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The Illustrated London News, launched in 1842, was the world's first illustrated newspaper and an immediate success. Its first report on Japan, however, was not until eleven years later when as a result of Commodore Perry's much discussed plan to 'open' Japan it published a substantial piece entitled 'The United States Expedition to Japan' in the issue of 7 May 1853, opening with the portentous words: 'The presence of a large and powerful American fleet in the Eastern Seas possesses an unexpected interest at the present moment...' This volume concludes in 1899, the year of ratification of the ending of the Unequal Treaties between Japan and the Great Powers, which had major implications for Japan and its nascent empire; yet the ILN failed to make any reference to it. Instead, its one report for the final year of the nineteenth century was on the launch of the British-built battleship Asahi, which was to play a major role in the Imperial Japanese Navy during the forthcoming Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) - a war which once again was to preoccupy the ILN pages. Thus, Japan and The Illustrated London News provides readers and researchers for the first time with a 'one-stop' access point to the complete record of reported events relating to Japan in the critical half century following its opening to the West.
Some of the topics of the 130 columns in the volume include "The Poetry of Commonplace Things", "The Rhetoric of Pacifism", "Socialism and Individualism", "The Morality of Melodrama", "Despotism and Democracies", "The Rails of Reality", "Patriotism Become True", "Facts versus False History", "The Fury of America", "Relativity against Reason" and "Controlling the Common Man". Volumes 27 through 37 are collected columns from The Illustrated London News Most of the weekly articles Chesterton wrote for The Illustrated London News have never been printed in book form until Ignatius Press undertook to do the collected works. These volumes contain all of Chesterton's columns in The Illustrated London News, beginning in 1905. The great majority have never appeared in book form. Chesterton lovers will be delighted to find this treasure filled with jewels quite the match of his best writing.

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