Sandro Jung

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2018/2019
discipline Literature
Distinguished Professor of English at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Research project

Transnational Literary History, Eighteenth-Century Book Illustration, and the Genre of the Robinsonade


Contributing to the transnational mapping of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe [RC] (1719) and the genre of the robinsonade, the project aims to recover the significance of the book illustrations and other paratexts that shaped the project corpus of 172 editions of 18th-century robinsonades published in English, French, Italian, and German. It will include translations of RC and other robinsonades and aim to produce an account of the European history of the robinsonade that draws on book-historical analysis and reception studies to establish that the genre was defined both by the novels themselves and their illustrations.


Methodologically, the project is innovative and original: it combines the systematic, diachronic study of hitherto unstudied book illustrations with the transnational examination of a pervasive literary genre the most prominent example of which has still not been comprehensively mapped in terms of its transnational iterations and impact. It is ground-breaking in its use of book illustrations as part of genre theorization, and it advocates that 18th-century reading experience was affected as much by readers’ visual literacy and by recall of intertextually associated illustrations as by the reading of the typographic text itself.


The project builds on the premise that book illustrations possess a unique status as paratexts, as they frequently accompanied first/early editions of robinsonades, ahead of other paratexts such as memoirs and glossaries that were predominantly added once a text’s cultural status had been consolidated. Book illustrations thus entertained close, interpretive relationships with the texts they accompanied and, in the context of the robinsonade, cast into visual form through the use of particular motifs some of the generic expectations readers associated with the genre. Not only will the project extend existing work on the book illustrations of RC, which to date has been selective and focused on national traditions, but it will also establish the role that illustrations held in the defining of the genre of the robinsonade.


By interrelating illustrations that accompanied various European editions of RC with those of editions of different robinsonades, a network of interpretive engagement with both the text and the genre on the part of illustrators can be recovered that mediates varying reading experience. These illustrators cumulatively generate a visual archive of illustrations that serve as meaningful interpretive commentary on the developing genre of the robinsonade itself.


The result of this project will be an illustrated monograph that disentangles the complex meanings of book illustrations as part of the writing/marketing of robinsonades, as well as how this archive of illustrations adds to literary-historical narratives about the European development of the genre. A second outcome will consist in an open-access bibliography of illustrated robinsonades, to be accompanied by scans of the illustrations.




Sandro Jung is Distinguished Professor of English at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. Previously he was a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel & Senior Research Fellow in English at the University of Salford. Other posts or fellowships include a EURIAS Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, the Sterling Maxwell Fellowship in Text and Image Studies at Glasgow University, a Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Salford, and a Hiob Ludolf Senior Fellowship at the Forschungszentrum Gotha, as well as the positions of BOF Research Professor of Early Modern British Literature and Culture and the Founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Text and Print Culture at Ghent University (Belgium). He holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Wales Lampeter.

Selected publications


Kleine artige Kupfer: Buchillustration im 18. Jahrhundert, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 2018.


The Publishing and Marketing of Illustrated Literature in Scotland, 1760-1825, Lehigh University Press, Bethlehem, 2017.


Thomson’s ‘The Seasons’, Print Culture, and Visual Interpretation, 1730-1842, Lehigh University Press, Bethlehem, 2015.


The Fragmentary Poetic: Eighteenth-Century Uses of an Experimental Mode, Lehigh University Press, Bethlehem, 2009.


David Mallet, Anglo-Scot: Poetry, Patronage and Politics in the Age of Union, University of Delaware Press, Newark, 2008.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
discipline Cultural Studies
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
discipline Sociology and Social Policy
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
discipline Literature
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
discipline History