Victorian Prism: Refractions of the Crystal Palace

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $45.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $45.00   
  • New (2) from $45.00   
  • Used (2) from $45.00   


From the moment it opened on the first of May in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, the Great Exhibition of 1851 was one of the defining events of the Victorian period. It stood not only as a visible symbol of British industrial and technological progress but as a figure for modernity--a figure that has often been thought to convey one coherent message and vision of culture and society.

This volume examines the place occupied both materially and discursively by the Crystal Palace and other nineteenth- and twentieth-century exhibitions in the struggle to understand what it means to be modern. Initiated in part by a number of conferences held in 2001 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Crystal Palace, Victorian Prism provides new perspectives to historians, literary critics, art historians, and others interested in how a large glass building in a London park could refract meaning from Caracas to Calcutta.

In its investigations of the ways of knowing and shaping the world that emerged during the planning and execution of this first "world's fair," Victorian Prism not only restores the multiplicity of experiences and other determining factors to our picture of the Great Exhibition; it makes reevaluation of the exhibition and its legacies the occasion for reevaluating modernity itself in its broadest sense--as the cultures, potentialities, and liabilities of the Enlightenment.

With essays by a number of leading scholars in their fields, the collection as a whole focuses on how these exhibitions, in attempting to define the cultures of their day, incorporated a range of conflicting ideologies and agendas. In doing so, it offers a richer, more complex understanding of the experience of modernity than we have previously acknowledged. The volume also addresses the ways in which the cultural processes and tendencies brought together in these exhibitions have been refracted down to the present, thus informing and complicating our own relationship to both modernity and postmodernity.

University of Virginia Press

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813926032
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Series: Victorian Literature and Culture Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James Buzard is Professor of Literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Joseph W. Childers is Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. Eileen Gillooly is Associate Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University and a member of the Department of English.

University of Virginia Press

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)