Otto Neurath, "Long before I started to read I started to look at books that contained pictures and maps in my father's library. I looked especially at the atlas intended to accompany Alexander von Humboldt's famous Cosmos. Here were deserts, mountains, clouds, seas, strange plants and unfamiliar animals, marvels of many sorts. This world, presented in delightful drawing and colouring, satisfied my longing for a cosmic view. The arrangement of our library helped my liking for books with pictures. As often happens, the large books, many of which contained pictures and maps, were kept in the tall bottom shelves. I would take them out and lie down on the floor to look at them. I liked that position. Most children do. I soon realised the difference between pictures `made for children', and pictures with a more general appeal. I found that books describing inventions and crafts for children did so by using large pictures and `big' figures, but pictures intended for adults were smaller and not so colourful. The colourful pictures when the colours were clear attracted me much more than when they were vague and indeterminate. I have always remembered this." quoted from the Neurath manuscript, in Future Books, Vol III (undated) c 1949

Otto Neurath was a pioneer not just of European Socialism but of the visual presentation of statistical information (the Isotype Institute whose archives are in the University of Reading). The Future essay is rare and no further extension was published as far as I know. His reputation was based on the ability of the designer with Isotype's pictograms to impart sophisticated bodies of stastistical information with pictograms. There is a sort of telephone book of available pictograms published and in the University of Brighton Library.



William Saroyan, "To tell a story implies plainly a narrative ability. How to intersperse description with action, and in what quantities ? How much to dwell on the minor activities of a character, which will reveal that character, before continuing the major action of the drama itself ? How much dialogue? How much straight statement, how much silent implication of the underlying theme ? And so on. All these quantities will depend on nothing but the quality of the author's taste, and on his response to certain undeniable influences in life outside literature. I mean technical influences like, say, the cinema. Add now television and the increased of the photographed image in newspapers, magazines. In short, the great new currency of the Image. Whether this enormous pictorial increase makes us see more clearly is debatable: it is possible that too quick a succession of images becomes blurred, cancels itself out, as with the pictures in an art gallery when one tries to see too much in too short a visit; it is possible that a Victorian faced with a few oleographs absorbed much more (compare the lasting impression of the illustrations in a book read and prized in childhood). But what is certain is that the frequency of the image projected at us has resulted in an increase of movement or action. Even a motionless photographed figure, static in itself, implies action before and afterwards. And certainly in films and television you cannot have a figure on the screen sitting about and doing nothing for long. This has had its effect on writing. The pace has increased. " from William Sansom, The Birth of a Story, Chatto & Windus 1972.


"Grammar contributes to painting its concordances; dialectics its logical conclusions; rhetoric its persuasion; poesie its inventive power; oratory its figures of speech; arithmetic its numbers; music its harmonies; symmetry its measures; architecture its level planes; sculpture its roundness; perspective and optics their magnification and diminution; and finally astromony and astrology their talents for the knowledge of the heavenly images. Who can doubt that [painting] , the transcendent sum total of all arts, is the chief art which comprises all the others ?" Antonio Palomino, "Pictorial Museum and Optical Scale," 1795-7, in E.Holt A Documentary History of Art Vol 2. An unusually grandiloquent claim when the creation of imagery was seen often as a lowly and undemanding servant of the other Arts.



"I grew older. Books began to interest me. Buffalo Bill's adventures and Salgari's voyages carried me far away into the world of dreams..."

Pablo Neruda Memoirs, of his own childhood.


Graham Greene staying with his uncle, at Harston in Cambridge. Aged c 8, "It was at Harston I found quite suddenly I could read - the book was Dixon Brett, Detective. I didn't want anyone to know of my discovery, so I read only in secret, in a remote attic, but my mother must have spotted what I was at all the same, for she gave me Balantyne's Coral Island for the train journey home - always an interminable journey with the long wait between trains at Bletchley. I still wouldn't admit my new talent, and I stared at the only illustration all the way to the junction. No wonder it so impressed itself on my memory that I can see with my mind's eye today the group of children posed on the rocks. I think I feared that reading represented the entrance to the Preparatory School.... I detested that absurd book Reading Without Tears. How could I be interested in a cat that sat on a mat ? I couldn't identify with a cat. Dixon Brett was another matter, and he had a boy assistant, who might easily, I thought, be myself....[of terrors] Another recurring terror was of the house catching fire at night and I associate it with the sticky colour plates in the Boy's Own Paper recording the exploits of heroic firemen. " Lists of favourite books of the period, Beatrix Potter and the influence on the writing of Brighton Rock. "The influence of early books is profound. So much of the future lies on our shelves: early reading has more influence on conduct than any religious teaching. I feel certain I would not have made a false start, when I was twenty-one, in the British American Tobacco Company, which had promised me a post in China, if I had never read Captain Gilson's Lost Column, and without a knowledge of Rider Haggard would I have been drawn later to Liberia ?" G.Greene, A Sort of Life.