Picturing Reform in Victorian Britain

Picturing Reform in Victorian Britain

by Janice Carlisle
     
 

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How did Victorians, as creators and viewers of images, visualize the politics of franchise reform? This study of Victorian art and parliamentary politics, specifically in the 1840s and 1860s, answers that question by viewing the First and Second Reform Acts from the perspectives offered by Ruskin's political theories of art and Bagehot's visual theory of politics.

Overview

How did Victorians, as creators and viewers of images, visualize the politics of franchise reform? This study of Victorian art and parliamentary politics, specifically in the 1840s and 1860s, answers that question by viewing the First and Second Reform Acts from the perspectives offered by Ruskin's political theories of art and Bagehot's visual theory of politics. Combining subjects and approaches characteristic of art history, political history, literary criticism, and cultural critique, Picturing Reform in Victorian Britain treats both paintings and wood engravings, particularly those published in Punch and the Illustrated London News. Carlisle analyzes unlikely pairings – a novel by Trollope and a painting by Hayter, an engraving after Leech and a high-society portrait by Landseer – to argue that such conjunctions marked both everyday life in Victorian Britain and the nature of its visual politics as it was manifested in the myriad heterogeneous and often incongruous images of illustrated journalism.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This densely written, generously illustrated book explores visual images that could be interpreted as either advancing or opposing the extension of the parliamentary franchise in England in 1832 and 1867."
— Journal

"Skilfully juxtaposing a wide range of sources, from frescoes to wood engravings, Janice Carlisle in her latest book demonstrates why and how Victorian visual culture could do "political work". [Her] close scrutiny of both images and texts allows her to trace surprising links between media … Carlisle has spent many hours poring over the sources she discusses; her readings of them are rich and unexpected."
Jo Briggs, Victorian Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521868365
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
05/31/2012
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, #79
Pages:
290
Product dimensions:
6.85(w) x 9.72(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

Janice Carlisle is Professor of English at Yale University and has published on a wide variety of Victorian subjects, including essays on the autobiographical novels of Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot, as well as books on the ethical implications of Victorian fiction. More recently she has written on the culture of Britain in the 1860s, and has published Common Scents: Comparative Encounters in High-Victorian Fiction (2004), a book on the sensory registers of novels written at that time.

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