This vibrant collection of essays claims that a complex network of texts by critics, biographers and diarists established the credibility and influence of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Throughout the twentieth century, Modernist taste failed to acknowledge the achievement of oppositional groupings such as the Pre-Raphaelites. The essays collected here, however, reveal that the British group anticipated later avant-gardes by using the written word to configure for itself a radical artistic identity. Public and critics alike were scandalized by the radicalism of Pre-Raphaelite painting, its unflinching portrayal of historical figures and of contemporary life, and its irreverent attitude to artistic convention. Pre-Raphaelitism's innovations were not confined to style: new forms of artistic identity and behaviour were explored. As the contributors interrogate the texts through which Pre-Raphaelitism was constructed, they demonstrate that the movement's wide influence as a cultural phenomenon derived from the interplay between exhibited works and critical discourse. Applying a range of sophisticated methodologies from the fields of literary studies, art history, and cultural studies, these interdisciplinary essays uncover the neglected role of texts in the success of the Pre-Raphaelite rebellion and argue in favor of a new centrality for this movement in the history of nineteenth-century European culture.
' … a highly sophisticated, inventive, scholarly, and desirable collection of essays… With an international line-up of this calibre this book will become de rigeur for anybody working in the field, anybody interested in the Pre-Raphaelites, and anybody interested in the idea of the avant garde in the nineteenth century.' Barrie Bullen, University of Reading, UK
’This collection of essays strikes a rarely achieved interpretive balance between Pre-Raphaelite textual and visual production and critical and historical consumption…The essays offer fresh insights…Recommended.’ Choice
'… an exciting new book on Pre-Raphaelitism…' Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens
'The complexities and complicities of art historical practice�, both frustrating and enriching, which the contributors have identified in engaging with the Pre-Raphaelite legacy, mark a widening of the scholarship area to include not only the work of art and the artist, but also the networks of production, reception and consumption - which constitutes the collection’s greatest merit.' Pre-Raphaelite Review
Contents: Introduction: Pre-Raphaelite mythologies, Michaela Giebelhausen and Tim Barringer; In a word: Pre-Raphaelite, Pre-Raphaelites, Pre-Raphaelitism, Deborah Cherry; Pre-Raphaelites from rebels to representatives: masculinity, modernity, and national identity in British and Continental art histories, c.1880-1908, Julie F. Codell; 'A soul of the age': Rossetti's words and images, 1848-73, David Peters Corbett; Reconstructing Pre-Raphaelitism: the evolution of William Michael Rossetti's critical position, Julie L'Enfant; The quest for Christ: William Holman Hunt and the writing of artistic motivation, Michaela Giebelhausen; Written out? The case of Ford Madox Brown, William Vaughan; Absent of reference: new languages of nature in the critical responses to Pre-Raphaelite landscapes, Jason Rosenfeld; Poetic, eccentric, Pre-Raphaelite: the critical reception of Simeon Solomon's work at the Dudley Gallery, Colin Cruise; Exhibiting the avant-garde: the development of the Pre-Raphaelite 'brand', Matthew Plampin; Millais in reproduction, Malcolm Warner; Bibliography; Index.