UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


Date of this Version

Spring 4-13-2016

Document Type



Dunekacke, Amzie. "Victorian Counter-Worlds and the Uncanny: The Fantasy Illustrations of Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham." UCARE Poster Session. Nebraska Union, Lincoln. 13 Apr. 2016. Poster Presentation.


Copyright © 2016 Amzie A. Dunekacke


I will prepare an in-depth examination of the different, often opposing ways illustrators Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham portray elements of fantasy in their fairy tale illustrations. Fantasy in fairy tales became very popular during the “Golden Age of Illustration” in Britain, which lasted from the mid nineteenth century until the First World War. Fantasy served as a form of escapism from the rigidity of Victorian society and the increasingly industrialized culture. In my examination, I will focus on how Crane and Rackham’s separate styles use or abandon elements of fantasy such as the horrific and grotesque, anthropomorphism of animals and plants, and fantastical creatures like goblins, ghosts, spirits, and fairies.

I will contrast Crane’s crisply defined barriers between what is fantastical and what is ordinary to Rackham’s blurring of fantasy and reality. Crane’s illustrations depict a clearer boundary between truth and imagination and usually communicate comical or pleasant feelings. Rackham’s illustrations, on the other hand, are less shaped by reality and make the familiar frightening by employing seductive and grotesque tones. Crane and Rackham’s distinct approaches to portraying fantasy reveal much about their differing artistic values and views about children readers.