Modernism, Mass Culture, and the Aesthetics of Obscenity

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How did explicit sexual representation become acceptable in the twentieth century as art rather than pornography? Allison Pease answers this question by tracing the relationship between aesthetics and obscenity from the 1700s onward, focusing especially on the way in which early twentieth-century writers incorporated a sexually explicit discourse into their work. The book considers the work of Swinburne, Joyce and Lawrence and artist Aubrey Beardsley within the framework of a wideranging account of aesthetic theory beginning with Kant and concluding with E R. Leavis, I. A. Richards and T S. Eliot.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pease's energetic writing style enlivens the impressively dense scholarship that underwrites the argument throughout her book...Modernism, Mass Culture, and the Aesthetics of Obscenity will speak to students and professors of aesthetics, philosophy, and literature, and it should serve as a model of interdisciplinary engagement for scholars throughout the humanities." South Central Review

"...Pease has produced a provocative book likely to stir some controversy in academic circles." Choice

"Pease contributes significantly to the study of this compelling topic." Modernism/Modernity

"This is an impressive book-elegantly conceived and suffused with intelligence...The book is meticulously researched and exceptionally well-documented, with clear, eloquently chiseled arguementation unusually strong in its logic and relatively free of obfuscating jargon...Throughout her study, she does an excellent job of positioning eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century aesthetic philosophies within the cultural politics of their respective times..." English Literature in Transition

"Modernism, Mass Culture, and the Aesthetics of Obscenity offers a rich addition to studies of the limits of representation and material culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. ...provocative, highly persuasive..." The Wordsworth Circle

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521100953
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/5/2009
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
1 Civil society: aesthetics and pornography in the eighteenth century 1
2 Victorian obscenities: the new reading public, pornography, and Swinburne's sexual aesthetic 37
3 The mastery of form: Beardsley and Joyce 72
4 Being disinterested: D. H. Lawrence 136
5 Modernist criticism: the battle for culture and the accommodation of the obscene 165
Notes 195
Bibliography 228
Index 238
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