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Picturing a World

Helen Stratton's Tempest

I honestly don't remember why I set this image aside for a blog post. True, a 1905 retelling of a Shakespearean story fits into the time frame for Mattie in my work-in-progress to have seen it, and Helen Stratton is one of those forgotten female artists it's fun to rediscover. What strikes me today, though, is the figure of Caliban. When you've just read Kindred, he would!

He looks more like one of those precursors of homo sapiens in a cartoon than a malicious monster—perhaps because the Lambs describe him as "far less human in form than an ape."
Miranda, moreover, looks like an eight-year-old, although illustrations in the interior of the book show her as Charles and Mary Lambs' "very beautiful young lady" for whom a romance with Ferdinand is appropriate. In any case, here Miranda seems afraid of Caliban, while he seems unaware of her. Indeed, as Stratton portrays him, he is passive as he is being led by a Prospero, who is totally absorbed in his book.
Question: Why do you suppose Stratton chose to illustrate a time before the action of the play? 

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