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victorian review • Volume 34 Number 1 180 Dick Doyle’s Journal by Richard Doyle, edited by Juliet McMaster et al; pp. 109. Sydney: Juvenilia Press, 2006. $8.00 paper. Dick Doyle’s Journal is an annotated edition of five months of writing and illustrations taken from young Richard Doyle’s year-long journal written from January through December 1840. This edition, published by Juvenilia Press, begins with the first journal entry written and illustrated on 1 January and continues through the opening of the summer exhibition of the Royal Academy at the National Gallery, on 11 May 1840. In her critical introduction , the editor, Juliet McMaster, describes the Royal Academy opening as the “climax” of the journal.The Royal Academy experience, emphasizing Doyle’s professional growth and artistic interests, in conjunction with a bustling crowd scene in a cultural venue focused on the creative arts, concludes the journal at a significant moment for understanding and appreciating Doyle’s growth as an artist from young boy to famed Punch artist and illustrator for such Victorian heavyweights as Ruskin, Dickens, andThackeray. This edition of Dick Doyle’s juvenilia includes a critical introduction, edited manuscript, illustrations, and scholarly endnotes. McMaster’s critical introduction to the volume provides background information about the developing artist; details about the creative Doyle family and their private“Sunday shows,” outings, feedback, and collaborative behavior; and discussion of significant familial contacts and larger cultural influences relevant to Doyle’s growth as an artist. Overall, the introduction presents a detailed context within which to view and better understand this artist’s growth. In addition to providing a thorough context, the introduction also serves as a reading guide of sorts by directing the reader’s attention to prominent themes that emerge throughout the journal. McMaster claims early on that “the journal is an account of a keen young professional who rejoices at his own early success” (xiii). She emphasizes Doyle’s strengths as a spectator and budding art critic, the way his interest in reading informs his art, and his humour and wit. McMaster praises Doyle for his attention to social details, his ability to capture the energy of lively crowd scenes, and his talent for creating caricatures. Categorizing his work according to two modes—the realistic and the grotesque—McMaster concludes the introduction by discussing Doyle’s induction into Punch and the way he carried over to his professional life interests and practices described in the journal, such as extrapolating details from social circumstances, capturing scenes from the“world of print culture,” and creating effective caricatures of public figures.These thematic touchstones pave a clear reading path through some of Doyle’s more formless and undeveloped adolescent musings. The tone of the writing from the initial journal entry on Wednesday, 1 January 1840 is conversational, honest, and witty. Doyle reports: 181 Reviews The first of January. Got up late, very bad. Made good resolutions and did not keep them.Went out and got a cold. Did keep it. First thought I would, then thought I would not, was sure I would, was positive I would not, at last was determined I would, write a journal. Began it.This is it and I began it on the first of January, one thousand eight hundred and forty. Hope I may be skinned alive by wild cats if I don’t go on with it. (1) Doyle maintains this approach to journal writing throughout. Most of his entries are fairly brief. He responds physically and emotionally to scenes and occurrences, remains focused on the present (or immediate past), and tends not to rely on writing to help him work through serious issues. Doyle’s entries show that at this point in his professional development, he is most interested in and self-consciously aware of the act of publication itself and not the process of publication. While he comments on time constraints, negotiation among projects, illness, distractions, resources, and money, these comments are most often made regarding failures or successes in reaching an end-product and not directed toward understanding the publication process itself. His fixation on finishing TheTournament, a humorous representation of the Earl of Eglinton’s expensive medieval tournament held the year...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 180-182
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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