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Haunted Texts

Haunted Texts: Studies in Pre-Raphaelitism

Edited by David Latham
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 336
  • Book Info
    Haunted Texts
    Book Description:

    Begun by young rebels committed to revolutionizing the creative arts, Pre-Raphaelitism has moved from the margins of nineteenth-century art and literature to the vanguard of interdisciplinary studies. The term is now used to denote the Pre-Raphaelite, Aesthetic, and Decadent movements in art, culture, and literature, but it has remained as difficult to define as ever.Haunted Textsattempts to meet the challenge of defining and illustrating the full spectrum of Pre-Raphaelitism.

    Working with a diverse range of Pre-Raphaelite poetry, painting, decorative arts, book illustration, and political prose, the ten contributors toHaunted Textspursue the critical strategies of such leading figures as Christina Rossetti and Dante Rossetti, William Morris and Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, and Aubrey Beardsley. The essays consider the bibliocritical issues of archival research concerning the personal letters and diaries of the Rossetti family; the technological issues that challenge conventional methods of scholarship; the gender issues concerning constructions of identity derived from the changing conceptions of love, desire, anxiety, and brotherhood; and the interdisciplinary cultural issues that transgress the borders of high art and popular culture.

    Haunted Textspays tribute to the scholarship of Professor William Fredeman who devoted much of his career since the 1950s to establishing a critical foundation that would enable future scholars to define their understanding of the complexity of Pre-Raphaelitism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7563-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 Haunted Texts: The Invention of Pre-Raphaelite Studies
    (pp. 1-34)
    David Latham

    A movement begun in 1848 by three young British artists who pursued the paradoxical practice of presenting a literary subject in a naturalistic setting with a decorative style, Pre-Raphaelitism is now used as a term to denote the Victorian aesthetic movement that led to the socialism of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts guilds and to the decadence of Oscar Wilde and the Rhymers’ Club. The last romantics, the last lovers of beauty, rebel youths haunted by the Gothic ruins of lost mythologies, they were also the first proponents of a disciplined art for art’s sake. The Pre-Raphaelite elevation...

  5. 2 A Commentary on Some of Rossetti’s Translations from Dante
    (pp. 35-52)
    Jerome McGann

    Overshadowed by the spectacular character and success of his 1870 volume ofPoems, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s first book,The Early Italian Poets(1861), is at least as impressive, and was easily as influential, as his more celebrated book of ‘original’ poetry. Like the latter, however, Rossetti’s great book of translations – the adjective does not overstate the case, as I hope to show here – fell into obscurity with the coming of the Modernist movement. The travesty of that anamnesis is only now becoming clear.

    So much of the lost historical record has to be recovered. The case of Rossetti’s...

  6. 3 Rossetti’s Elegy for Masculine Desire: Seduction and Loss in the House of Life
    (pp. 53-70)
    E. Warwick Slinn

    Seduction is about surfaces, about colours and sounds, about images that distract the eye and ear, evoking admiration and desire for the absorbing specificity of sensory objects with their enticing beauty of shape and form. Yet if seduction is about sensation, it is also about representation and temporal ambiguity. Allure promises satisfaction, but not quite yet. So seduction plays with possibility, flaunting present sensation in order to draw attention to its signifying function, its mark of a referent, of a fulfilment, or even of more desirable pleasure, somewhere else, whether in space or time. In these terms all art is...

  7. 4 William Michael Rossetti and the Making of Christina Rossetti’s Reputation
    (pp. 71-90)
    Roger Peattie

    On 29 December 1894, William Michael Rossetti wrote to Theodore Watts-Dunton: ‘You and Swinburne will be sorry (and yet, after such lingering stages of illness, one ought not to be sorry) that my dear good Christina died this morning — most peacefully at the last’ (Selected Letters, 575). A year later, after sorting and assessing her remaining papers, William publishedNew Poems by Christina Rossetti, in the preface to which he declared his love, admiration, and reverence for his sister: ‘Her memory is one of my most sacred treasures, and her works and their repute are proportionately dear to me’...

  8. 5 ‘Slight Channels’: Arthur Hughes and the Illustration of Children’s Books
    (pp. 91-118)
    Carolyn Hares-Stryker

    In theSaturday Review for17 December 1904, art critic D.S. MacColl wrote that he remembered as a child ‘the first wave of Preraphaelite romance that came with the dark coils of the North Wind’s hair and the strangeness of that world of imagery.’¹ MacColl was writing about Arthur Hughes’s illustrations for George MacDonald’sAt the Back of the North Wind(1870). Early in the New Year (19 January 1906), Georgiana Burne Jones would write to Evelyn (nee Pickering) de Morgan asking, ‘Have you seen Arthur Hughes’ illustrations to a child’s book calledBabies’ Classics?It is very lovely and...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  10. 6 ‘Reading Aright’ the Political Texts of Morris’s Textiles and Wallpapers
    (pp. 119-134)
    David Latham

    For William Morris, to ‘read aright’ is to recognize the social production of a text. Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘The Bookcase’ provides a good example of what Morris meant by presenting a subtle distinction between Heaney’s way of ‘seeing things’ and Morris’s more radical ideology. Not books, but the bookcase itself is what Heaney reads in a very Morrisean manner, recognizing as equally important furniture and literature. When Heaney speaks of ‘each vellum-pale board,’ he is referring not to vellum-bound books but to the ‘ashwood or oakwood’ shelves on which the books stand. When he speaks of ‘the lines’ and ‘a...

  11. 7 Whistler/Swinburne: ‘Before the Mirror’
    (pp. 135-144)
    J. Hillis Miller

    William E. Fredeman was a man of the manuscript and printed book epoch if there ever was one. He also knew, however, that a printed book, like a manuscript, was not disembodied words that might be printed without loss in any type size and font on any sort of paper. A book or a manuscript is a material object, and the form of its materiality is part of its meaning. Moreover, as William E. Fredeman also knew, books have also always been in one way or another multimedia productions, most obviously in the case of illustrated books. Fredeman’s magnificent collection...

  12. 8 Scheherazade’s ‘Special Artist’: Illustrations by Arthur Boyd Houghton for The Thousand and One Nights
    (pp. 145-176)
    Allan Life

    A work of art, as the tide of this volume reminds us, is haunted. It is haunted by associations conjured by its admirers, and, like Keats’s Grecian Urn, a legend may haunt its very shape. Deciphering that legend, we may apprehend the spectre of a vanished mind. In the study of such Pre-Raphaelites as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, such a retrieval is especially difficult. Rossetti’s imagination was possessed by a time in which he did not live and by a country he would never see. To interpret the legends that haunt his work, scholars must venture beyond biography and their own...

  13. 9 Sartorial Obsessions: Beardsley and Masquerade
    (pp. 177-196)
    Lorraine Janzen Kooistra

    In the 1960s, during the major exhibit of Beardsley’s drawings at the Victoria and Albert Museum that inspired a renewed interest in the artist and his work,¹ the following headline appeared in theNew York Times:‘Beardsley Prints Seized in London. Shop Wares Called Lewd – Museum Showing Originals’ (11 August 1966, I:25). The story drew attention to the ironic situation in which reproductions of art on open display at a public institution whose very name – The Victoria and Albert — confered dignity and respectability had been seized by Scotland Yard at a bookseller’s shop only two blocks from...

  14. 10 W.E.F.: Question Marks, Exclamation Points, and Asterisks
    (pp. 197-210)
    Ira B. Nadel

    Midway in a 1972 review of a reprint ofThe Germ, Dick Fredeman called attention to the question mark. Distinguishing between Elliot Stock’s line-for-line type facsimile of the Pre-Raphaelite magazine and the original edition, Dick noted the accuracy of the 1901 reprint. Celebrating the photofacsimiles of wrappers and frontispiece etchings and the completely reset line-for-line reprint in a font closely approximating the original 1850 printing, Dick nevertheless undertook a collation of the two versions to show that textual variantsdidexist. Paper stock differed, as did heavy type embossing, with minor variations in the type face, which ‘appears to be...

  15. 11 The Great Pre-Raphaelite Paper Chase: A Retrospective
    (pp. 211-236)
    William E. Fredeman

    More than three decades have passed since I invented the field of Pre-Raphaelite studies, and I thought it might be appropriate in this keynote address to the Armstrong Browning Library conference on ‘The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle’ to retrace for you some of the highlights of those years by way of a retrospective anecdotal account of my personal involvement with the Pre-Raphaelites: where I came from, where I am, and how I got here.¹

    As a bibliographer, editor, and reluctant book collector, I have maintained a systematic watching brief both on the new directions and developments in Pre-Raphaelite criticism and...

    (pp. 237-246)
    David Latham
  17. Contributors
    (pp. 247-248)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 249-262)
  19. Index
    (pp. 263-267)