Hypatia : [2 volumes] or, New Foes with an Old Face
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1895.
Illustrated by William Martin Johnson. Hardcover. Very Good- with no dust jacket. Item #15401
Spine head tear and chipping, leather rubbed, otherwise light wear. Solid hardcovers. ; Kingsley's popular 1853 novel Hypatia, said to be the favorite novel of Queen Victoria, is a fictionalised life of the female neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, Hypatia, and "tells the story of a young monk called Philammon who travels to Alexandria, where he becomes mixed up in the political and religious battles of the day. Intended as Christian apologia, it reflects typical 19th-century religious sentiments of the day." - Wikipedia. Despite the passage of time, Hypatia became a favorite again of late Victorians with its mix of a strong female protagonist and classical history. In the US, women became a key audience for historical fiction. The Ladies' Home Journal editor, illustrator William Martin Johnson, had strong success with his illustrated Harper edition of Ben Hur. "Johnson’s illustrations are remarkable for their detail, abundance and variety. There are full-page illustrations of scenes from the novel, each chapter has an illustrated heading and on nearly every page there are smaller vignettes. ... [In] Hypatia we find illustrations of a mixture of antique objects, (ancient buildings, statues, wall paintings, Greek vases, weapons) but also a plethora of flowers, animals and jewels, which sometimes, but not always, refer directly to scenes or objects mentioned in the text. ... Johnson’s approach to imagining history visually turns the text into a historical artefact and the Harpers’ edition presents the reader with a collection of objects to delight the eye. In the process of engaging with them, readers of antique fiction, especially women, are turned into spectators and consumers of the classical past." - "Charles Kingsley’s Hypatia, Visual Culture and Late-Victorian Gender Politics"; Victoria Mills; Journal of Victorian Culture, Volume 25, Issue 2, April 2020, Pages 240–263, particularly section 3. A Female Audience for Historical Fiction: The Harpers' Edition of Hypatia. An attractive set of this unusually significant illustrated edition. ; Drawings; [xxv], 388; 391-771 in 2v pages.