The Literate Eye

The Literate Eye : Victorian Art Writing and Modernist Aesthetics

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Rather than focusing on German philosophy or the French avant-gardes, as many books on the history of aesthetics do, Teukolsky takes up British responses to modern art controversies, thus providing a unique view on the development of artistic forms and art history. She considers the plentiful archive of Victorian "art writing"-essays addressed to the visual arts- to reveal the key role played by nineteenth-century writers in the rise of modernist Anglo-American aesthetics. Though Victorians are most often associated with realism, certain art writers promoted a formalism that would come to dominate canons of twentieth-century art. Teukolsky analyzes the canonical writing of authors like John Ruskin, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde alongside texts belonging to the rich field of Victorian print culture-gallery reviews, scientific treatises, satirical cartoons, advertisements, and early photography monographs among them.
Spanning the years 1840 to 1910, her argument also adds substance to our understanding of the transition from Victorianism to modernism, a period of especially lively exchange between artists and intellectuals, here narrated with careful attention given to the historical particularities and real events that stamped their imprint on such interactions.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 27.94mm | 703.06g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 5 colour, 59 black and white illustrations
  • 0195381378
  • 9780195381375
  • 1,784,765

About Rachel Teukolsky

Rachel Teukolsky is assistant professor of English at Vanderbilt University.
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Review quote

Teukolsky has written a deeply researched, imaginative and very enjoyable book that genuinely transforms our understanding of Victorian writing about art. Rebecca Beasley, British Journal of Aesthetics a splendidly simulating book J. B. Bullen, Review of English Studies
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Table of contents

Acknowledgment ; INTRODUCTION ; Victorian Aesthetics ; CHAPTER ONE ; Picturesque Signs, Picturing Science: Ruskin in the 1840s; A Long Modernism ; CHAPTER TWO ; Sublime Museum: Scripting Fine Arts at the Great Exhibition ; CHAPTER THREE ; Pater's New Republics: Aesthetic Criticism and the Victorian Avant-Garde ; CHAPTER FOUR ; Socialist Design at the Fin de Siecle: Biology, Beauty, Utopia ; CHAPTER FIVE ; Primitives and Post-Impressionists: Roger Fry's Anthropological ; Modernism ; CONCLUSION ; Art Writing after the Victorians
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Rating details

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