Changing Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts, 1650-1820

Changing Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts, 1650-1820

Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 472
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    Changing Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts, 1650-1820
    Book Description:

    Continuing with the theme of his work Renaissance Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts, Murray Roston applies to a later period the same critical principle: that for each generation there exists a central complex of inherited ideas and urgent contemporary concerns to which each creative artist and writer responds in his or her own way. Roston demonstrates that what emerges is not a fixed or monolithic pattern for each generation but a dynamic series of responses to shared challenges. The book relates leading English writers and literary modes to contemporary developments in architecture, painting, and sculpture. "A sumptuous book. . . . Clearly and gracefully written and cogently argued, Roston's admirable achievement is of paramount significance to literary studies, to cultural and art history, and to aesthetics. . . . Outstanding."--Choice

    Originally published in 1992.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6091-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
    (pp. 3-10)

    THIS PRESENT BOOK IS A SEQUEL TORENAISSANCE PERSPECTIVES,the second in a series which is planned eventually to reach to the modern period. As the very concept of interart studies, especially in their synchronic form, has frequently been viewed with critical disfavour, the opening volume began with anapologia,suggesting the justification for such research and defining the specific analytical principles to be adopted throughout the series. It has seemed logical to reprint that statement of intent, suitably up-dated, as the introduction to each subsequent unit too, for those who may read only the volume relevant to their interests....

      (pp. 13-40)

      THE BAROQUE CHURCH, THE PRE-EMINENT EXPRESSION OF THAT artistic mode, testified to a revolution in man’s conception of the universe and of his place within it. The religious buildings of the Renaissance had evinced a quieter aim, conveying there the dignity and centrality of man, either in smaller churches fitted to serve his devotional needs, such as Brunelleschi’s charming Pazzi Chapel, or, within the larger structures, by a proportioned coordination of design manifesting the rational achievements of the human architect who had planned or constructed them. In Brunelleschi’s more spacious church, Santo Spirito, the slender columns, placed equidistantly both from...

      (pp. 41-86)

      THE HEROIC PLAYS OF THE RESTORATION HAVE, JUSTIFIABLY PER-haps, failed to capture the imagination of the twentieth-century critic and theatregoer, and in contrast to the comedy of that time, notably the lively works of Wycherley, Etherege, and Congreve, have been accorded no enthusiastic revival. Yet if those serious plays are less suited to present tastes, their success upon the contemporary stage should not be forgotten. Villiers’sRehearsal(1671), it is true, poured such withering scorn upon the heroic drama that the early plays which had served as the targets for its satire never recovered; but the genre as such did...

      (pp. 89-150)

      Since the appearance of Arthur O. Lovejoy’s seminal study over fifty years ago, the centrality of the Great Chain of Being in the history of European thought has been self-evident—the vision it suggested of a hierarchically structured universe in which all species from the lowliest of insects to the highest forms of creation exist as necessary links leading up to the Demiurge or Supreme Creator, within the harmony of a cosmic system established on the principle ofconcordia discors.¹ The initial absorption of that Neoplatonicschemainto medieval theology had, he pointed out, been problematic, leading at times to...

      (pp. 151-190)

      IT IS A CURIOUS ANOMALY THAT THE EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY—a generation so overtly committed to artistic imitation, reverentially asserting throughout its critical treatises, prefaces, prologues, and declarations of intent that Homer, Vergil, Juvenal, and Horace were to be its models and arbiters in all matters of literary performance—should have been responsible for creating the first essentially new genre to appear in literature since the classical era, destined eventually to rival all competing forms both in popularity and in copiousness of production. Among the causes that might be regarded as responsible for the singularity of such literary initiative in...

      (pp. 193-254)

      England’s artistic subservience to Europe, with its reliance for over two centuries on the importation of foreign artists to keep it, if not abreast of current fashion, at least not too deplorably behind, drew to a close in the early eighteenth century. Hogarth’s patriotic insistence on an indigenous art no longer indebted to French or Italian models, the emergence of Reynolds and Gainsborough as portraitists comparable with the finest in Europe, and the foundation of a Royal Academy of Art to encourage and advance British talent marked its new-found independence. From the vantage point of the continent, however, England’s aesthetic...

      (pp. 255-310)

      For those attracted to synchronic investigation of the kindred arts, there would appear to be an especial interest in approaching the work of Blake, a rare opportunity to explore the similarities and contrasts discernible in the poetry and painting of the same creative artist. Here, it would seem, we may examine under ideal conditions, undisturbed by differences in the personality of painter and poet which normally hamper such investigation, the variations in technique appropriate to the verbal and visual media in manifesting both his individual genius and his responsiveness to broader contemporary modes. Blake’s status as an acknowledgedly major figure...

      (pp. 311-336)

      THE NOVELS OF JANE AUSTEN HAVE LONG CONSTITUTED AN ANOMaly on the literary scene. They appear to defy the general principle that works of originality and genius stand at the threshold of change, either themselves evolving new modes of thought and expression or, at the very least, responding sensitively to the harbingers of such cultural shifts. Their author has by general consent been seen instead as looking back toward a past generation, ignoring, perhaps because of her relatively circumscribed environment, the revolutionary ferment of ideas on the larger European scene in favour of the more settled standards which had prevailed...

      (pp. 339-372)

      The rejection towards the end of the eighteenth century of authoritarian, universal rules for art in favour of imaginative, individual creativity produced a stylistic and thematic heterogeneity in Romanticism which has at times placed in doubt the validity of any attempt to comprehend its varied forms within the parameters of a single movement. Poetry ranging in tonality from the sensuousness of the Keatsian ode to the cool cynicism of Byronic satire, from the contemplation of rural beauty in Wordsworth to the passionate rebelliousness of Shelley, together with the philosophical inconsistencies inherent within the mode led earlier in this century to...

      (pp. 373-398)

      A CURIOUS ANOMALY OF ROMANTICISM, ACCEPTABLE IN ITS ILLOGIcality because of the avowedly anti-rationalist stance of its proponents, is the self-reflexive or circular nature of its poetic inspiration. The poet, while attributing the source of his moral or emotional edification to impulses received from the harmony of Nature or from the spirit of the Supreme Being immanent within it, at the same time lays proprietary claim to such creative stimulus as originating ultimately from within his own imaginative faculties. Within awful and sublime scenes there is, Wordsworth informs us, a transcendent force that men cannot choose but feel when Nature...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 399-440)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 441-454)