Poetry and the Pre-Raphaelite Arts: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris

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Focusing on two of the most influential figures in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris, this book explores new ways of considering art and literature together. Elizabeth Helsinger traces the unusually close relationship between the poetry and poetics of two poet-artists and their contemporary practice of visual art and design. Her study focuses on innovations encouraged by the interaction between the arts to reassess the importance of Pre-Raphaelitism in literary as well as art history. Using the concept of “translation” from one medium to another, Helsinger develops compelling analyses of particular works and of the shared concerns of Rossetti and Morris. She connects their aesthetic and social experiments to projects undertaken by others, and she demonstrates the impact of Pre-Raphaelite strategies on later poets and poetic theorists. Lively and illuminating, this book both offers and studies the pleasures of reading and viewing attentively.

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Editorial Reviews

Kate Flint
“A brilliant and most enjoyable book, Poetry and the Pre-Raphaelite Arts is consistently stimulating.”—Kate Flint, Rutgers University
Norman Kelvin
"Helsinger offers an original, thoroughly researched, imaginative, and convincing approach to Morris and Rossetti.”—Norman Kelvin, City University of New York
Herbert Tucker
"Helsinger's readings of major art-poetry by Rossetti and Morris make lavishly good on her claim to find PreRaphaelitism beholding one art through the medium of another, and thereby vesting culturally therapeutic power in redoubled attentiveness itself."—Herbert Tucker, University of Virginia
Jerome McGann
"Helsinger's distinguished career has been pointing towards this book for a long time. Now, thank Somebody, we have it—a splendid exploration of 'aesthetic consciousness as a distinctive form of knowing,' and of the pivotal contribution Rossetti and Morris made to the dance of intellect."—Jerome McGann, University of Virginia
Elizabeth Prettejohn
"Elizabeth Helsinger's fascinating new book brings together the two sides of Pre-Raphaelite art, visual and verbal, that have—regrettably and unaccountably—largely remained sundered in previous scholarship on the movement."—Elizabeth Prettejohn, author of Art for Art's Sake: Aestheticism in Victorian Painting
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300122732
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth K. Helsinger is John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of English and Art History, and the College, University of Chicago. She is the author of several previous books, including Ruskin and the Art of the Beholder and Rural Scenes and National Representation: Britain 1815–1850. She lives in Chicago.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1 Introduction: Making It New 1

2 Acts of Attention 24

3 Lyric Color and The Defence of Guenevere 55

4 Chromatic States 87

5 Repetition and Resemblance 119

6 Portraits and Poesie 144

7 Rossetti and the Art of the Book 175

8 Designing The Earthly Paradise 199

9 "Towards a Work to Be Called 'The House of Life'" 218

Notes 258

Index 319

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