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Film form and aesthetics
This chapter offers an introduction to film analysis. Although this work
emphasises the importance of film as a cultural and historical object,
it is crucial to recognise the textual specificity of film. As the work is
partly aimed at those who may not have studied film before, this chapter
will outline how to explore visual style and will draw attention to how
this is constructed through lighting, staging, performance, camerawork,
costumes and music.
The focus here is film and, while the examples are predominantly
in mediating new lands,
people and places to European travellers and their readers in Britain.
But what was the picturesque; what impact did it have and did this
stretch beyond the realm of aesthetics and art into those of politics
and society? 5 One
thing that was generally agreed upon was the pre-eminence of viewing,
visualisation and the visual in the construction and mediation of the
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.
This book carefully considers the myriad and complex relationships between queer male masculinity and interior design, material culture and aesthetics in Britain between 1885 and 1957 - that is bachelors of a different sort - through rich, well-chosen case studies. It pays close attention to particular homes and domestic interiors of Lord Ronald Gower, Alfred Taylor, Oscar Wilde, Charles Shannon and Charles Ricketts, Edward Perry Warren and John Marshall, Sir Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines, Noel Coward and Cecil Beaton. The book underscores the discursive history and conceptual parameters of the bachelor as these collided with queer sexualities through social and cultural perceptions. It focuses on the seven deadly sins of the modern bachelor: queerness, idolatry, decadence, askesis, decoration, glamour, and finally, artifice. The seven deadly sins of the modern bachelor comprise a contested site freighted with contradiction, vacillating between and revealing the fraught and distinctly queer twining of shame and resistance. Together the furniture and collections that filled Gower's Windsor home compel us to search out the narratives that bric-a-brac at once enliven and expose well beyond the shadows of the endless and meaningless accumulation that late Victorians were said to been have afflicted by.
The need for a single public culture
– the creation of an authentic identity – is fundamental to
our understanding of nationalism and nationhood. How are these
manufactured cultural identities expressed? This book considers those
questions in relation to the ways in which the aesthetics of national
identities promoted the idea of nation that encompassed the
The death- knell of the imperial romance and imperial rule
power to move and charm, the particular confluence of politics, science
and aesthetics that brought it into being is gone, never to return.
Ezenwa-Ohaeto, Chinua Achebe: A Biography
(Oxford: James Currey, 1997), p. 27.
Ibid. See also Carol Sicherman
Rebecca Anne Barr, Sylvie Kleiman-Lafon, and Sophie Vasset
of bellies’, the last section, ‘Visualising the viscera’, focuses
on drawings, engravings and caricatures which used the bowels,
viscera and entrails to articulate political protest, Revolutionary
tensions and subversion through scatological aesthetics, or to
expose those invisible organs. Barbara Stentz examines the ‘iconography of the belly’, whose protuberant lines were increasingly
deployed in Revolutionary satire to depict the excesses and corruption of both the clergy and the aristocracy. Caricature reacted
against the smooth lines of
‘energy shards’ and ‘force lines’, he transformed mechanical aesthetics, melding
geometry and physics and translating abstract art into a natural world governed by
physical laws. Depero reconfigured fauna and flora into structures and machines,
a modern version of Del Monte’s intertwining of ‘speculation’ and ‘manufacture’.9
Depero thus needs to be reassessed as an inbetweener straddling across a variety of
modes of production, both outmoded and new. Balibar’s assertion that ‘periods of
transition are […] characterised by the coexistence of several modes of
This study guide is intended to provide a starting point for those seeking to use film as a source. It is aimed at those who want to use film and moving image as the basis for research and offers advice on research methods, theory and methodology, archival work and film-based analysis. Everything included here is also intended to be good practice, whether it be conducting an interview, visiting an archive, undertaking textual analysis or defining a research question. It draws on the disciplines of film and history to offer advice for students and researchers in these fields.
bring together in its analysis of housing and
policy. The chapter opens by identifying why the language and problems of aesthetics and design were so important to social policy discourse from the 1890s onwards. The next section addresses the
transformation of the political and architectural issue of housing
from being a vaguely formulated ‘question’ in the 1890s, to being a
‘policy’ in the 1920s. Central here is how the ‘home’ was conceived
of, described and investigated, because one cannot formulate a policy
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