Voyages of the Self

Voyages of the Self : Pairs, Parallels and Patterns in American Art and Literature

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Barbara Novak is one of America's premier art historians, the author of the seminal books American Painting of the Nineteenth Century and Nature and Culture. Now, with the paperback of Voyages of the Self, this esteemed critic completes the trilogy begun with the two earlier works, offering once again an exhilarating exploration of American art and culture. In this book, Novak explores several inspired pairings of key writers and painters, drawing insightful parallels between such masters as John Singleton Copley and Jonathan Edwards, Winslow Homer and William James, Frederic Edwin Church and Walt Whitman, and Jackson Pollock and Charles Olson. Through these and other groupings, Novak tracks the varied meanings of the self in America, in which the most salient characteristics of each artist or writer is shown to draw from-and in turn influence-the larger map of American life. Two major threads weaving through the book are the American preoccupation with the "object" and our continuing return to pragmatism. Through fruitful comparisons-whether between Copley and Edwards, or Lane and Emerson, or Ryder and Dickinson-Novak sheds unmatched light on our nation's artistic more

Product details

  • Paperback | 232 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 15.24mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 46 black and white halftone illustrations, 17 colour plates
  • 0195387910
  • 9780195387919
  • 1,457,516

Review quote

"No one has done more to further the place of this work in museum collections and in history booksVoyages of the Self , generously illustrated, is billed as the last in a trilogy, though there's no need to read her previous efforts to appreciate it. Novak distills, refines and expands upon her earlier books, looking at painters in relation to the literature and major philosophical trends of the dayHer insights about writers are as fine as those about artists The chapters have a momentum that carries us from chapter to chapter, from the mid-18th century through the mid-20th century. And her way of conveying the stories of these artists and writers makes one want to view and read them anew. What better purpose can arts criticism and history serve?"-San Diego Union Tribuneshow more

About Barbara V. Novak

Widely recognized as one of the most influential theorists of American art, Barbara Novak is the author of several scholarly books and articles, as well as two novels and a play. Novak received the Woman of Achievement Award from the Barnard Alumnae Association in 1985. She was honored with the College Art Association (CAA) Award for Distinguished Teaching of Art History in 1998, and the Archives of American Art Fleischman Award for Scholarly Contribution to American Art in 1999, among other awards, grants, and medals for her work. In addition, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, for which she served as Commissioner for about 25 years, recently established the Barbara Novak Acquisition Fund. She advises the Archives of American Art and National Academy of Design. Novak served on the editorial boards of American Art Journal and College Art Journal. She has served as a fellow at the Society of American Historians. Novak is currently Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of Art History Emerita at Barnard College and Columbia more

Table of contents

1. Copley and Edwards: Self, Consciousness, and Thing ; 2. Emerson and Lane: Luminist Time and the Transcendental Aboriginal Self ; 3. Thoreau and the Indian Self: Circles, Silence and Democratic Land ; 4. Whitman and Church: Transcendant Optimism and the Democratic Self ; 5. Homer and James: The Pragmatic Self made Concrete ; 6. Dickinson and Ryder: Immortality, Eternity and the Reclusive Self ; 7. Pollock and Olson: Time, Space, and the Activated Bodily Selfshow more

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