The Victorian Eye: A Political History of Light and Vision in Britain, 1800-1910

The Victorian Eye: A Political History of Light and Vision in Britain, 1800-1910

by Chris Otter
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226640760

ISBN-13: 9780226640761

Pub. Date: 10/15/2008

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

"During the nineteenth century, Britain became the first gaslit society, with electric lighting arriving in 1878. At the same time, the British government significantly expanded its power to observe and monitor its subjects. How did such enormous changes in the way people saw and were seen affect Victorian culture?" To answer that question, Chris Otter mounts an…  See more details below

Overview

"During the nineteenth century, Britain became the first gaslit society, with electric lighting arriving in 1878. At the same time, the British government significantly expanded its power to observe and monitor its subjects. How did such enormous changes in the way people saw and were seen affect Victorian culture?" To answer that question, Chris Otter mounts an ambitious history of illumination and vision in Britain, drawing on extensive research into everything from the science of perception and lighting technologies to urban design and government administration. He explores how light facilitated such practices as safe transportation and private reading, as well as institutional efforts to collect knowledge. And he contends that, contrary to presumptions that illumination helped create a society controlled by intrusive surveillance, the new radiance often led to greater personal freedom and was integral to the development of modern liberal society.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226640761
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
10/15/2008
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Introduction Light, Vision, and Power 1

1 The Victorian Eye: The Physiology, Sociology, and Spatiality of Vision, 1800-1900 22

2 Oligoptic Engineering: Light and the Victorian City 62

3 The Age of Inspectability: Vision, Space, and the Victorian City 99

4 The Government of Light: Gasworks, Gaslight, and Photometry 135

5 Technologies of Illumination, 1870-1910 173

6 Securing Perception: Assembling Electricity Networks 214

Conclusion: Patterns of Perception 253

Notes 265

Bibliography 339

Index 365

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