JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 770
It seems to me that even when the Victorians1 were busy doing something, nothing seemed to be happening--true too for me with this later period in Germany, under the command and control, for good and for ill, of Kaiser Wilhelm, German Emperor and King of Prussia from 1888 to the end of the Great War. There's a certain something to illustration at this time, creating wooden humans manikins, watching other wooden figures doing something at elevated speeds that made them seem motionless. I'm not sure what it is--perhaps propriety, perhaps the need to be visibly invisible, the sine qua non of behaving correctly.
I'm not sure what sort of special, invisible addition needs to be applied to Victorian/Wilhelmian Nothingness to add up to Something. There's a certain unexplained emptiness, motionlessness, nothingness to illustration in this period, and I'm always at a loss to save good examples of it--though today I have two good examples, found in the 7 April and 28 January 1904 issues of the Illustrirte Zeitung (Leipzig). For all of the excitement and action and crowds given in these daredevil bicycle demonstrations there seems to be not a breathe being breathed, or perhaps it was breathe breathed slowly. In any event, the situations seemed suspended in action and belief. Ironically this was also the age when the concept of "speed" was at the beginning of being completely re-written with the introduction of the car, airplane, internal combustion engine, widespread electrical networks, motion pictures, and so on--but none of this mattered in images like these, outstanding as they are for being scenes of action presented in a mosaic of stillness and quiet.
1. Yes, the Queen expired in January 1901, but the influence didn't necessarily die with her.