The internet and the return of multimodal literacy

From Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement pg 83:

This pattern is epitomized by the career of the novel, which in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries often included frontispieces, plates, and so on. But all of these elements gradually faded away, over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, until the very word illustration became a pejorative, not just within fiction but in all the arts. It was as if every doorway and window that might allow us to escape the confines of language had to be slammed shut, to make sure that humans had no company in their dwindling world but their own abstractions and concepts. This, indeed, is a horizon within which every advance is achieved at the cost of “making the world more unlivable.” But then came a sea change: with the Internet we were suddenly back in a time when text and image could be twinned with as much facility as in an illuminated manuscript. It is surely no coincidence that images too began to seep back into the textual world of the novel; then came the rise of the graphic novel—and it soon began to be taken seriously.

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