Differencing the Canon: Feminism and the Writing of Art's Histories

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In this major book, Griselda Pollock engages boldly in the culture wars over 'what is the canon?' and 'what difference can feminism make?' Do we simply reject the all-male line-up and satisfy our need for ideal egos with an all women litany of artistic heroines? Or is the question a chance to resist the phallocentric binary and allow the ambiguities and complexities of desire - subjectivity and sexuality - to shape the readings of art that constantly displace the present gender demarcations?

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Millard
The flow of the book is wondrous, as Pollock builds each new idea onto the next, rounded out with rigorous research. The writing suffers slightly from an overabundance of academic jargon, especially when the description of individual artworks involves a scholarly definition of 'desire' and 'the other.' Despite this, Pollock reaches and even surpasses her goal, articulated in her introduction, to open new discussions about art and feminism.
ForeWord Magazine
Enters into a major debate at the center of feminist art history, and asks whether the traditional canon of the Old Masters should be rejected, replaced, or reformed. Discussion moves between feminist re- readings of the canonical modern masters, including Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Manet, and the "canonical" artists of feminist art history, Artemisia Gentileschi and Mary Cassatt, drawing on psychoanalysis and deconstruction to examine the project of reading for "inscriptions in the feminine." Acknowledges differences between women shaped by racist and colonial hierarchies, and explores questions of sexuality and cultural difference in modernist representations of black women. Includes b&w illustrations and photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415067003
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Series: Revisions: Critical Studies in the History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 364
  • Sales rank: 1,188,114
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Pt. I Firing the canon
1 About canons and culture wars 3
2 Differencing: feminism's encounter with the canon 23
Pt. II Reading against the grain: reading for ...
3 The ambivalence of the maternal body: re/drawing Van Gogh 41
4 Fathers of modern art: mothers of invention: cocking a leg at Toulouse-Lautrec 65
Pt. III Heroines: setting women in the canon
5 The female hero and the making of a feminist canon: Artemisia Gentileschi's representations of Susanna and Judith 97
6 Feminist mythologies and missing mothers: Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Bronte, Artemisia Gentileschi and Cleopatra 129
7 Revenge: Lubaina Himid and the making of new narratives for new histories 169
Pt. IV Who is the other?
8 Some letters on feminism, politics and modern art: when Edgar Degas shared a space with Mary Cassatt at the Suffrage Benefit Exhibition, New York 1915 201
9 A tale of three women: seeing in the dark, seeing double, at least, with Manet 247
Epilogue 317
Bibliography 318
Index 328
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