Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Alexander Roob

1) IV Reception

William James Linton died on New Year’s Eve 1897. He was dignified in the early Twenties as a prophet  and precursor in Paul Westheim´s influential Holzschnittbuch, which became a  bible of German woodblock expressionism. Westheim claims, that Linton “had a clear-sighted view for the situation by coming (...) to the conclusion, that the woodcut could only be retrieved by the artist becoming xylographers themselves.“ It is telling that the foremost political artist of the 19th century had his comeback as a writer only in the Fifties in a Russian Anthology of Chartist Literature.

The reception of Linton´s work has to be extremely unclear, since his endeavors had veered off in many different directions which probably only for him happily coexisted, each of which would write forth its own separate bibliography, their subjects often not knowing of each other. For reasons of clarity, it would make sense to distinguish several different Lintons: There is one Linton in the history of private presses, another Linton in the history of Victorian poetry, and yet another in the history of working class culture; then we have a Linton in the more specific scholarly field of research on Romanticism, and a Linton in the history of typography and the graphic arts; and then, we also frequently meet the concept of the Lintonesque in the work of a noted historian of photography.