The need for a single public culture - the creation of an authentic identity - is fundamental to our understanding of nationalism and nationhood. This book considers how manufactured cultural identities are expressed. It explores how notions of Britishness were constructed and promoted through architecture, landscape, painting, sculpture and literature, and the ways in which the aesthetics of national identities promoted the idea of nation. The idea encompassed the doctrine of popular freedom and liberty from external constraint. Particular attention is paid to the political and social contexts of national identities within the British Isles; the export, adoption and creation of new identities; and the role of gender in the forging of those identities. The book examines the politics of land-ownership as played out within the arena of the oppositional forces of the Irish Catholics and the Anglo-Irish Protestant ascendancy. It reviews the construction of a modern British imperial identity as seen in the 1903 durbar exhibition of Indian art. The area where national projection was particularly directed was in the architecture and the displays of the national pavilions designed for international exhibitions. Discussions include the impact of Robert Bowyer's project on the evolution of history painting through his re-representation of English history; the country houses with architectural styles ranging from Gothic to Greek Revivalist; and the place of Arthurian myth in British culture. The book is an important addition to the field of postcolonial studies as it looks at how British identity creation affected those living in England.
Junk aesthetics in a throwaway age
Junk aesthetics in a throwaway age
In America, one is either ‘Hip’ or ‘Square’, declared Norman Mailer in 1957.
Such are the alternatives: ‘one is a rebel or one conforms, one is a frontiersman in the Wild West of American night life, or else a Square cell, trapped
in the totalitarian tissues of American society, doomed willy-nilly to conform
if one is to succeed’.1 By 1959, this opposition had been popularised to the
point that Life published an illustrated article relishing the contrasts between
spoken and written languages, to influence our strategies of representation,
and to inflect the grammar and aesthetics of our cinemas: the way things and
people are filmed keep on shaping and informing the vision that is proposed
to the spectator. In the 1970s, feminist film theory demonstrated its effect
on the representation of gender. The techniques at play in the
representation of race in film also came under scrutiny, with their
The Black Panther newspaper and
The Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Maoist Chinese artists who created
posters and visual images in the 1960s and 1970s spread political ideology
through empathetic, simple and bold images of everyday people. Viewers of
these images could actually see themselves as revolutionaries by identifying
with their protagonists. Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture, designer,
illustrator and ‘revolutionary artist’ for the BPP, was ‘the Norman Rockwell
of the ghetto’,1 portraying poor and working
Reproducibility, propaganda and the
Chinese origins of neoliberal aesthetics
Victoria H. F. Scott
The artist has truth on his or her team.
Andrew J. Mitchell, Heidegger Among the Sculptors1
Walter Benjamin’s thesis about the reproducibility of art is often misconstrued.
The significance of the reproducibility of art, via the invention of photography
(and later film and television), is frequently explained as the first step towards
the democratisation and demystification of art. After the invention of photography circa 1826, the story goes, everyone could own a
This article argues that the central dimensions of film aesthetics may be explained
by a general theory of viewer psychology, the PECMA flow model. The PECMA flow model
explains how the film experience is shaped by the brain‘s architecture and the
operation of different cognitive systems; the model describes how the experience is
based on a mental flow from perception, through emotional activation and cognitive
processing, to motor action. The article uses the flow model to account for a variety
of aesthetic phenomena, including the reality-status of films, the difference between
narrative and lyrical-associative film forms, and the notion of ‘excess’.
This essay examines the Gothic trope of monstrosity in a range of literary and historical works, from writings on the French Revolution to Mary Shelleys Frankenstein to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I argue that, in the various versions of the Frankenstein myth, what has ultimately come to seem most monstrous is the uncanny coupling of literary and political discourse. Beginning with Jacobin and anti-Jacobin discourse, this essay traces the tendency of literary tropes to turn into political tropes. In Frankenstein and in the Victorian rewritings of Shelley‘s novel, the trope of monstrosity functions, with remarkable consistency, as a mechanism which enables the unstable and often revolutionary turns between aesthetic and ideological discourse. Because the trope of monstrosity at the heart of Frankenstein exists on the border between literary and political discourse that trope has emerged as one of the most crucial forces in current critical theoretical debates about the relationship between aesthetics and ideology.
In Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Gothic-horror novel Little
Star (2010) graphic violence has a central function – thematically, but
primarily as an aesthetic device. The plot contains motifs from classical video
nasties, motifs that also have an effect on the text itself. This paper examines
the novel’s use of extremely violent scenes, influenced by violent horror films,
defining them as a kind of remediation. One point being made is that the use of
violent effects, often described as a kind of spectacle, can be interpreted as a
formal play upon the conventions of violent fiction.
The first part of this article focuses on previously unstudied materials relating
to the critical recuperation of William Blake in the period between
c.1910 and 1930. It notes how commentators utilised ideas
of citizenship and hospitality when they attempted to modernise Blake’s
interests and concerns. It explains how these distinctive critical idioms were
constructed, what they had in common and how they situated Blake in larger
public arguments about the social significance of cultural creativity. The
second part of the article traces the ramifications of this new way of thinking
about Blake by noting his appearance in modernist and neo-romantic art criticism
in the 1930s and 1940s.
Immersive spectatorship at
the panorama and the aesthetics
of the sublime
While academic painting could accommodate the aesthetics of the
Enquiry by conflating the great style with terrifying, supernatural or
irrational subject matter, it did not initially respond to the call for
formal innovation that was implicit in Burke’s criticism of painting.
The confidence given by neoclassical precepts –but also by the new
status conferred on artists by the Royal Academy –made it possible
to overlook Burke’s argument that, as a literal and mimetic medium