Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Doré, Gustave

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(1832-1883) French illustrator and painter, active in London from 1868. He founded the Doré Gallery in 1869 (in quarters currently occupied by Sotheby's); here his grandiloquent, moody Romanticism attracted a large public – and the obloquy of John Ruskin. GD's first illustrated text was an edition of François Rabelais (1854); later illustrated texts included Dante Alighieri's Inferno (1861), Charles Perrault's Fairy Tales (1862), Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote (1863), Fairy Realm (1865) by Thomas Hood (1835-1874), Fables (1867) by Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695), John Milton's Paradise Lost (1866) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1875). The impassioned, "sublime" chiaroscuros of these illustrations conveyed a sense of simultaneous congestion and vastness, and they have been influential on illustrators of the Fantastic ever since, beginning with Aubrey Beardsley and continuing into the time of artists like Virgil Finlay. In London: A Pilgrimage (1872), with text by Blanchard Jerrold (1826-1884), GD created in visual terms an analogue of the version of London – as a mephitic Babylon – which dominated the later work of Charles Dickens. Although not specifically supernatural, these drawings – perhaps mainly through their overpowering theatricality – are central to fantasy's vision of Urban Fantasy. [JC]

see also: Comics; Dante's Inferno (1935).

Gustave Doré


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.