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Eyes of Love: The Gaze in English and French Culture, 1840-1900
     

Eyes of Love: The Gaze in English and French Culture, 1840-1900

by Stephen Kern
 

Stephen Kern has discovered in Pre-Raphaelite and impressionist art a recurring pattern for arranging the sexes: a profiled man gazing at a woman who looks away from him and toward the viewer, while she ponders an apparent offer. Kern draws on such images to challenge the claim of some feminist critics and historians that gazing men monopolize subjectivity and

Overview

Stephen Kern has discovered in Pre-Raphaelite and impressionist art a recurring pattern for arranging the sexes: a profiled man gazing at a woman who looks away from him and toward the viewer, while she ponders an apparent offer. Kern draws on such images to challenge the claim of some feminist critics and historians that gazing men monopolize subjectivity and turn women into sex objects. So intent are these writers on viewing women as victims, who in fact reveal a commanding subjectivity. Compared with the eyes of men, women's eyes are more visible, consider more varied thoughts, and convey more profound, if not more intense, emotions.

An authoritative and highly original survey of European art and literature, Eyes of Love also challenges another widely held belief - that a double standard has clearly governed how society judged the sexes. Kern supports these startling interpretations of Renoir, Manet, Degas, Rossetti, Gauguin, Millais, Hunt, Burne-Jones, and Tissot with every evidence from novels by Hugo, Flaubert, Zola, Dickens, C. Bronte, Gaskell, Eliot, Hardy, and H. James.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Kern (history, Northern Illinois U.) documents a recurring pattern in Pre-Raphaelite and Impressionist painting that arranges the sexes so that a profiled man gazes at a women while she looks away from him at the viewer and ponders on an apparent offer. He challenges feminist claims that gazing men monopolize subjectivity by demonstrating that the women's eyes are more visible, consider more than one thought, and convey profound and even intense emotions. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814746868
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
05/01/1996
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Kern is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of History at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 and The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns.

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