Art and the Literary

Hilary Fraser

in The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture

ISBN: 9780199593736
Published online October 2014 | | DOI:
Art and the Literary

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This essay explores the creative dialogue between practices of writing, reading, and viewing in the Victorian period evident from the proliferation of new or greatly enhanced intermedial forms: illustrated books and magazines; narrative and genre paintings; pictures with accompanying texts; the portrait as an experimental literary form; fiction about art; ekphrastic poetry; and the new genre of art literature. It asks, what were the historical conditions for this extraordinary syncopation of word and image, writing and seeing? How do we understand the dynamically transformative contexts (a vastly expanding periodical press, new and diversified exhibition cultures, widening opportunities for travel) within which such visual/textual hybrids and doublings were produced and consumed, and in what ways were they constitutive of modernity? The chapter reflects upon ‘visuality’ as a nineteenth-century coinage, and the concept of ‘translation’ between media, discussing work by Frederic Leighton, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde.

Keywords: art; literature; visuality; ekphrasis; intermedial; image; illustration

Article.  9296 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

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