Chapter

Of Venus, vagueness, and vision: Vernon Lee, Eugene Lee-Hamilton, and ‘the spell of the fragment’

Catherine Maxwell

in Second Sight

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780719071447
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701096 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719071447.003.0004
Of Venus, vagueness, and vision: Vernon Lee, Eugene Lee-Hamilton, and ‘the spell of the fragment’

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This chapter starts by meditating on the Romantic theme of the recovered sculptural relic and the theme of the god in exile derived by Vernon Lee and Eugene Lee-Hamilton from Pater, who had in turn absorbed it from the German Romantic poet Heinrich Heine. It ponders the siblings' joint investment in the figure of the goddess Venus and statues of her, examining their related treatment of a mutilated or fragmentary portion of such a statue in conjunction with Peter Fuller's Kleinian reading of the Venus de Milo. The chapter analyses how Lee's belief in the suggestive power of the fragment allows a late Romantic imaginative sublime to flood through her exploration of supernatural forces in her shorter fiction, and how her brother's similar belief enables the therapeutic compression and release of power in the dramatic soliloquies of his Imaginary Sonnets (1888).

Keywords: Romanticism; sculptural relic; god; exile; Heinrich Heine; Venus; Peter Fuller

Chapter.  25532 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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