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Material Figures

Political Economy, Commercial Culture, and the Aesthetic Sensibility of Charles Baudelaire

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Margueritte S. Murphy

Ideological debates about economics and aesthetics raged hotly in nineteenth-century France. French political economy was taking shape as a discipline that would support free-market liberalism, while l’art pour l’art theories circulated, and utopian systems with aesthetic and economic agendas proliferated. Yet, as this book argues, the discourses of art and literature worked in tandem with market discourses to generate theories of economic and social order, of the model of the self-individuating and desiring subject of modernity, and of this individual’s relationship to a new world of objects. Baudelaire as a poet and art critic is exemplary: Rather than a disaffected artist, Baudelaire is shown to be a spectator desirous of both art and goods whose sensibilities reflect transformations in habits of perception. The book includes chapters on equilibrium and utility in economic and aesthetic theory, on the place of the aesthetic in press coverage of the industrial exhibitions, on the harmonic theories of Baudelaire’s early art criticism, aimed at a bourgeois audience, on Baudelaire’s radical cosmopolitanism learned through viewing “objects” on display at the Universal Exhibition of 1855, and on Les Fleurs du Mal and Le Spleen de Paris, where language makes visible the traits of a new material world.

Scapeland

Writing the Landscape from Diderot’s Salons to the Postmodern Museum

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Gillian B. Pierce

Scapeland: Writing the Landscape from Diderot’s Salons to the Postmodern Museum is a comparative, interdisciplinary study tracing theories of the sublime and a history of spectatorship from Diderot’s eighteenth-century French Salons, through art criticism by Baudelaire and Breton, to Jean-François Lyotard’s postmodern exhibition Les Immatériaux. In the Salons, an exploration of the painted landscape becomes an encounter with both the limits of representation and the infinite possibilities of fiction. Baudelaire and Breton explore similar limits in their work, set against the backdrop of the modern city. For them, as for Diderot, the attempt to render visual objects in narrative language leads to the development of new literary forms and concerns. Lyotard’s concept of the “postmodern museum” frames the sublime encounter, once again, in terms that expressly evoke Diderot’s verbal rendering of painted spaces as a personal promenade. According to Lyotard, Diderot “ouvre, par écrit, les surfaces des tableaux comme les portes d’une exposition.. . . [il] abolit . . . l’opposition de la nature et de la culture, de la réalité de l’image, du volume et de la surface.” Reading the literary production of these four writers alongside their art criticism, Scapeland considers narrative responses to art as imaginative assertions of human presence against the impersonal world of objects.

Wagner and the Novel

Wagner’s Operas and the European Realist Novel: An exploration of genre

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Hugh Ridley

This study bridges literature and music at an exciting and controversial point, offering the lover of music and literature and the specialist reader an insight into the relationship between Wagner’s operas and the nineteenth century novel, including comparisons with Rigoletto and Der Rosenkavalier in their evolution from other forms. It discusses matters of genre and national tradition, placing Wagner’s works in the heritage of the European Enlightenment.
Comparisons of Wagner’s works with the novel have been fleeting, denoting only their length and complexity. Examining in principle and in detail the proximity of Wagner’s themes and techniques to the practices of the Realist novel, this study sheds original light on major issues of Wagner’s works and on opera as genre.
The book trawls extensively in two research fields. It looks to the established Wagner literature for understandings of the musical procedures which map his works onto the prose fiction, while reading Wagner’s operas against the backdrop of the European novel, rather than against German Romantic fiction. It revisits Adorno’s music sociology and his seminal study of Wagner, but repositions many elements of his argument. Unusually, this book adopts a critical stance to Nietzsche’s view of Wagner. In marked contrast to Nietzsche, the study regards parallels between Wagner and Flaubert as an enrichment of our understanding of Wagner’s achievement.
The book concludes with a major question of European cultural history: why it is that – in common with Italy, but in marked contrast to France or England – Germany’s most representative works in the nineteenth century are operas rather than novels.

Contemporary French Art 2

Gérard Garouste, Colette Deblé, Georges Rousse, Geneviève Asse, Martial Raysse, Christian Jaccard, Joël Kermarrec, Danièle Perronne, Daniel Dezeuze, Philippe Favier, Daniel Nadaud

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Michael Bishop

Gérard Garouste, Colette Deblé, Georges Rousse, Geneviève Asse, Martial Raysse, Christian Jaccard, Joël Kermarrec, Danièle Perronne, Daniel Dezeuze, Philippe Favier, Daniel Nadaud: after the eleven essays of Contemporary French Art 1, devoted to major artists from Ben Vautier and Niki de Saint Phalle to Annette Messager and Gérard Titus-Carmel, the present volume pursues its interrogations of the what, the how and the why of contemporary plastic production of some of France’s finest practitioners. If, as ever, such production can reveal elements of an interweaving of individualized preoccupations and modes, endless specificities demarcate and affirm originalities that pure theory and its leveling anonymity may obscure. Thus is it that Gérard Garouste is alone in that obsession with ‘indianness’ and ‘classicalness’; that Colette Deblé’s gesture is drawn implacably to the unseenness of female representation; that Georges Rousse plunges photography into the realm of matter’s poetic sacredness; that Geneviève Asse traverses a pure seemingness of abstraction to attain to an intimacy of silence; that Martial Raysse’s ‘hygiene of vision’ may endlessly renew and hybridize itself. Christian Jaccard, too, will explore with uniqueness an art of materiality at the frontier of metaphysics; Joël Kermarrec will offer us the inimitable exquisite traces of surging desire and deception; Danièle Perronne’s boxes and stringings, her paintings and her sheetings will unfold a psychic infinity at the heart of form. And, if Daniel Dezeuze seeks namelessness and pure structuration, the latter yet surge forth via works that relentlessly identify a gesture so distant, we may feel, from the at once sobering and ceremonial microproliferations of a Philippe Favier or the tense but genial articulations of Daniel Nadaud’s sculptural imagination.

Apollinaire on the Edge

Modern Art, Popular Culture, and the Avant-Garde

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Willard Bohn

The title of the present study refers to the fact that Apollinaire consistently worked at the cutting edge of modern aesthetics. The volume seeks to rehabilitate four experimental genres in particular that have received relatively little attention. The first chapter examines a charming artist’s book entitled The Bestiary, which features illustrations by Raoul Dufy. The second is concerned with a group of poems that celebrate ordinary, everyday life. The next chapter considers Apollinaire’s little-known debt to children’s rhymes. The final chapter discusses an avant-garde drama that was destined to play a key role in the evolution of modern French theater. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in avant-garde aesthetics. It will appeal not only to scholars of twentieth-century poetry but also to devotees of modern art and modern theater.

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Cristina Johnston

Through the prisms of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, French Minority Cinema explores key questions of identity and social interaction in the context of republican France, across two significant ‘minority’ cinemas: cinéma de banlieue and gay cinema. It offers the first comprehensive parallel study of these two bodies of film and their inter-relations, examining issues of national cinema and identity and the problematic status of minorities within the contemporary Republic. Against a backdrop of political and media debates on the PACS, parity, the affaire du voile and the French principle of laïcité, banlieue youth dissatisfaction, and gay parenting, French Minority Cinema charts the negotiatory discourse that has emerged through, and around, a core corpus of films released over the past two decades. This study will be of interest to scholars and students alike, working in the fields of French, Film, and Gay and Lesbian/Queer Studies.

"The Original Explosion That Created Worlds"

Essays on Werewere Liking’s Art and Writings

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Edited by John Conteh-Morgan and Irène Assiba d'Almeida

“The Original Explosion That Created Worlds” is the first book entirely devoted to the Cameroonian Werewere Liking, one of the most important writers and innovative artists of post-colonial Africa. The book includes a wide-ranging collection of essays by some of Liking’s finest critics addressing her life and work, from her earlier fiction and social criticism to her later experimental drama, which has been produced on stages around the world. Several essays also look at Liking’s culture-based entrepreneurial work, in which she has attempted to establish a new economic support for African artistic expression.
Liking’s excellent but little-known poetry and art criticism, her iconoclastic novels and essays are all the subject of close critical attention in particular studies. There is also consideration of the challenges that her original language and fictional forms present to a literary translator. Liking’s work has provoked an extensive commentary, in the popular press as well as in scholarly journals and her critical reception both inside and outside of Africa is carefully examined. The final important inclusions are two plays by Liking published here for the first time in English translations– Liquid Heroes and This Africa of ours...
“The Original Explosion That Created Worlds”: Essays on Werewere Liking’s Art and Writings may serve as an introduction to the work of one of Africa’s most important contemporary artists and one of the most astute commentators on the position of Africa in the new century. To those already familiar with Liking’s novels, poetry, plays, criticism or other cultural work it offers an expanded and deepened understanding of her working contexts and the amazing reach of her cultural expression. The book is of necessary interest to all readers, students, and scholars of postcolonial African literatures, of translation studies, and of gender issues.

Rive Gauche

Paris as a Site of Avant-Garde Art and Cultural Exchange in the 1920s

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Edited by Elke Mettinger, Margarete Rubik and Jörg Türschmann

From the late 19th century onwards Paris had been a congenial locus for bohemian life. By 1920 Montparnasse had superseded Montmartre as the intellectual and artistic heart of the city, inaugurating a decade of unequalled creative achievement and innovative self-performance. These were the years of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ or années folles. “Paris” – as Gertrude Stein famously remarked – “was where the twentieth century was”. The Rive Gauche offered a carnivalesque atmosphere of liberality, where the manifold experiments of the avant-garde could breathe freely.
This volume attempts to do justice to the polyphony of voices and points up the synergies that existed between the creative activities of writers, painters, publishers, photographers and film-makers. The contributors adopt interdisciplinary approaches, casting new light on the rich and diverse artistic world of Paris in the twenties as presented in lesser known works by French artists, English and American expatriates, but also Belgian, Dutch, German, Polish or South American avant-gardists. The collection thus gives the reader a fascinating insight into artistic productions which have hitherto received comparatively little critical attention.

Madame Bovary at the Movies

Adaptation, Ideology, Context

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Mary Donaldson-Evans

Some eighteen film directors from France to the United States, Germany to India, have applied themselves to the task of adapting Madame Bovary to the screen. Why has Flaubert’s 1857 classic novel been so popular with filmmakers? What challenges have they had to meet? What ideologies do their adaptations serve? Madame Bovary at the Movies seeks to answer these questions, avoiding value judgments based on the notion of fidelity to the novel. In-depth analyses are reserved for the studio films of Renoir, Minnelli and Chabrol and the small-screen adaptation of Fywell. As the first book-length examination of the Madame Bovary adaptations, this volume, in addition to its pedagogical applications, will be a useful reference for scholars of literature and film and for those interested in the burgeoning field of adaptation studies.

Series:

Pierre Taminiaux

The Paradox of Photography analyzes the discourse on photography by four of the most important modern French poets and theorists (Baudelaire, Breton, Barthes and Valéry). It stresses in particular the importance of this visual language for the development of both new forms of narrative and original critical studies on issues of representation in art. It also reflects upon the integration of photography within the domain of technical modernity while emphasizing its aesthetic identity stemming from the Western tradition of figurative painting.