Criticism

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Criticism
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Criticism
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Criticism

Representing Paris: History and Actuality at the London Panoramas

This paper explores questions related to the representation of history and actuality, in all its possible senses, at the popular panoramas of the early nineteenth century. Using London and Paris as central examples (both were key cities for the development of the panorama), it considers the importance of the panorama as a medium for conveying certain kinds of visual knowledge—amenable to new regimes of description—and as a form closely linked to the self-representation of the urban metropolis. Focusing also on the relationship between image and text, between the panoramic images and the pamphlets that accompanied them, it addresses the problematic status of the popular appeal of historical and contemporary events as subjects for the panorama—subjects that engaged both a powerful desire to see and know things as they are (or were) and an equally powerful element of delusory (or illusory) representation.
December 2014

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Camera Lucida Mexicana: Travel, Visual Technologies, and Contested Objectivities

This essay discusses three nascent visual technologies—the camera lucida, the panorama, and the daguerreotype—as often stubborn and defiant agents in quests for both scientific rationality and picturesque image-making in the first four decades of the nineteenth century. Through a series of case studies, it also details how the agency of such technologies emerged in the complex circuits of transatlantic intellectual and artistic exchange formed in order to represent, and thus claim access to or ownership of, Mexican history and archaeology across Europe and the Americas. This suggests the possibility of recasting the genesis of these technologies not as a fixed point, but as a process of transatlantic exchange oriented toward the New World and the south, in this case, Mexico.
December 2014

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Unsanctioned Wanderings: Capturing the Vagrant in Romantic Prints

The gentlemanly or artistic wanderer is integral to the Romantic imagination, yet the ideal of the peripatetic existed against a backdrop of less desirable forms of vagrancy and nomadism. Through changing Poor Laws and Vagrancy Acts, as well as the enclosure of lands, these forms of unsanctioned wandering became increasingly criminalized and unsustainable, even as the endorsed amblings of the inquisitive artist-gentlemen were celebrated. This essay looks at depictions of unauthorized wandering in early-nineteenth-century British prints in order to explore Romantic constructions of vagrancy in relationship to the artist’s construction of self. More specifically, this project examines visual strategies that contradict or resist the implicit project of containment, arrest, and classification, and which complicate the supposed stasis of the print, the stability of language, and the book as commodity.
December 2014

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Introduction: Visuality's Romantic Genealogies

This introduction assesses the impact of visuality on Romantic literature and culture and its genealogies in the ongoing modern recognition of visuality as a cultural enterprise. The Romantic genealogies on display in this introduction include: visual representations of slavery, visual representations of slavery in Brazil, J. M. W. Turner’s painting The Slave Ship (Or Slavers Throwing Dying Slaves Overboard), Romantic panoramas as history painting, camera lucida, the solitary wandering artist and vagrancy in Romantic print culture, and Romantic technologies of perception, display, and exposure.
December 2014

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Visuality's Romantic Genealogies

This volume is dedicated to both excavating the Romantic genealogies of visuality and charting directions for the ways in which the study of Romantic visual culture may redraw the geographic, temporal, and disciplinary bounds of Romanticism, bringing diverse, and in some instances new, objects and their ethical, political, and aesthetic stakes into view. The essays investigate three broad inquiries: 1) technologies of vision and objectivity’s slippages; 2) the indigenous or transplanted fruits of visuality’s New World Genealogies and 3) the role of proto-photography, panopticism, and slavery in the spectral formation of Romantic visuality. Emphasizing the ways we interpret visuality in romantic culture, the volume invites reconsideration of media, practices, and discourses that would seem to belong to earlier and later periods—from the artifacts and modes of viewing attached to curiosity and to technologies and ways of imaging and imagining that have become aligned with photography and the digital. The volume includes an editor's introduction by Theresa M. Kelley and Jill H. Casid, with essays by Sophie Thomas, Marcus Wood, Matthew Francis Rarey, Kay Dian Kriz, and Lucy Kamiko Hawkinson Traverse.

Date published: 

December, 2014

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Romantic Materialities

The six essays collected here suggest that Romanticism exposes us to a materialism that cannot merely be overcome and an idealism with which it is not identical. By reading beyond the texts conventionally associated with Romanticism, and by recasting the critical tendencies–from thing theory to object oriented ontology–through the poets, genres, and critics of Romanticism, these essays position Romanticism (and show how Romanticism may always have been positioned) in another relation to things as they are–or may be.

Date published: 

February, 2015

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