I'm still working my way through "Titus Groan" but I'm always pleasantly surprised when I turn the page to find a sketch by Peake inserted into the book. You don't normally find art in books outside of children's books so I find it intriguing to see how
Peake also completed illustrations for "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and My Hyde" by Robert Lewis Stevenson and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Colerigde. All seem well suited to his style as his illustrations tend to have a touch of the creepy and otherworldly.
Some of these interpretations are wrong in the context of the story but you see how much information you can gain just from looking at a person. Hopefully a character is far more complicated and nuanced than what you see at first glance but with an illustration you can picture them in your mind. I find this helps me when I'm reading a scene and trying to picture where everyone is and what they're doing.
This isn't very common in adult fiction though. My copy of "Alice in Wonderland" was illustrated and may very well have been done by Peake. The The Guardian has a piece on how fiction used to be illustrated. I want to say that a lot of stories also used to be serialized in newspapers, like Dickens for example, who felt that illustrations were important to his work. Today you rarely find that apart of literary magazines like 'The Fiddlehead', 'The Malahat Review' and 'Geist'. As well, more modern literature may not lend itself to illustration and may in fact be more internal than external, more about the mind than the physical world.
So what do you think? Does illustration in adult fiction contribute or detract from the story? Is it an unwanted interruption or an aspect that enhances your reading experience? Do you think we need more illustration in adult fiction or should illustration stick to graphic novels?