6, 58–65, 67, 69, 72–3, 78–9, 85–6, 105, 159, 163 actresses 53–4, 63, 65, 76, 86–7, 173 adherence  27, 41 advertisement, advertising  15, 57, 60, 65, 67, 69, 72, 79, 110, 158, 171, 175 affect  29, 125–7, 134–5 affordability 2–3, 12, 92, 154 alienation 136–8, 141–3, 147–8 amateur  1, 3–5, 7–13, 17, 21–2, 24, 34–7, 48, 56, 71, 73, 92, 129, 133, 138, 142, 149, 157–61, 163, 183 Amateur Photography  9 anarchy  93, 111–14, 180 ancestry  13, 16, 22, 128, 130, 134–5, 140, 142–3, 148, 154–5 Answers to Correspondents  10 anxiety  1, 4–5, 8, 11, 13, 24–5, 32–3, 58, 60, 74, 95, 138–9, 146, 149, 160 architecture  2, 16, 33–8, 159, 168–9 archiving, archivists  53–4, 56, 61, 64, 69–70, 173–4, 187 Armstrong, Nancy  3 Arthur White Memorial Library  57 asylum  70 Athenaeum  10 audience 8–10, 54, 64–5, 74, 78, 82–5, 87, 91–2, 94, 102, 110, 125, 131, 134, 150, 182 authenticity  8, 36, 69–70, 82, 103, 144 authorship  1, 4–5, 8–15, 24–30, 32–3, 38, 44–5, 48, 53, 57–9, 65, 77, 83, 87, 92–5, 97–9, 103–6, 108–11, 148, 159–60, 162–3, 166 autobiography  13, 131–2, 139

autograph  57, 59, 64, 175 automaticity  5, 7, 25–6, 29–30, 35, 166–7 Bagenal, Barbara  130, 184 Balfour, Eustace (Colonel)  34 Balzac, Honoré de  74 Barker, Ambrose J.  111 Barnard, Fred 60–1 Barrett Browning, Elizabeth  26–7, 128 Barthes, Roland Camera Lucida  27, 41, 55–6, 73, 148, 150, 155 ‘The Death of the Author’  5, 162 ‘The Photographic Message’  7, 114 Baudelaire, Charles  24 Becket  64 Beecher, Henry Ward  59 belief  16, 24, 26, 36, 39, 43, 46–7, 70, 73–6, 87, 93, 97, 100–3, 108, 137, 146, 169 Bell, Vanessa  129–32, 137–8, 143, 185 The Bells  58 Berger, John  149 Besant, Walter  14, 30, 99 ‘The Art of Fiction’  14, 30 biography  14, 126–8, 132, 139, 148 biological reproduction  33, 39–44, 180–1 bomb  93, 111–18, 120 book binding  133 book clubs  10 Boothby, Guy Newell  58–9 Boston Evening Telegraph  119 Boucicault, Dion  77 Bourdieu, Pierre  13, 131, 150, 157, 159 habitus  13 microcosm  13 Bourdin, Martial  111–13, 180 bourgeois  3, 159 British journalism  1, 9, 11, 15, 57, 93–4, 102–3, 109–13, 121, 163 British Medical Journal  76



Buck, Arthur E. A.  64 Buffalo Bill  79 Burne-Jones, Edward  143 Burne-Jones, Philip  53–4, 170 Caine, Hall  11, 57, 62, 106–7, 171 camera brands Brownie  3 Frena  129, 183 Kodak (see Kodak) Zeiss  129 camera elements aperture  81, 85 camera obscura  4, 56, 74–5, 86–7 developing fluid  7 film  3, 29, 55, 117–18, 129, 150 flash (bulb)  3, 16–17, 21, 81, 86, 115–16, 150–1 kinetoscope  103, 116 negatives 2–3, 23, 37, 129 plate 2–3, 6–7, 26, 30, 101–3, 129, 131–2 powder  3 shutter  74, 93, 113–14, 132 silver (nitrate)  2, 84, 104 zoetrope  116 Cameron, Julia Margaret  15, 63–4, 128, 130, 138, 143 capital  11, 13, 58 Carroll, Lewis (Charles Dodgson)  7, 63 ‘Photography Extraordinary’  7 celebrity  14–16, 21–2, 38, 54–5, 58–64, 87, 93, 97, 103–6, 148, 160 Charcot, Jean-Martin  75–7, 80 chemistry, chemicals  3, 7, 25–7, 84, 115 chronology  93, 113–14, 117–18, 133 chronophotography  16, 93, 116–17, 181 cinematography  7, 93–5, 116–19, 132, 177 circulating libraries  10, 31 class  2, 5, 8, 11, 15, 17, 28, 80, 138–9, 157–9, 163–4 lower-class  12, 159 middle-class  3, 11, 131, 138, 157–9 upper-class  8–12, 157–9, 176 clerical work  59, 69, 159, 172 Collins, Wilkie  10, 13 The Haunted Hotel  13 ‘The Unknown Public’  10 common reader  10–11

community  8–9, 13–15, 55–6, 59, 63, 72–3, 126, 136–9, 141–3, 145–50, 153, 157 composite photography  37, 80 Conan Doyle, Arthur  11 Conrad, John  107–8 Conrad, Joseph  4, 7–8, 11, 13, 15–17, 87, 91–121, 159 ‘The Black Mate’  16–17, 93, 97, 99–103, 108, 177 Heart of Darkness  102, 115 The Inheritors  11, 16, 93–5, 103–8, 159 Lord Jim  13 The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’  13 The Secret Agent  16, 93–4, 109–21 consumer 4–5, 7 copyright  64, 77–8 Cornhill Magazine  34 costume  28, 61–4 Crane, Stephen  97–9 Crary, Jonathan  4 Crockett, Samuel Rutherford  106–7 cultural production  4–5, 7–8, 10, 12–13, 22, 24, 26, 28–9, 32, 35, 38, 71, 110, 149, 154, 157–60 culture  3–5, 7–8, 10–17, 25, 29, 31–2, 39, 48–9, 54–8, 63, 65, 71, 79, 93–4, 103, 106–8, 110, 132, 138, 140, 151, 157–60 curiosity  21, 28–9, 41, 128, 146 Daguerre, Jacques Louis Mandé 2–3, 8, 56, 84 Daily Mail  57 Davenport brothers  75, 87 death, the dead  11, 17, 45–7, 54, 56, 73–5, 78, 82, 84–5, 91, 95–6, 101, 103, 108, 113, 115–20, 125–6, 128, 130, 137–8, 140–1, 143–4, 146, 149–51, 154–5 Debord, Guy  58 degeneration  31, 75, 80, 83 Dell, Marion  15, 130, 138–9 democracy  1, 3–5, 11, 139, 157–60 diaries (journals)  78, 110, 127, 131, 148, 158 Dictionary of National Biography  128 diorama  56, 84 Dircks, Henry  85

Index disbelief  43, 61, 70, 73–4, 82, 87, 93, 99–100, 102 disconnection  140, 149–50, 152 Disdéri, André-Adolphe Eugène  2 disgust  32, 34, 126 dislocation 140–1, 145, 148, 152 Disraeli, Isaac  9 dogs  11, 82, 97–8, 128, 183 domestic spaces  2, 11, 21–2, 35, 38, 71, 96–7, 108, 127, 129, 131, 133–4, 137–8, 141–3, 145–8, 152–4, 157 Donaldson, Thomas  59, 64 double-exposure 79–80 Duchenne (de Boulogne), GuillaumeBenjamin-Amand  76, 80 Duckworth, Stella  129 Eastlake, Elizabeth (Lady)  1–3 Eastman, George  3–4, 73 Edison, Thomas  103, 116 editors 8–9, 11, 14, 32, 94, 104–6, 128, 163 Egyptian Hall  82–3 ekphrasis  6, 45, 121, 127 elegy  128, 139 English Opera House  77 engraving  6, 14, 26, 104, 110, 120, 153, 160 executive work  57, 60 familial gaze  134, 144, 146, 155 familial looking  134, 136, 138, 143–4, 147–8, 154 familial myth  133–4 femininity 11–12, 15, 34, 54, 76, 85–6, 125, 131, 137, 139, 143, 146 fetish 41–2 First World War  7 Flint, Kate  3, 20, 115, 131–2, 151 Foote, Kate  59 Forbes-Robertson, Johnston  86 Ford, Ford Madox  16, 93, 103–6, 113–14, 117–18, 159 Forum  32 Fourth Dimension  104 frame  40, 42, 47–8, 57, 63, 72, 117–18, 133, 146, 150, 154 free indirect discourse  111, 119, 142, 152 Freud, Sigmund  75 Fry, Roger  127–8, 130


Fuller, Loïe  86 furniture  11, 38, 83, 152–5 Galton, Francis  80 Garnett, David  134, 185 Garnett, Edward  99, 109 gaze  55, 92, 111, 138–9 photographic gaze  3 George, Jessie  91–2 ghost(s)  46, 74, 76, 85, 100–2, 109 Gissing, George  13, 103 New Grub Street  13, 103 Gordon, John  58 Gothic  55, 69, 72, 78, 105 grangerizing 151–2 The Graphic  31 graphic revolution  7, 31 Great Exhibition  1851, 31, 82 Green-Lewis, Jennifer  6, 16, 25, 138, 157 Greenwich Outrage  109, 111, 121 half–tone printing press  5–6, 110 Hamlet  101 Hardy, Florence Emily  14, 22 Hardy, Thomas  4–5, 7, 9–10, 13–16, 21– 49, 57, 92–4, 106, 108, 151, 159 ‘Candour in English Fiction’  31 Far from the Madding Crowd  23, 34 ‘An Imaginative Woman’  28, 33, 39–44, 46–7 Jude the Obscure 47–9 A Laodicean  16, 33–9, 43, 46–7 The Mayor of Casterbridge  32 ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’  28–9, 32 ‘The Science of Fiction’  14, 30 The Trumpet-Major  22 Tess of the D'Urbervilles  22, 32 Harmsworth, Alfred  10 Harper's Magazine  10 haunting  13, 15, 31, 46, 109, 121, 151, 154 Heinemann  106 Hillis Miller, J.  139 Hirsch, Marianne  133–5, 148 hobbies  8, 10, 131, 151 Hogarth Press  11 Houdini, Harry  75 Howitt, William  21 Humm, Maggie  125–7, 129–30, 133, 139



hypnotism 75–6 Hysteria  76, 80, 83 iconicity  15, 54, 58, 64–5, 71, 149 identity 4–5, 13, 15, 32, 37–8, 57, 79–80, 91, 95–7, 99, 101, 106–7, 113–14, 118, 120, 134–5, 139, 143–4, 147–50, 154–5 illness  140, 144, 152 illusion  49, 55, 70, 73–5, 81, 83–7 decapitation illusion  83 Pepper’s Ghost Illusion  85 Illustrated London News 111–13 illustration 31–2, 60, 62, 78, 107, 110, 120, 127–8, 132, 151 imitation  2, 25–8, 35, 38, 42, 44, 83, 94, 105, 121 impression  14, 26, 30, 104–5, 109, 113–14, 120, 134, 153 impressionism  93, 109, 113–14, 117–18, 120–1, 132 income 9–11 index, indexical  26, 28, 39–40, 42, 44–8, 93, 97, 128, 145 India rubber  114–16 individualism  16, 99, 105, 108, 131, 134, 137, 139, 148 inheritance  100, 104, 128, 130, 138, 143, 146 inscription  38, 45, 70, 72, 91–2, 95–6, 99, 130 inspiration  5, 9, 22–3, 61, 77, 84, 92, 106, 109–11, 120, 128, 142–3 instantaneous  81, 106, 108, 113–17 intergenerational relationships  16, 131, 146–7 interviews 14–15 irony  30, 32, 37, 99, 102 Irving, Henry  56–62, 64–5, 67, 69, 74–5, 77–9, 87 Ives, Frederic Eugene  6 Jack the Ripper  78–9 James, Henry  29–30, 99 journalism  1, 9, 11, 15, 57, 102–3, 109–13, 121 Jules-Marey, Étienne  116 Kipling, Rudyard  157 Knight, Joseph  60

Kodak (Codak)  1, 3–4, 12, 15, 21–4, 38, 65, 71–4, 81, 106, 129, 131–2, 151, 157–60 Kodakery  158 Lawrence, D. H.  13 The Rainbow  13 Lea, Hermann  9, 21–2 Leighton, Robert  57 leisure  8, 11, 61, 131, 157–60 letters  4, 11, 14–15, 21–3, 53–67, 77–8, 94–6, 99, 102, 106, 108–9, 111, 127, 130 Lewes, George Henry  9 lies, lying  100–3 life narrative  132, 134 likenesses  26, 42–3, 45, 47, 81, 97, 107, 130, 138, 141, 143–8, 150, 153, 155, 159 literacy  5, 10–11 lithography  6, 61–2, 71, 107, 120 Lombroso, Cesare  80 Lumière brothers  102–3, 117–18 Lyceum theatre  14–15, 53, 55, 57–60, 62, 69, 75–8, 82–3, 159 Madonna 142–3 magazines 8–10, 27, 31, 48, 104, 110, 158, 160 Magic Lantern  85–6, 117 manager  9, 14–15, 53, 57–60, 69, 77, 82–3, 85 Mansfield, Richard  78–80, 86 Marder, Elissa  46 marketing, marketplace  3–4, 7, 9–12, 15, 62, 79, 103 marriage  35, 54, 91, 104, 119–20, 128, 130 Marschner, Heinrich  77 Maskelyne, John Nevil, and George Cooke  83 mass media  3, 5, 8, 10–12, 15, 25, 31, 39, 62, 65, 69–71, 103–5, 110, 120, 138, 160 mass public  3, 6–8, 11, 24, 60, 64, 110, 138, 157–60 McLeay, James Franklin  62–3 McLuhan, Marshall  29 mechanicalness, mechanisms  6–8, 24–5, 27–33, 39, 47–9, 70, 93–4, 97–9, 103, 106, 108, 111, 113–16, 129

Index medium (person)  74–5, 96 Melville, Herman  160 memoir  128, 132 memory 16–17, 70, 95–6, 125–6, 131–5, 139–40, 153–5 Merleau–Ponty, Maurice  116 Mesmer, Franz  76 mesmerism  7, 26 Metcalf, Lorettus S.  32 metonymy  27, 38, 42, 44–5 middlebrow  5, 11–13, 34, 138, 157 mimesis  25, 121 mirror(s)  55, 71, 143, 148, 152 Mitford, Mary Russell  26 modernism  5, 8, 10, 12, 16, 35, 38, 110, 118, 120, 126, 139, 142 modernity  12, 14–17, 21, 28–9, 31, 33–6, 38–9, 83, 86, 93–4, 106, 110, 117, 131–2, 137, 139, 160 moment  8, 13, 16, 41, 46, 63, 79, 81, 86, 93, 113–20, 131–4, 140, 143, 145, 151–2, 154, 158 Monk’s House album  15, 129, 133–4, 149 montage 118–20 Morrell, Ottoline (Lady)  133 Morris, William  34 motherhood 40–4, 86, 119–20, 128, 138–48, 154–5 motion, movement  45, 56, 81, 83–5, 94, 106, 116–20, 148, 158 mourning  17, 154–5 moving pictures  93, 103, 111, 114, 116–21 Mrs Clement Scott  86 Mrs Patrick Campbell, née Beatrice Stella Tanner 53–4, 170 mundanity, everyday life  5, 10, 14, 24, 27–31, 48, 57, 62–4, 129, 131–2, 134, 138, 157, 160 Muybridge, Eadweard  116–17 narrator  6, 13, 28, 34, 45–6, 70, 93, 100, 102, 105, 113, 119, 142, 152 national identity  91, 95–7, 104, 180 New York Daily Graphic  110 Newnes, George  10 newspapers  6, 14, 38, 62, 78, 86, 101, 109–11, 120, 125, 127, 133, 157 The New Statesman  11 The New York World  13


Niépce, Joseph Nicéphore  56 Nodier, Charles  77 Le Vampire  77 Nordau, Max  75, 80 nostalgia  17, 108, 133, 139, 157 Olin, Margaret  137–8, 141, 157 oration  75, 82, 135 ordinary  7, 132, 144, 159 Orvell, Miles  70 painter  2, 11, 22, 86, 107 painting(s)  2, 22, 24–5, 53–4, 56, 84, 107, 116, 138 paranoid reading  135, 141 Partridge, Bernard (Sir)  61 patriarchy  54, 125 Pawling, Sydney S.  106 Pearson, Cyril Arthur  10 Pearson’s Weekly  10 Peary, Robert E.  157 Pemberton, Thomas Edgar  60 penny journals  10, 104 performance, performativity  54–6, 62–5, 72–80, 83, 85–6, 116, 159 phantasmagoria 84–6 Phillipps, Evelyn March  1, 3, 7 phonograph  70 photograph album  15, 126, 128–35, 139, 146, 149–150, 153 cartes de visite  2, 56 cyanotype  27 daguerreotype 2–3, 26, 132 portrait  2–3, 15–16, 26, 36, 38, 40–2, 45, 47, 53, 55–63, 66, 74, 79, 91–3, 96, 99, 102, 107, 130–2, 134, 137, 141–9, 151, 153–5, 159–60, 169 Röntgen rays (see X–ray) studio portrait  56, 64, 95, 99, 131–2, 142, 149, 159 snapshot  1, 3, 7, 16, 22, 27, 95, 111, 113, 116–18, 129, 131–4, 137, 149–52 X-ray  16, 73 photographers Cadby, Will  108 Dickinson & Foster  61 Elmer Chickering  62 Gilbert & Bacon  63

216 Landy, Ohio  62 Lenare  148 Sarony, Napoleon  64–6 photographer, operator  1, 3, 5, 7–9, 21–2, 24, 34–7, 48, 61, 64, 72, 75, 91, 96–9, 105–8, 116, 132, 138, 142, 144, 147, 157–9 photography studio  64, 99, 151 photogravure  6 photojournalism 93–4 photolithography  6 physiognomy 80–2 Pinker, Eric  9, 94 Pinker, James Brand  8, 108 Planché, John Robinson  77 poems, poetry  13, 21–3, 33–4, 40, 42–8, 127 Polidori, John  77 Pollock, Walter Herries  60 popular 1–6, 11, 16–17, 22, 29, 31–2, 38, 48–9, 59, 61–2, 64, 73, 75, 80, 82, 85–6, 94, 97, 101, 106–8, 110, 116, 131–2, 143, 151, 157 pornography  114 portfolio  2, 27 postmemory 134–5, 155 post-mortem photography  17 privacy  22, 41, 86, 94, 135, 139, 148–51, 155, 159 professional  1, 5, 8–10, 12–16, 29, 32, 54–60, 71, 75, 77, 83, 87, 91–3, 95, 105–8, 126, 128, 138, 143–4, 148–9, 159–60, 163 professionalization 8–10, 48, 162 projectionist 117–19 projector  103, 119–20 Proust, Marcel  13 public(s)  1, 3–8, 10–11, 14, 21–2, 26–7, 31–2, 34, 48, 57, 61, 63–5, 67, 73, 76–9, 98, 104, 107, 111, 113, 128, 138, 149, 151, 153, 157–60 public/private space  5, 14, 22, 24, 38, 149–50, 152–3, 155 publicity, press  9, 11, 15, 29, 32, 60–2, 65, 73, 78–80, 82, 101, 103, 106, 109–11, 117, 120–1, 125, 148 Publishers’ Association  9

Index publishing  7, 9–11, 13, 22–3, 27, 31–2, 58–60, 71, 73, 77, 93–4, 99, 103, 108, 110, 120, 125–6, 128, 148–9, 151, 157 Punch  61 Quarterly Review  73 Queen Victoria  64 Quinn, John  117 readership  5, 12, 65, 110 real life, reality  5, 8, 22–30, 33, 35–6, 38–48, 61, 67, 69–70, 72–3, 76, 78–9, 86–7, 94, 97, 100, 106–11, 114, 120, 127–8, 133, 135, 144–5, 148–51 realism  8, 12, 25, 28, 39, 48, 70, 99 literary realism  4–5, 30–32 photo–realism, realism in photography  4, 25 Redford, George Alexander  77 referent  26–7, 39–40, 42–3, 45, 47, 148 remuneration, payment  9–10, 32, 35, 59–60, 78 representation 4–5, 8, 13, 22–30, 33–48, 54, 60, 62, 73–4, 76, 80, 92, 96–7, 101, 104–7, 111, 126, 133, 137, 145, 149, 154, 158–9 reproduction  2–3, 6–7, 11, 25, 30–1, 33–5, 38–9, 42–4, 47–9, 53, 61–2, 70, 104–5, 108, 110, 114, 119–20, 125, 149, 151, 154, 157, 160 resemblance  26, 40, 43, 46–8, 73, 97, 127, 144, 146–8, 152 ‘Robertson’ Robert, Étienne-Gaspard  85 Robinson, Henry Peach  48 Röntgen, Wilhelm Conrad  73 Rossetti, Dante Gabriel 43–4 Rothenstein, William  144 Sackville-West, Vita  128, 151 scene  13, 21, 23, 55, 60, 64, 73, 83–5, 101, 117–20, 130, 135, 151 science  2, 17, 24, 27, 36, 74–6, 82 scopophilia  114 scrapbook  133 The Second Mrs Tanqueray  54 seer  24, 29–30, 48 self-consciousness  14, 23, 76, 150, 152–3 self-identification  106, 126, 143, 152 self-reflection  147

Index sensationalizing  1, 74, 78, 111 sentiment 47–8, 96, 109, 144, 151 serial publications 8–10 sideshow  82 simulacra  64, 70, 127 skeleton  56, 73–4, 81, 83 Smith, Lindsay  4, 25, 133, 135 Society of Authors  9 somnambulism  75 Spanish Civil War  125 spectacle  54–6, 58–9, 62–5, 67, 73–4, 76–9, 82–3, 86–7 spectrality  74, 84, 101, 140, 142, 147 speed  16, 105, 115–18, 132 Spirit of the Times  64 spirit photography  16, 55, 74–5, 85, 87, 93, 99–103 spiritualism  26, 30, 74–6, 83, 87, 100–3 The Stage  58 staging  49, 55–6, 58, 62–5, 70, 74–5, 77– 80, 82–3, 85–7, 91, 93, 97, 103, 105, 128, 131, 149–50 Stephen, Adrian  129, 131, 138 Stephen, Julia Prinsep (née Jackson) 137–9, 143–4 Stephen, Leslie  14, 128–32, 137, 143 The Mausoleum Book 128–32 Stephen, Thoby  131 Stepniak, Sergei  111 Stevenson, Robert Louis  78–80 The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 78–9 Stoker, Bram  4, 7, 13–15, 17, 53–87, 159 Dracula 15–17, 53–5, 57–9, 65, 67, 69–87 The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland 69–70 Miss Betty  77 storytelling  1, 13, 126, 128, 133 Strachey, Alix  151 Strachey, Lytton  141 superficiality  48, 63, 65, 67, 99, 119 supernatural  15, 17, 54, 74–7, 82, 84, 87 synecdoche  133, 135, 139, 148 syntax  114, 120 Tableau Vivant  56, 83, 117 Tagg, John  4, 157 Talbot, William Henry Fox  8


taste  5, 8, 11–12, 21, 31, 37–8, 48 telepathy  75 telephone  108 telegraphy, telegrams  28, 35–9, 70 temporality, time  3, 7, 11–12, 16–17, 31, 36, 56, 61, 111, 113, 115–20, 131–2, 134, 139–40, 142, 144–5, 150, 154– 5, 157 Tennyson, Alfred Lord  58 Idylls of the King  128 Tennyson, Hallam  58 terrorism  113 Terry, Ellen  15, 54, 58, 60–2, 64, 66–7, 79, 86, 130 testimony  24, 74, 125–8, 133 Thackeray Ritchie, Anny  138 Thackeray, Harriet Marian (Minny)  128 Tit–Bits  10, 102 Tittle, Walter Ernest 107–8 tourism 21–3, 71, 157–8 trademark  4 tradition  10, 12–13, 16, 34–5, 38–9, 48, 56, 76, 82, 100, 109, 125, 133–4, 138–9, 143 transcendentalists  29 trauma  132 trick photograph  33, 35–7, 46, 55, 71, 79, 81, 85–7, 99 truth  24, 28–32, 36–8, 41, 43, 48, 93, 97, 100, 102–3, 107, 125–7, 134, 148, 151, 155 Tyars, Frank  60 typewriting  28, 70–1, 106 uncanny  17, 33, 39, 42, 44, 46, 55, 71, 73, 75, 81, 84 unconsciousness  76 unlikeness  62, 145–50 Vampire  17, 53–5, 67, 71, 73–5, 77–87 Van Beine, August  60 Vanity Fair  106 Vaughan, Madge  142 violence 85–6, 115, 125, 150–1 vision  4, 13, 25, 29, 36–7, 56, 67, 74, 92, 99, 101, 115, 119–20, 134, 139, 143, 153–4, 158 visual culture  12, 25, 31 Vogue  138

218 Walpole, Hugh  98 Ward, Albert  62 Ward, Geneviève  54, 61–2, 64 Watts, G. F.  137–8, 153 Wessex  9, 21–4, 32, 35, 44 Whitby  57, 72, 83–4, 173 Whitehead, Frederick  22 Whitman, Walt  59 Wilde, Oscar  64 Willard, E. S.  60 Winter, William  57 Wood, Charles (Viscount Halifax)  77 Woodcut  120 Woolf, Leonard  129–30, 151 Woolf, Virginia  4–5, 11, 13–16, 123–55, 158–9

Index ‘The Art of Biography’  126 ‘Ellen Terry’  15 Flush: A Biography 127–8, 135 Freshwater  15, 130 ‘Middlebrow’  11, 138 Moments of Being  13, 143 Orlando: A Biography 127–8, 151 Roger Fry: A Biography 127–8 ‘A Room of One’s Own’  143 Three Guineas 125–6, 130, 133, 135 The Voyage Out  16, 137–55, 158 The Years  16, 133, 137–55 Yorke, Alexander Grantham  64 The Yorkshireman  62