Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan

Princeton University Press
Free sample

How Japan captured the Victorian imagination and transformed Western aesthetics

From the opening of trade with Britain in the 1850s, Japan occupied a unique and contradictory place in the Victorian imagination, regarded as both a rival empire and a cradle of exquisite beauty. Quaint, Exquisite explores the enduring impact of this dramatic encounter, showing how the rise of Japan led to a major transformation of Western aesthetics at the dawn of globalization.

Drawing on philosophy, psychoanalysis, queer theory, textual criticism, and a wealth of in-depth archival research, Grace Lavery provides a radical new genealogy of aesthetic experience in modernity. She argues that the global popularity of Japanese art in the late nineteenth century reflected an imagined universal standard of taste that Kant described as the “subjective universal” condition of aesthetic judgment. The book features illuminating cultural histories of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, English derivations of the haiku, and retellings of the Madame Butterfly story, and sheds critical light on lesser-known figures such as Winnifred Eaton, an Anglo-Chinese novelist who wrote under the Japanese pseudonym Onoto Watanna, and Mikimoto Ryuzo, a Japanese enthusiast of the Victorian art critic John Ruskin. Lavery also explains the importance and symbolic power of such material objects as W. B. Yeats’s prized katana sword and the “Japanese vellum” luxury editions of Oscar Wilde.

Quaint, Exquisite provides essential insights into the modern understanding of beauty as a vehicle for both intimacy and violence, and the lasting influence of Japanese forms today on writers and artists such as Quentin Tarantino.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

Grace E. Lavery is assistant professor of English and affiliated faculty in the Program in Critical Theory and the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
May 28, 2019
Read more
Collapse
Pages
240
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780691189963
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Literary Criticism / Asian / Japanese
Literary Criticism / Comparative Literature
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
Literary Criticism / LGBT
Literary Criticism / Modern / 19th Century
Philosophy / Aesthetics
Philosophy / Movements / Critical Theory
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
A brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind—our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions—and how mind and brain relate to art.
 
At the turn of the century, Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe. Artists and scientists met in glittering salons, where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology, brain science, literature, and art. Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace, in rich and rewarding detail, the ideas and advances made then, and their enduring influence today.
 
The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realization that truth lies hidden beneath the surface. That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900. Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols, dreams, and behavior. Arthur Schnitzler revealed women’s unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue. Gustav Klimt, Oscar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust, desire, anxiety, and the fear of death.
 
Kandel tells the story of how these pioneers—Freud, Schnitzler, Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele—inspired by the Vienna School of Medicine, in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology, leading to revelations about how we see and perceive, how we think and feel, and how we respond to and create works of art. Kandel, one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time, places these five innovators in the context of today’s cutting-edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele, as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler. Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900, The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written, superbly researched, and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities. It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual history.
©2020 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.