Reading in Detail: Aesthetics and the Feminine, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Reading in Detail

Aesthetics and the Feminine, 1st Edition

By Naomi Schor


280 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Who cares about details? As Naomi Schor explains in her highly influential book, we do-but it has not always been so. The interest in detail--in art, in literature, and as an aesthetic category--is the product of the decline of classicism and the rise of realism.

But the story of the detail is as political as it is aesthetic. Secularization, the disciplining of society, the rise of consumerism, the invention of the quotidian, have all brought detail to the fore. In this classic work of aesthetic and feminist theory, now available in a new paperback edition, Schor provides ways of thinking about details and ornament in literature, art, and architecture, and uncovering the unspoken but powerful ideologies that attached gender to details.

Wide-ranging and richly argued, Reading in Detail presents ideas about reading (and viewing) that will enhance the study of literature and the arts.


"A major statement of feminist aesthetics that will change our sense of what and how details mean." -- Woman of Power

"Extremely rich and exciting." -- Novel

"A brilliant reader of nineteenth century French literature, Naomi Schor uses her familiarity with the formal issues in realist fiction as a vantage point from which to view the last two centuries of aesthetic theory. Reading in Detail makes it clear that we are still fighting the realist battle with classicism, that neo-classical attitudes continue to recur in various guises and furthermore bear a complicated and interesting relation to ideological constructions of masculinity and femininity." -- Jane Gallop, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Table of Contents

Note on Permissions List of Figures Foreword, Ellen Rooney Acknowledgments Introduction Part 1: Archaeology 1. Gender: In the Academy 2. Sublimation: Hegel’s Aesthetics 3. Decadence: Wey, Loos, Lukács 4. Displacement: The Case of Sigmund Freud 5. Desublimation: Roland Barthes’s Aesthetics Part 2: Readings 6. Dali’s Freud 7. The Delusion of Interpretation: The Conquest of Plassans 8. Fiction as Interpretation/Interpretation as Fiction 9. Duane Hanson: Truth in Sculpture 10. Details and Realism: The Curé de Tours Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Naomi Schor (1943-2001) was the Benjamin F. Barge Professor of French at Yale University. A noted scholar of French literature and critical theory, her other books include Zola's Crowds, Breaking the Chain: Women, Theory, and French Realist Fiction, George Sand and Idealism and Bad Objects: Essays Popular and Unpopular.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture