Can form be political? Do specific aesthetic and literary forms necessarily point us toward a progressive or reactionary politics? Artists, authors, and critics like to imagine so, but what happens when they lose control of the politics of their forms? In Art, Theory, Revolution: The Turn to Generality in Contemporary Literature, Mitchum Huehls argues that art’s interest in revolution did not end with the twentieth century, as some critics would have it, but rather that the relationship between literary forms and politics has been severed, resulting in a twenty-first century investment in forms of generality such as genre, gesture, constructivism, and abstraction. Focusing on three particular domains (art, theory, and revolution) in which the relationship between form and politics has collapsed, Huehls shows how twenty-first-century US fiction writers such as Chris Kraus, Percival Everett, Jonathan Safran Foer, Rachel Kushner, Salvador Plascencia, and Sheila Heti are turning to forms of generality that lead us toward a more modest, ad hoc, context-dependent way to think about the politics of form. The result is the first major study of generality in literature.
Borrowing from Romare Bearden’s aesthetic palette and inspired by his Odysseus series, Bearden’s Odyssey gathers, for the first time, poems from thirty-five of the most revered African diaspora poets in the United States. Poetic echoes come forth in themes of inspiration with historical intersections of one of the greatest visual artists of the twentieth century.
The award-winning editors, Kwame Dawes and Matthew Shenoda, assemble an esteemed literary congregation, with original poems by Chris Abani, Rita Dove, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Ed Roberson, Aracelis Girmay, Yusef Komunyakaa, and more. With a powerful foreword by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott and stunning visual reproductions of select Bearden masterpieces, this anthology fuses art and literature, standing as a testament to Romare Bearden’s power and influence in the contemporary artistic world.
Contemporary Novelists and the Aesthetics of Twenty-First Century American Life gives us a new way to view contemporary art novels, asking the key question: How do contemporary writers imagine aesthetic experience? Examining the works of some of the most popular names in contemporary fiction and art criticism, including Zadie Smith, Teju Cole, Siri Hustvedt, Ben Lerner, Rachel Kushner, and others, Alexandra Kingston-Reese finds that contemporary art novels are seeking to reconcile the negative feelings of contemporary life through a concerted critical realignment in understanding artistic sensibility, literary form, and the function of the aesthetic.
Kingston-Reese reveals how contemporary writers refract and problematize aesthetic experience, illuminating an uneasiness with failure: firstly, about the failure of aesthetic experiences to solve and save; and secondly, the literary inability to articulate the emotional dissonance caused by aesthetic experiences now.
In the decades following World War II, the creation and expansion of massive domestic markets and relatively stable economies allowed for mass consumption on an unprecedented scale, giving rise to the consumer society that exists today. Many avant-garde artists explored the nexus between consumption and aesthetics, questioning how consumerism affects how we perceive the world, place ourselves in it, and make sense of it via perception and emotion.
Delirious Consumption focuses on the two largest cultural economies in Latin America, Mexico and Brazil, and analyzes how their artists and writers both embraced and resisted the spirit of development and progress that defines the consumer moment in late capitalism. Sergio Delgado Moya looks specifically at the work of David Alfaro Siqueiros, the Brazilian concrete poets, Octavio Paz, and Lygia Clark to determine how each of them arrived at forms of aesthetic production balanced between high modernism and consumer culture. He finds in their works a provocative positioning vis-à-vis urban commodity capitalism, an ambivalent position that takes an assured but flexible stance against commodification, alienation, and the politics of domination and inequality that defines market economies. In Delgado Moya’s view, these poets and artists appeal to uselessness, nonutility, and noncommunication—all markers of the aesthetic—while drawing on the terms proper to a world of consumption and consumer culture.
Developing a perspective on Victorian culture as the breeding ground for early theories of the unconscious and the divided psyche, The Demon and the Damozel: Dynamics of Desire in the Works of Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti offers a new reading of these eminent Victorian siblings’ literature and visual arts.
Suzanne M. Waldman views well-known poems and artworks such as Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel and Venus Verticordia in new ways that expose their authors’ savvy anticipation of concepts that would come to be known as narcissism, fetishism, and the symbolic and imaginary orders, among many others. Waldman makes a strong case for the particular psychoanalytic importance of the Rossettis by looking at how the two Rossetti siblings’ own psyches were divided by conflicts between the period’s religious scruples and its taste for gothic sensationalism.
The Demon and the Damozel is a close and contextualized reading of their writings and artwork that displays, for the first time, continuity between the medieval cosmologies these Pre-Raphaelites drew upon and the psychoanalytic theories they looked ahead to—and locates the intricate patterns of proto-psychoanalytic understanding in the rich tapestry of Pre-Raphaelite aestheticism.
During the European Middle Ages, diagrams provided a critical tool of analysis in cosmological and theological debates. In addition to drawing relationships among diverse areas of human knowledge and experience, diagrams themselves generated such knowledge in the first place. In Diagramming Devotion, Jeffrey F. Hamburger examines two monumental works that are diagrammatic to their core: a famous set of picture poems of unrivaled complexity by the Carolingian monk Hrabanus Maurus, devoted to the praise of the cross, and a virtually unknown commentary on Hrabanus’s work composed almost five hundred years later by the Dominican friar Berthold of Nuremberg. Berthold’s profusely illustrated elaboration of Hrabnus translated his predecessor’s poems into a series of almost one hundred diagrams. By examining Berthold of Nuremberg’s transformation of a Carolingian classic, Hamburger brings modern and medieval visual culture into dialogue, traces important changes in medieval visual culture, and introduces new ways of thinking about diagrams as an enduring visual and conceptual model.
Late nineteenth-century Britain experienced an unprecedented explosion of visual print culture and a simultaneous rise in literacy across social classes. New printing technologies facilitated quick and cheap dissemination of images—illustrated books, periodicals, cartoons, comics, and ephemera—to a mass readership. This Victorian visual turn prefigured the present-day impact of the Internet on how images are produced and shared, both driving and reflecting the visual culture of its time.
From this starting point, Drawing on the Victorians sets out to explore the relationship between Victorian graphic texts and today’s steampunk, manga, and other neo-Victorian genres that emulate and reinterpret their predecessors. Neo-Victorianism is a flourishing worldwide phenomenon, but one whose relationship with the texts from which it takes its inspiration remains underexplored.
In this collection, scholars from literary studies, cultural studies, and art history consider contemporary works—Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moto Naoko’s Lady Victorian, and Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies, among others—alongside their antecedents, from Punch’s 1897 Jubilee issue to Alice in Wonderland and more. They build on previous work on neo-Victorianism to affirm that the past not only influences but converses with the present.
Contributors: Christine Ferguson, Kate Flint, Anna Maria Jones, Linda K. Hughes, Heidi Kaufman, Brian Maidment, Rebecca N. Mitchell, Jennifer Phegley, Monika Pietrzak-Franger, Peter W. Sinnema, Jessica Straley
An insightful look at representations of women’s bodies and female authority.
This work explores Edith Wharton's career-long concern with a 19th-century visual culture that limited female artistic agency and expression. Wharton repeatedly invoked the visual arts--especially painting—as a medium for revealing the ways that women's bodies have been represented (as passive, sexualized, infantalized, sickly, dead). Well-versed in the Italian masters, Wharton made special use of the art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, particularly its penchant for producing not portraits of individual women but instead icons onto whose bodies male desire is superimposed.
Emily Orlando contends that while Wharton's early work presents women enshrined by men through art, the middle and later fiction shifts the seat of power to women. From Lily Bart in The House of Mirth to Undine Spragg in The Custom of the Country and Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence, women evolve from victims to vital agents, securing for themselves a more empowering and satisfying relationship to art and to their own identities.
Orlando also studies the lesser-known short stories and novels, revealing Wharton’s re-workings of texts by Browning, Poe, Balzac, George Eliot, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and, most significantly, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts is the first extended study to examine the presence in Wharton's fiction of the Pre-Raphaelite poetry and painting of Rossetti and his muses, notably Elizabeth Siddall and Jane Morris. Wharton emerges as one of American literature's most gifted inter-textual realists, providing a vivid lens through which to view issues of power, resistance, and social change as they surface in American literature and culture.
Sots-art, the mock use of the Soviet ideological clichés of mass culture, originated in Soviet nonconformist art of the early 1970s. An original and provocative guide, Endquote: Sots-Art Literature and Soviet Grand Style examines the conceptual aspect of sots-art, sots-art poetry, and sots-art prose, and discusses where these still-vital intellectual currents may lead.
Drawing extensively upon the poet's unpublished manuscripts—poems, journals, essays, and letters—as well as all his published works, Marjorie Perloff presents Frank O'Hara as one of the central poets of the postwar period and an important critic of the visual arts. Perloff traces the poet's development through his early years at Harvard and his interest in French Dadaism and Surrealism to his later poems that fuse literary influence with elements from Abstract Expressionist painting, atonal music, and contemporary film. This edition contains a new Introduction addressing O'Hara's homosexuality, his attitudes toward racism, and changes in poetic climate cover the past few decades.
"A groundbreaking study. [This book] is a genuine work of criticism. . . . Through Marjorie Perloff's book we see an O'Hara perhaps only his closer associates saw before: a poet fully aware of the traditions and techniques of his craft who, in a life tragically foreshortened, produced an adventurous if somewhat erratic body of American verse."—David Lenson, Chronicle of Higher Education
"Perloff is a reliable, well-informed, discreet, sensitive . . . guide. . . . She is impressive in the way she deals with O'Hara's relationship to painters and paintings, and she does give first-rate readings of four major poems."—Jonathan Cott, New York Times Book Review
In this stimulating and innovative synthesis of New York's artistic and literary worlds, Lytle Shaw uses the social and philosophical problems involved in “reading” a coterie to propose a new language for understanding the poet, art critic, and Museum of Modern Art curator Frank O'Hara (1926-1966).
O'Hara's poems are famously filled with proper names---from those of his immediate friends and colleagues in the New York writing and art worlds (John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Grace Hartigan, Willem de Kooning, and many musicians, dancers, and filmmakers) to a broad range of popular cultural and literary heroes (Apollinaire to Jackie O). But rather than understand O'Hara's most commonly referenced names as a fixed and insular audience, Shaw argues that he uses the ambiguities of reference associated with the names to invent a fluid and shifting kinship structure---one that opened up radical possibilities for a gay writer operating outside the structure of the family.
As Shaw demonstrates, this commitment to an experimental model of association also guides O'Hara's art writing. Like his poetry, O'Hara's art writing too has been condemned as insular, coterie writing. In fact, though, he was alone among 1950s critics in his willingness to consider abstract expressionism not only within the dominant languages of existentialism and formalism but also within the cold war political and popular cultural frameworks that anticipate many of the concerns of contemporary art historians. Situating O'Hara within a range of debates about art's possible relations to its audience, Shaw demonstrates that his interest in coterie is less a symptomatic offshoot of his biography than a radical literary and artistic invention.
Distinguished critic and scholar Louis L. Martz refreshingly addresses some of the central concerns in current studies of English poetry from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, exploring the context of religious controversy within which this poetry developed and the relationship of poetry to the visual arts.
Winner of the 2014 Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for Best Book on Romanticism
In Fugitive Objects, Catriona MacLeod examines the question of why sculpture is both intensively discussed and yet rendered immaterial in German literature. She focuses on three forms of disappearance: sculpture’s vanishing as a legitimate art form at the beginning of the nineteenth century in German aesthetics, statues’ migration from the domain of high art into mass reproduction and popular culture, and sculpture’s dislodging and relocation into literary discourse. Through original readings of Clemens Brentano, Achim von Arnim, Adalbert Stifter, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and others, MacLeod reveals that if sculpture has disappeared from much of nineteenth-century German literature and aesthetics, it is a vanishing act that paradoxically relocates the statue back onto another cultural pedestal, attesting to the powerful force of the medium.
By examining literary portraits of the woman as artist, Linda M. Lewis traces the matrilineal inheritance of four Victorian novelists and poets: George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Geraldine Jewsbury, and Mrs. Humphry Ward. She argues that while the male Romantic artist saw himself as god and hero, the woman of genius lacked a guiding myth until Germaine de Staël and George Sand created one. The protagonists of Staël’s Corinne and Sand’s Consuelo combine attributes of the goddess Athena, the Virgin Mary, Virgil’s Sibyl, and Dante’s Beatrice. Lewis illustrates how the resulting Corinne/Consuelo effect is exhibited in scores of English artist-as-heroine narratives, particularly in the works of these four prominent writers who most consciously and elaborately allude to the French literary matriarchs.
In her initial chapter, Lewis explains Corinne’s gift as “l’enthousiasme” and Consuelo’s as “la flamme sacrée.” Corinne uses her influence as a political Sibyl to enter the debates of the Napoleonic era; Consuelo employs her sacred fire as a divine Sophia to indict injustice throughout Europe. Subsequent chapters examine the public and private voices of the Sibyls and Sophias of Victorian fiction, as well as the degree to which their gift demands service to art, to God, and to humankind. The closing chapter studies the waning influence of Staël and Sand in the fin-de-siècle “New Woman” novel.
The core of Lewis’s book is its treatment of the Victorian author and her feminine aesthetics. In each chapter Lewis uncovers the references to Corinne and Consuelo—subtle or overt, serious or facetious—and reveals the resulting tension when an artist invokes a foremother but avoids merging with the mother whom she emulates. The methodology of this bookincludes myth criticism, feminist commentary, and psychoanalytic theory, but its strength lies in Lewis’s close reading of the intertextuality of ten literary works.
Exploring a connection between French and English literature and providing fresh insight, Germaine de Staël, George Sand, and the Victorian Woman Artist makes a major contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century feminism.
Examineshow surrealism enriches our understanding of Stein’s writing through its poetics of oppositions
Gertrude Stein’s Surrealist Years brings to life Stein’s surrealist sensibilities and personal values borne from her WWII anxieties, not least of which originated in a dread of anti-Semitism. Stein’s earlier works such as Tender Buttons and Lucy Church Amiably tend to prioritize formal innovations over narrative-building and overt political motifs. However, Ery Shin argues that Stein’s later works engage more with storytelling and life-writing in startling ways—most emphatically and poignantly through the surrealist lens.
Beginning with The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and continuing in later works, Stein renders legible her war-torn era’s jarring dystopian energies through narratives filled with hallucinatory visions, teleportation, extreme coincidences, action reversals, doppelgangers, dream sequences spanning both sleeping and waking states, and great whiffs of the occult. Such surrealist gestures are predicated on Stein’s return to the independent clause and, by extension, to plot, characterization, and anecdotes. By summoning the marvelous in a historically situated world, Stein joins her surrealist contemporaries in their own ambivalent crusade on behalf of historiography.
Besides illuminating Stein’s art and life, the surrealist framework developed here brings readers deeper into those philosophical ideas invoked by war. Topics of discussion emphasize how varied Jewish experiences were in Hitler’s Europe, how outliers like Stein can be included in the surrealist project, surrealism’s theoretical bind in the face of WWII, and the age-old question of artistic legacy.
Barbara Hughes Fowler University of Wisconsin Press, 1989 Library of Congress PA3081.F6 1989 | Dewey Decimal 881.0109
“Fowler’s . . . own insights are apparent throughout, and they seem to distill the personal appreciation and understanding of a scholar who has devoted much of her career to both contemplating and enjoying Hellenistic poetry. . . . [This book] would make an excellent background text for courses in later Greek and Roman art, and it can be read with profit by anyone interested in exploring the character of Hellenistic culture.”—J. J. Pollitt, American Journal of Archaeology
“Outstanding is the range of examples discussed both in poetry and art. Theocritus, Callimachus, Appolonius, the epigrammatists, and others—that is, the major figures of the time—are considered at length and in several different contexts. Passages are quoted in the original Greek, translated, and analyzed. Fowler’s sensitivity to poetic forms, evident in her other published writings, is again evident here. In addition, however, the philosophical context is not overlooked. . . . Also highly commendable are the liberal references to works of art. Sculpture in the round and in relief, portraits, terracotta figurines, original paintings (grave stelai) and Campanian murals, mosaics, gold and silver vessels, and jewelry are introduced at various points. Every work of art discussed is illustrated in astonishingly clear photographs, which are interspersed in the body of the text.”—Christine Mitchell Havelock
“The Hellenistic Aesthetic provides classicists with their first thorough discussion of the aesthetic unity found in Hellenistic art and literature. . . . Fowler examines parallels both in subject matter and in artistic approach among a diverse group of literary genres and artistic forms. In twelve chapters, The Hellenistic Aesthetic surveys Alexandrian epigrams, pastorals, epics, sculptural groups, mosaics, paintings, and jewelry to supply a convincing, and frequently unexpected, picture of a unified aesthetic vision.”—Jeffrey Buller, Classical Outlook
Imagination has long been regarded as central to C. S. Lewis's life and to his creative and critical works, but this is the first study to provide a thorough analysis of his theory of imagination, including the different ways he used the word and how those uses relate to each other. Peter Schakel begins by concentrating on the way reading or engaging with the other arts is an imaginative activity. He focuses on three books in which imagination is the central theme—Surprised by Joy, An Experiment in Criticism, and The Discarded Image—and shows the important role of imagination in Lewis's theory of education.
He then examines imagination and reading in Lewis's fiction, concentrating specifically on the Chronicles of Narnia, the most imaginative of his works. He looks at how the imaginative experience of reading the Chronicles is affected by the physical texture of the books, the illustrations, revisions of the texts, the order in which the books are read, and their narrative "voice," the "storyteller" who becomes almost a character in the stories.
Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis also explores Lewis's ideas about imagination in the nonliterary arts. Although Lewis regarded engagement with the arts as essential to a well- rounded and satisfying life, critics of his work and even biographers have given little attention to this aspect of his life. Schakel reviews the place of music, dance, art, and architecture in Lewis's life, the ways in which he uses them as content in his poems and stories, and how he develops some of the deepest, most significant themes of his stories through them.
Schakel concludes by analyzing the uses and abuses of imagination. He looks first at "moral imagination." Although Lewis did not use this term, Schakel shows how Lewis developed the concept in That Hideous Strength and The Abolition of Man long before it became popularized in the 1980s and 1990s. While readers often concentrate on the Christian dimension of Lewis's works, equally or more important to him was their moral dimension.
Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis will appeal to students and teachers of both children's literature and twentieth-century British writers. It will also be of value to readers who wish to compare Lewis's creations with more recent imaginative works such as the Harry Potter series.
This brilliant and insightful contribution to cultural studies investigates the role of literature—particularly the novel—and visual arts in the development of institutions. Arguing the attitudes expressed in narrative literature and art between 1719 and 1779 helped bring about the change from traditional prisons to penitentiaries, John Bender offers studies of Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, The Beggar's Opera, Hogarth's Progresses, Jonathan Wild, and Amelia as well as illustrations from prison literature, art, and architecture in support of his thesis.
Imperfect Fit: Aesthetic Function, Facture, and Perception in Art and Writing since 1950 is an expansive and incisive examination of the patterns of connectedness in contemporary art and poetry. Allen Fisher—a highly accomplished poet, painter, critic, and art historian as well as a key figure in the British poetry revival of the 1960s and 1970s—has a close and discerning connection to his subjects.
In Imperfect Fit, Fisher focuses on the role of fracturing, ruptures, and breakages in many traditional ties between art and poetry, as well as the resulting use of collage and assemblage by practitioners of those arts. Fisher addresses, among other subjects, destruction as a signifier in twentieth-century art; the poetic employment of bureaucratic vocabularies and “business speak”; and the roles of public performance and memory loss in the fashioning of human knowledge and art.
Commonplace notions of coherence, logic, and truth are reimagined and deconstructed in this study, and Fisher concludes by suggesting that contemporary culture offers a particularly robust opportunity—and even necessity—to engage in the production of art as a pragmatic act. Scholars of art, poetry, and aesthetics will be engaged and challenged by this insightful work.
Creating paintings with poetic resonances, sometimes with ties to specific lines of poetry, is a practice that began in China in the eleventh century, the Northern Sung period. Cahill vividly surveys its first great flowering among artists working in the Southern Sung capital of Hangchou, probably the largest and certainly the richest city on earth in this era. He shows us the revival of poetic painting by late Ming artists working in the prosperous city of Suchou. And we learn how artists in Edo-period Japan, notably the eighteenth-century Nanga masters and the painter and haiku poet Yosa Buson, transformed the style into a uniquely Japanese vehicle of expression. In all cases, Cahill shows, poetic painting flourished in crowded urban environments; it accompanied an outpouring of poetry celebrating the pastoral, escape from the city, immersion in nature. An ideal of the return to a life close to nature--the "lyric journey"--underlies many of the finest, most moving paintings of China and Japan, and offers a key for understanding them.
Taking a fresh look at the poetry and visual art of the Hellenistic age, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the Romans’ defeat of Cleopatra in 30 B.C., Graham Zanker makes enlightening discoveries about the assumptions and conventions of Hellenistic poets and artists and their audiences.
Zanker’s exciting new interpretations closely compare poetry and art for the light each sheds on the other. He finds, for example, an exuberant expansion of subject matter in the Hellenistic periods in both literature and art, as styles and iconographic traditions reserved for grander concepts in earlier eras were applied to themes, motifs, and subjects that were emphatically less grand.
How do pictures tell stories? Why does the literary romance so often refer to paintings and other visual art objects? Beginning with these two seemingly unrelated questions, Wendy Steiner reveals an intricate exchange between the visual arts and the literary romance.
Romances violate the casual, temporal, and logical cohesiveness of realist novels, and they do so in part by depicting love as a state of suspension, a condition outside of time. Steiner argues that because Renaissance and post-Renaissance painting also represents a suspended moment of perception with "unnatural" clarity and compression of meaning, it readily serves the romance as a symbol of antirealism. Yet the atemporality of stopped-action painting was actually an attempt to achieve pictorial realism—the way things "really" look. It is this paradox that interests Steiner: to signal their departure from realism, romances evoke the symbol of "realistic" visual artwork. Steiner explores this problem through analyses of Keats, Hawthorne, Joyce, and Picasso. She then examines a return to narrative conventions in visual art in the twentieth century, in the work of Lichtenstein and Warhol, and speculates on the fate of pictorial storytelling and the romance in postmodern art. An aesthetic fantasia of sorts, this study combines theory and analysis to illuminate an unexpected interconnection between literature and the visual arts.
In her seminal study, first published in 1981, Marjorie Perloff argues that the map of Modernist poetry needs to be redrawn to include a central tradition which cannot properly be situated within the Romantic-Symbolist tradition dominating the early twentieth century.
In Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing eminent Rossetti scholar Lorraine Janzen Kooistra demonstrates the cultural centrality of a neglected artifact: the Victorian illustrated gift book. Turning a critical lens on “drawing-room books” as both material objects and historical events, Kooistra reveals how the gift book’s visual/verbal form mediated “high” and popular art as well as book and periodical publication.
A composite text produced by many makers, the poetic gift book was designed for domestic space and a female audience; its mode of publication marks a significant moment in the history of authorship, reading, and publishing. With rigorous attention to the gift book’s aesthetic and ideological features, Kooistra analyzes the contributions of poets, artists, engravers, publishers, and readers and shows how its material form moved poetry into popular culture. Drawing on archival and periodical research, she offers new readings of Eliza Cook, Adelaide Procter, and Jean Ingelow and shows the transatlantic reach of their verses. Boldly resituating Tennyson’s works within the gift-book economy he dominated, Kooistra demonstrates how the conditions of corporate authorship shaped the production and receptionof the laureate’s verses at the peak of his popularity.
Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing changes the map of poetry’s place—in all its senses—in Victorian everyday life and consumer culture.
Today we usually think of a book of poems as composed by a poet, rather than assembled or adapted by a network of poets and readers. But the earliest European vernacular poetries challenge these assumptions. Medieval songbooks remind us how lyric poetry was once communally produced and received—a collaboration of artists, performers, live audiences, and readers stretching across languages and societies.
The only comparative study of its kind, Songbook treats what poetry was before the emergence of the modern category “poetry”: that is, how vernacular songbooks of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries shaped our modern understanding of poetry by establishing expectations of what is a poem, what is a poet, and what is lyric poetry itself. Marisa Galvez analyzes the seminal songbooks representing the vernacular traditions of Occitan, Middle High German, and Castilian, and tracks the process by which the songbook emerged from the original performance contexts of oral publication, into a medium for preservation, and, finally, into an established literary object. Galvez reveals that songbooks—in ways that resonate with our modern practice of curated archives and playlists—contain lyric, music, images, and other nonlyric texts selected and ordered to reflect the local values and preferences of their readers. At a time when medievalists are reassessing the historical foundations of their field and especially the national literary canons established in the nineteenth century, a new examination of the songbook’s role in several vernacular traditions is more relevant than ever.
An exploration of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s narrative technique and unique vision of the world
The Style of Hawthorne’s Gaze is an unusual and insightful work that employs a combination of critical strategies drawn from art history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and contemporary aesthetic and literary theory to explore Nathaniel Hawthorne’s narrative technique and his unique vision of the world. Dolis studies Hawthorne’s anti-technological and essentially Romantic view of the external world and examines the recurring phenomena of lighting, motion, aspectivity, fragmentation, and imagination as they relate to his descriptive techniques.
Dolis sets the world of Hawthorne’s work over and against the aesthetic and philosophical development of the world understood as a “view”, from its inception in the camera obscura and perspective in general, to its 19th-century articulation in photography. In light of this general technology of the image, and drawing upon a wide range of contemporary critical theories, Dolis begins his study of Hawthorne at the level of description, where the world of the work first arises in the reader’s consciousness. Dolis shows how the work of Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Freud, Lacan, and Derrida can provide fresh insights into the sophisticated style of Hawthorne’s perception of and system for representing reality.
In his youth, Vladimir Nabokov aspired to become a landscape artist. Even though he eventually realized that his true vocation was literature, his keen sense of visual detail, nuanced perception of color, and vast knowledge of the fine arts are all manifest in his literary works, which abound with painters and paintings, real and imaginary, as well as with magnificent pictorial imagery rendered in a verbal medium. The relation of the visual arts to Nabokov’s work is the subject of The Sublime Artist’s Studio, an in-depth and detailed study of one of the most significant facets of this modern master’s oeuvre.
Gavriel Shapiro pursues his inquiry throughout Nabokov’s literary legacy—poetry, short prose, novels, plays, memoirs, lectures, essays, interviews, and letters. What is the import of Nabokov’s lifelong fascination with the Old Masters? How does landscape function in Nabokov’s writings? What was the author’s relationship to contemporary artists? By addressing these and other questions, while examining Nabokov’s references and allusions to the visual arts and to particular works and artists, Shapiro is able to reveal the centrality of painting to Nabokov’s belles lettres. His book offers a new and promising approach to one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated writers.
A Thousand Words argues that there is such a thing as queer modernism, and that the (mostly) literary portrait—one of the more prominent forms of experimentalism in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century writing—functions as one of its most important erotically dynamic aesthetic mechanisms, one modeled on visual portraiture’s relationships of looking between the artists, sitters, and spectators of paintings. Jaime Hovey looks at how the dynamic structure of visual portraiture was appropriated by modernist writers—including Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and Colette, among others, who used the self-conscious literary portrait.
Portraiture speaks to the complex relationship between identity, sexuality, and art, and the presence of so many portraits in this era suggests that sexual, gender, and racial aspects of character, personality, and personal identity were of major concern to most modernist writers. Yet it took most of the twentieth century for critical work to appear that meaningfully explored these themes, and very little has been said about the queerness of literary portraiture. This book demonstrates that literary portraiture is enamored of its own self-consciousness, with the pleasures of looking at itself seeing itself, and that its texts circulate this pleasure between writers, narrators and other characters, and readers as a perverse aesthetics
Liu Yuan’s Lingyan ge, a woodblock-printed book from 1669, re-creates a portrait gallery that memorialized 24 vassals of the early Tang court. Liu accompanied each figure, presented under the guise of a bandit, with a couplet; the poems, written in various scripts, are surrounded by marginal images that allude to a contemporary novel. Religious icons supplement the portrait gallery. Liu’s re-creation is fraught with questions. This study examines the dialogues created among the texts and images in Lingyan ge from multiple perspectives. Analysis of the book’s materialities demonstrates how Lingyan ge embodies, rather than reflects, the historical moment in which it was made.
Liu unveiled and even dramatized the interface between manuscript and printed book in Lingyan ge. Authority over the book’s production is negotiated, asserted, overturned, and reinstated. Use of pictures to construct a historical argument intensifies this struggle. Anne Burkus-Chasson argues that despite a general epistemological shift toward visual forms of knowledge in the seventeenth century, looking and reading were still seen as being in conflict. This conflict plays out among the leaves of Liu Yuan’s book.
Juliane Noth shows how art and discussions about the future of ink painting were linked to the reshaping of the country, leading to the creation of a uniquely modern Chinese landscape imagery. Noth offers a new understanding of these experiments by studying them as transmedial practice, at once shaped by and integral to the modern global art world.
Juliane Noth shows how art and discussions about the future of ink painting were linked to the reshaping of the country, leading to the creation of a uniquely modern Chinese landscape imagery. Noth offers a new understanding of these experiments by studying them as transmedial practice, at once shaped by and integral to the modern global art world.
Unwriting Maya Literature provides an important decolonial framework for reading Maya texts that builds on the work of Maya authors and intellectuals such as Q’anjob’al Gaspar Pedro González and Kaqchikel Irma Otzoy. Paul M. Worley and Rita M. Palacios privilege the Maya category ts’íib over constructions of the literary in order to reveal how Maya peoples themselves conceive of artistic creation. This offers a decolonial departure from theoretical approaches that remain situated within alphabetic Maya linguistic and literary creation.
As ts’íib refers to a broad range of artistic production from painted codices and textiles to works composed in Latin script as well as plastic arts, the authors argue that texts by contemporary Maya writers must be read as dialoguing with a multimodal Indigenous understanding of text. In other words, ts’íib is an alternative to understanding “writing” that does not stand in opposition to but rather fully encompasses alphabetic writing, placing it alongside and in dialogue with a number of other forms of recorded knowledge. This shift in focus allows for a critical reexamination of the role that weaving and bodily performance play in these literatures, as well as for a nuanced understanding of how Maya writers articulate decolonial Maya aesthetics in their works.
Unwriting Maya Literature places contemporary Maya literatures within a context situated in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Through ts’íib, the authors propose an alternative to traditional analysis of Maya cultural production that allows critics, students, and admirers to respectfully interact with the texts and their authors. Unwriting Maya Literature offers critical praxis for understanding Mesoamerican works that encompass non-Western ways of reading and creating texts.
Art historian Henry M. Sayre traces the origins of the term “value” in art criticism, revealing the politics that define Manet’s art.
How did art critics come to speak of light and dark as, respectively, “high in value” and “low in value”? Henry M. Sayre traces the origin of this usage to one of art history’s most famous and racially charged paintings, Édouard Manet’s Olympia.
Art critics once described light and dark in painting in terms of musical metaphor—higher and lower tones, notes, and scales. Sayre shows that it was Émile Zola who introduced the new “law of values” in an 1867 essay on Manet. Unpacking the intricate contexts of Zola’s essay and of several related paintings by Manet, Sayre argues that Zola’s usage of value was intentionally double coded—an economic metaphor for the political economy of slavery. In Manet’s painting, Olympia and her maid represent objects of exchange, a commentary on the French Empire’s complicity in the ongoing slave trade in the Americas.
Expertly researched and argued, this bold study reveals the extraordinary weight of history and politics that Manet’s painting bears. Locating the presence of slavery at modernism’s roots, Value in Art is a surprising and necessary intervention in our understanding of art history.
Early in this century, Futurist and Dada artists developed brilliantly innovative uses of typography that blurred the boundaries between visual art and literature. In The Visible Word, Johanna Drucker shows how later art criticism has distorted our understanding of such works. She argues that Futurist, Dadaist, and Cubist artists emphasized materiality as the heart of their experimental approach to both visual and poetic forms of representation; by mid-century, however, the tenets of New Criticism and High Modernism had polarized the visual and the literary.
Drucker suggests a methodology closer to the actual practices of the early avant-garde artists, based on a rereading of their critical and theoretical writings. After reviewing theories of signification, the production of meaning, and materiality, she analyzes the work of four poets active in the typographic experimentation of the 1910s and 1920s: Ilia Zdanevich, Filippo Marinetti, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Tristan Tzara.
Few studies of avant-garde art and literature in the early twentieth century have acknowledged the degree to which typographic activity furthered debates about the very nature and function of the avant-garde. The Visible Word enriches our understanding of the processes of change in artistic production and reception in the twentieth century.
Vision and Textuality
Stephen Melville and Bill Readings, eds. Duke University Press, 1995 Library of Congress N380.V58 1995 | Dewey Decimal 707.2
The influence of contemporary literary theory on art history is increasingly evident, but there is little or no agreement about the nature and consequence of this new intersection of the visual and the textual. Vision and Textuality brings together essays by many of the most influential scholars in the field—both young and more established writers from the United States, England, and France—to address the emergent terms and practices of contemporary art history. With essays by Rosalind Krauss, Hal Foster, Norman Bryson, Victor Burgin, Martin Jay, Louis Marin, Thomas Crow, Griselda Pollock, and others, the volume is organized into sections devoted to the discipline of art history, the implications of semiotics, the new cultural history of art, and the impact of psychoanalysis. The works discussed in these essays range from Rembrandt’s Danae to Jorge Immendorf’s Café Deutschland, from Vauxhall Gardens to Max Ernst, and from the Imagines of Philostratus to William Godwin’s novel Caleb Williams. Each section is preceded by a short introduction that offers further contexts for considering the essays that follow, while the editors’ general introduction presents an overall exploration of the relation between vision and textuality in a variety of both institutional and theoretical contexts. Among other issues, it examines the relevance of aesthetics, the current concern with modernism and postmodernism, and the possible development of new disciplinary formations in the humanities.
Contributors. Mieke Bal, John Bender, Norman Bryson, Victor Burgin, Thomas Crow, Peter de Bolla, Hal Foster, Michael Holly, Martin Jay, Rosalind Krauss, Françoise Lucbert, Louis Martin, Stephen Melville, Griselda Pollock, Bill Readings, Irit Rogoff, Bennet Schaber, John Tagg
The nineteenth century saw a marked rise both in the sheer numbers of women active in visual art professions and in the discursive concern for the woman artist in fiction, the periodical press, art history, and politics. The Woman Painter in Victorian Literature argues that Victorian women writers used the controversial figure of the woman painter to intervene in the discourse of aesthetics. These writers were able to assert their own status as artistic producers through the representation of female visual artists.
Women painters posed a threat to the traditional heterosexual erotic art scenarios—a male artist and a male viewer admiring a woman or feminized art object. Antonia Losano traces an actual movement in history in which women writers struggled to rewrite the relations of gender and art to make a space for female artistic production. She examines as well the disruption female artists caused in the socioeconomic sphere. Losano offers close readings of a wide array of Victorian writers, particularly those works classified as noncanonical—by Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Margaret Oliphant, Anne Brontë, and Mrs. Humphrey Ward—and a new look at better-known novels such as Jane Eyre and Daniel Deronda, focusing on the pivotal social and aesthetic meanings of female artistic production in these texts. Each of the novels considered here is viewed as a contained, coherent, and complex aesthetic treatise that coalesces around the figure of the female painter.
Maggie Nelson provides the first extended consideration of the roles played by women in and around the New York School of poets, from the 1950s to the present, and offers unprecedented analyses of the work of Barbara Guest, Bernadette Mayer, Alice Notley, Eileen Myles, and abstract painter Joan Mitchell as well as a reconsideration of the work of many male New York School writers and artists from a feminist perspective.
Beginning in the late nineteenth century, French visual artists began incorporating Japanese forms into their work. The style, known as Japonisme, spanned the arts.
Identifying a general critical move from a literal to a more metaphoric understanding and presentation of Japonisme, Pamela A. Genova applies a theory of "aesthetic translation" to a broad response to Japanese aesthetics within French culture. She crosses the borders of genre, field, and form to explore the relationship of Japanese visual art to French prose writing of the mid- to late 1800s. Writing Japonisme focuses on the work of Edmond de Goncourt, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Émile Zola, and Stéphane Mallarmé as they witnessed, incorporated, and participated in an unprecedented cultural exchange between France and Japan, as both creators and critics. Genova’s original research opens new perspectives on a fertile and influential period of intercultural dynamics.