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The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium
     

The Panorama: History of a Mass Medium

by Stephan Oettermann, Deborah L. Schneider (Translator)
 

The significance of panorama painting in the nineteenth century is frequently cited in contemporary debates about visuality and the emergence of the modern spectator. Stephan Oettermann's The Panorama is the first major historical study to appear in English of the rich phenomenon of the panorama, one of the most influential forms of visual entertainment in the

Overview

The significance of panorama painting in the nineteenth century is frequently cited in contemporary debates about visuality and the emergence of the modern spectator. Stephan Oettermann's The Panorama is the first major historical study to appear in English of the rich phenomenon of the panorama, one of the most influential forms of visual entertainment in the nineteenth century. In this richly illustrated book Oettermann gives readers a concrete sense of the structural and experiential reality of the panorama, and the many forms it took throughout Europe and North America—a crucial task given that very few of the original nineteenth-century panoramas survive. At the same time, he outlines the many ways in which these remarkable and often immense 360-degree images were part of a larger transformation of the status of the observer and of popular culture. Thus, the panorama is treated not only as a new kind of image but also as an architectural and informational component of the new urban spaces and media networks.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Robert Barker first received an English patent for his panorama in 1787, and he soon had followers as this form of entertainment spread during the 19th century. Housed in large buildings with moving scenes and varied lighting, the spectacles depicted such wonders as Lord Nelson's defeat of the French on the Nile or biblical scenes of the Flood. Compared with Roman Wall paintings or the Bayeux Tapestry, the evolution of the panorama is said to have grown out of the human need for an "overview" of an historic event. Scholar Oettermann considers both this history and the social context surrounding one of the most influential forms of visual display in the previous century, breaking down his study geographically to show how the phenomenon spread from England to Germany, France, Austria, and finally America with the "Original Panorama of the Mississippi River," and "The Battle of Gettysburg." Since very few of these panoramas still exist, Oettermann relies primarily on period illustrations of the mechanics, buildings, floor plans, advertisements, and scenery. This in-depth work on a neglected topic is recommended for academic and large public libraries.Joseph C. Hewgley, Nashville P.L.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780942299830
Publisher:
Zone Books
Publication date:
09/26/1997
Pages:
407
Product dimensions:
10.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Thomas W. Polger is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati.

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