Gothic Romance

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By Maureen McCue

Due to Napoleon's campaigns in Italy, outdated grasp paintings flooded into Britain and its acquisition grew to become an index of nationwide status. Maureen McCue argues that their responses to those works knowledgeable the writing of Romantic interval authors, allowing them to forge usually mind-blowing connections among Italian artwork, the mind's eye and the period's political, social and advertisement realities. Dr McCue examines poetry, performs, novels, trip writing, exhibition catalogues, early guidebooks and personal stories recorded in letters and diaries through canonical and noncanonical authors, together with Felicia Hemans, William Buchanan, Henry Sass, Pierce Egan, William Hazlitt, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Anna Jameson, Maria Graham Callcott and Samuel Rogers. Her exploration of the belief of connoisseurship exhibits the ways that a data of Italian paintings turned a key marker of cultural status that was once now not constrained to artists and aristocrats, whereas her bankruptcy at the literary creation of post-Waterloo Britain strains the advance of a severe vocabulary both appropriate to the visible arts and literature. In delivering cultural, ancient and literary readings of the responses to Italian paintings by means of early nineteenth-century writers, Dr McCue illuminates the real function they performed in shaping the topics which are primary to our realizing of Romanticism

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New York: Norton, 2002. 140–202. Hereafter, references to his Preface are cited by page number, while passages from the text are cited by act, scene and line number. Introduction In the October 1826 issue of the Westminster Review, Mary Shelley reviewed three books concerned with Italy: Lord Normanby’s The English in Italy (1825), Charlotte Eaton’s Continental Adventures (1826) and Anna Jameson’s Diary of an Ennuyée (1826). Shelley’s review offers contemporary readers not only insight into the special qualities of each book, but also into Italy itself.

Cultural capital’ suggests that the viewer or reader is competent in various forms of cultural knowledge, while ‘symbolic capital’ measures how fully one person’s knowledge is recognized by others. In the nineteenth century, as lines between high and low culture and amongst the social classes blurred, one’s social currency could increasingly be constructed out of one’s cultural knowledge rather than being based predominantly on one’s economic or social circumstances. Learning the correct postures and appropriate responses to both art and literature benefited the average reader-viewer in the ways it enabled him or her to participate in wider cultural and social concerns.

Besides exerting an impact on Europe’s political climate, the newly founded institution also had more local repercussions. It of course sparked the burgeoning discipline of curatorship, but even more radically, art was now seen as belonging to the people rather than to the privileged few. At the same time that the Musée Napoleon was celebrated by many for the riches it introduced into France, many writers expressed the sentiment that Italy, its culture and art had been victimized by the French and their predatory leader.

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