The World in Paint: Modern Art and Visuality in England, 1848-1914

The World in Paint: Modern Art and Visuality in England, 1848-1914

by David Peters Corbett
     
 

Familiar narratives about the nature of English modernism, "tradition," and "periodization," together with the "literary" character of English art from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, are abandoned in this innovative and important book. In their stead, David Peters Corbett proposes a new way of looking at this painting

Overview

Familiar narratives about the nature of English modernism, "tradition," and "periodization," together with the "literary" character of English art from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, are abandoned in this innovative and important book. In their stead, David Peters Corbett proposes a new way of looking at this painting from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Vorticists.

Arguing that art history has been too reluctant to confront the fundamental question of how and what the consistency and application of paint signifies, Corbett investigates the work of English artists—among them Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Leighton, Watts, Whistler, Sickert, and the modernists of 1914 —through a historical examination of the meanings of the visual in English culture. By revealing that for many artists and thinkers the visual promised to deliver a more profound understanding of the world than language, the book offers a new reading of the art of the period between 1848 and the First World War.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Corbett is one of very few scholars who are thinking deeply about the future direction of art history, and of even fewer who are doing so in the context of British art. This book has the potential to lead the way not only in its own field but also in art history as a discipline.”

—Elizabeth Prettejohn, University of Plymouth

“Suitably, The World in Paint is a visual pleasure because generous illustrations support elegant prose illuminating the threatening promise of ideas expressed only in (and within) paint, describing them for example as ‘ghostly possibilities arising from the absence of strong claims elsewhere, shadows that drift in to occupy vacant cultural space.’ Unquestionably this is an important scholarly contribution to its field and will become a core text for students of English art of a long nineteenth century, a corrective to the hysterical division between the poles of Victoria and the Great War. It also stands as a vivid demonstration of what an unashamed reconnection with the damnably visual aspects of this visual art might come to look like.”

—Rebecca Scragg, The Art Book

“At its best, it can deal clearly and thoughtfully with small pockets of the subject—the relationship between word and image, for instance, in Wilde's dealings with his illustrator, Charles Ricketts. Corbett's mission is laudable. Let us wish him well, and hope that as well as tackling the avisuality of social art history, he can shake off its ponderous semantic apparatus.”

—Nicholas Wadley, Times Literary Supplement

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271023618
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2005
Series:
Refiguring Modernism, #1
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

David Peters Corbett is Professor of Art History and Director of the Research School in British Art at the University of York in the UK.

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