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The Vulgarization of Art

The Victorians and Aesthetic Democracy
Linda Dowling

BUY Cloth · 164 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813916347 · $59.50 · Feb 1996
BUY Paper · 164 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813929323 · $35.00 · May 2015
BUY Ebook · 164 pp. · ISBN 9780813923956 · $30.00 · Jun 2012

In this major reinterpretation of the Victorian Aesthetic Movement, Linda Dowling argues that such classic works of Victorian art writing such as Ruskin's Stones of Venice of Morris's Lectures on Art or Wilde's Critic as Artist become wholly intelligible only within the larger ideological context of the Whig aesthetic tradition.

The Vulgarization of Art explores the tragic consequences for the Aesthetic Movement when a repressed and irresolvable conflict between Shaftesbury's assumption of "aristocratic soul" and the Victorian ideal of "aesthetic democracy" repeatedly shatters the hopes of such writers as Ruskin, Morris, Pater, and Wilde for social transformation through the aesthetic sense.

About the Author(s): 

Linda Dowling is an Associate Fellow of the Center for Historical Analysis at Rutgers University. She is the author, most recently, of Language and Decadence in the Victorian Fin de Siecle and Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford.

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