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Women and British Aestheticism

Talia Schaffer, ed. Kathy Alexis Psomiades, ed.


BUY Cloth · 304 pp. · 6.13 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813918914 · $69.50 · Dec 1999
BUY Paper · 304 pp. · 6.13 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813918921 · $24.50 · Dec 1999

This collection of essays introduces new scholarship on the women novelists, poets, fiction writers, essayists, lifestyle experts, and critics who played a central and long-forgotten role in the history of aestheticism, the late nineteenth-century movement associated with "art for art's sake." Recovering the work of these women recasts aestheticism as a powerful and widespread cultural movement rather than the product of a few elite men. Aesthetic women were not just mystical models in jewel-toned draperies or passive consumers of blue china; they were remarkably sophisticated writers, such as Marie Corelli, Christina Rossetti, Virginia Woolf, and Gertrude Jekyll, engaged in challenging their own objectification and formulating new theories of art. These essays show how aestheticism offered both men and women a set of concepts and a vocabulary through which issues of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, exoticism, nature, the modern, economic productivity, commodity culture, mass culture, and high culture could be addressed.

About the Author: 

Talia Schaffer is Assistant Professor of English at San Francisco State University.

Kathy Alexis Psomiades is Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.

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