Walter Pater and the Language of Sculpture: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Walter Pater and the Language of Sculpture

1st Edition

By Lene Østermark-Johansen

Routledge

454 pages

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Description

Walter Pater and the Language of Sculpture is the first monograph to discuss the Victorian critic Walter Pater's attitude to sculpture. It brings together Pater's aesthetic theories with his theories on language and writing, to demonstrate how his ideas of the visual and written language are closely interlinked. Going beyond Pater's views on sculpture as an art form, this study traces the notion of relief (rilievo) and hybrid form in Pater, and his view of the writer as sculptor, a carver in language. Alongside her treatment of rilievo as a pervasive trope, Lene Østermark-Johansen also employs the idea of rivalry (paragone) more broadly, examining Pater's concern with positioning himself as an art critic in the late Victorian art world. Situating Pater within centuries of European aesthetic theories as never before done, Walter Pater and the Language of Sculpture throws new light on the extraordinary complexity and coherence of Pater's writing: The critic is repositioned solidly within Victorian art and literature.

Reviews

Winner, Paul Mellon Centre Publication Grant

'Østermark-Johansen is at her best when she draws out the complexity of Pater's critical writing, as in the fine final chapter, where she extends her characterisation of Pater's sculptural aesthetic to his prose style, both in practice and in his musings on the subject in the essay 'Style' of 1888. The book ends with an intriguing discussion of the visual and material aspects of Pater's texts in both manuscript and print. Østermark-Johansen's key idea of 'the language of sculpture' thus reaches its point of greatest abstraction, as a concept for interpreting Pater's work, when it addresses the texts in their most concrete form, something Pater himself would surely have appreciated.' Burlington Magazine

'… this is a book that will delight Paterians, surprising and instructing even those who know him well. Østermark-Johansen's deep respect for her subject informs every line while her impressive breadth of knowledge and imaginative scholarship make this study the essential work of reference for anyone interested in Pater and his relation to style, sculpture, and aestheticism.' The Pater Newsletter

'… in her most recent book […] Østermark-Johansen, who is the author of much fine previous work on Pater and nineteenth-century artistic culture, uses sculpture to trace Pater’s development as art historian, writer, and thinker… One of the lasting impressions of Walter Pater and the Language of Sculpture is its real enthusiasm for its subject. 'Østermark-Johansen knows Pater as only few other contemporary critics do, and she captures her subject with a winning mixture of intimacy and critical detachment… She is sensitive to the texture and shades of Pater’s allusive prose. Her close readings tease out concealed meanings that are buried in Pater’s notoriously knotty sentences. She offers exciting new readings of the spatial dimension of Pater’s literary imagination and his experimental use of the senses - prominently, the sense of touch - in his critical writings.' Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies

'… besides being a landmark book for Paterian studies, this is a very beautiful object both to the eye and touch, with high-quality sheet paper, 89 black and white illustrations and 20 colour plates… an invaluable and polished monograph on Walter Pater’s aesthetics and style that not only provides a comprehensive exploration of all his works in their generic and thematic heterogeneity, but also offers a highly coherent view of that central late 19th-century author through that highly pertinent problematic of sculpture and the relief.' Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens

'… this is a study whose sheer richness will reward multiple readings, giving both new and experienced students of Pater a set of fresh connections, contexts, and intertexts with which to conjure.' Victorian Studies

Lene Østermark-Johansen’s well-researched, richly digressive study of the meanings of sculpture in Walter Pater’s work expands sculpture’s sphere, embracing "engravings, tapestries, anything woven, all kinds of relief, whether low or high, small or large scale."' Romanticism & Victorianism on the Net

Table of Contents

Contents:

Introduction

1. Pater and the Italian Renaissance Paragone

2. Pater and German Aesthetic Thought

3. Pater and French Aestheticism

4. Pater and Aestheticist 'Painting'

5. Pater and Greek Sculpture

6. Style and the language of sculpture

Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Lene Østermark-Johansen is Reader in English at the University of Copenhagen. She is the author of Sweetness and Strength: The Reception of Michelangelo in Late Victorian England (Ashgate 1998) and has published extensively on Pater, Swinburne and Wilde.

About the Series

British Art: Global Contexts

British Art: Global Contexts
British Art: Global Contexts provides a forum for the study of British art and visual culture in the global context from 1700 to the present day. The main focus of the series is threefold: the transport, location, and reception of British art across the world; the British reception and exhibition of art from around the globe; and transnational and cosmopolitan art containing significant British components. The series seeks to problematize, historicize, and specify the idea of British art across the period, as it intersects with local, regional, international and global issues, communities, materials, and environments. Specializing in studies of British art within comparative and interdisciplinary frameworks, the series includes monographs and thematic studies, and single authored works and edited volumes of essays. The series publishes research which deals with fine art objects and the broader visual and material cultural environment of Britain and its historical territories, as well as with the global diaspora of British artists, genres, artefacts, materials and styles, and the contribution to British art of other global diasporas.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART026000
ART / Sculpture & Installation