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This book analyses Darwin’s influence on art and the effect of his science on experiences of beauty. The first chapter discusses Darwin’s great forerunner, Alexander von Humboldt, and his contribution to thinking about the relationship between science and beauty. The second examines the public reception of Darwin in Germany, focusing on the German Naturalists and the important scientific controversies which Darwin’s idea provoked. It shows the political use of science (Häckel and Virchow) and foreshadows present-day debates between Darwinism and Creationism, science and an idealized view of nature.
Against this background the book shows the effect of Darwin on three important fields: the perception of landscape in major writers (Zola, Lawrence, Jacobsen, Benn and Brecht) before 1920; the portrayal of wild life, as revealed in bird-painting; and the understanding of the relationship between the human body and character.
The book brings together for the first time Darwin’s The Expression of Emotion with the work of major European novelists (Eliot, Gutzkow and Freytag), focusing on the place of the older understandings contained in physiognomy, which Darwin challenged, on the portrayal of ethnicity, and on debates about acting, including for the young Brecht.
Indigenous Cultures in Australia
How does one read across cultural boundaries? The multitude of creative texts, performance practices, and artworks produced by Indigenous writers and artists in contemporary Australia calls upon Anglo-European academic readers, viewers, and critics to respond to this critical question.
Contributors address a plethora of creative works by Indigenous writers, poets, playwrights, filmmakers, and painters, including Richard Frankland, Lionel Fogarty, Lin Onus, Kim Scott, Sam Watson, and Alexis Wright, as well as Durrudiya song cycles and works by Western Desert artists. The complexity of these creative works transcends categorical boundaries of Western art, aesthetics, and literature, demanding new processes of reading and response. Other contributors address works by non-Indigenous writers and filmmakers such as Stephen Muecke, Katrina Schlunke, Margaret Somerville, and Jeni Thornley, all of whom actively engage in questioning their complicity with the past in order to challenge Western modes of knowledge and understanding and to enter into a more self-critical and authentically ethical dialogue with the Other.
In probing the limitations of Anglo-European knowledge-systems, essays in this volume lay the groundwork for entering into a more authentic dialogue with Indigenous writers and critics.
In: The Scottish Sixties
‘What is emotion?’ pondered the young Charles Darwin in his notebooks. How were the emotions to be placed in an evolutionary framework? And what light might they shed on human-animal continuities? These were among the questions Darwin explored in his research, assisted both by an acute sense of observation and an extraordinary capacity for fellow feeling, not only with humans but with all animal life. After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind explores questions of mind, emotion and the moral sense which Darwin opened up through his research on the physical expression of emotions and the human–animal relation. It also examines the extent to which Darwin’s ideas were taken up by Victorian writers and popular culture, from George Eliot to the Daily News. Bringing together scholars from biology, literature, history, psychology, psychiatry and paediatrics, the volume provides an invaluable reassessment of Darwin’s contribution to a new understanding of the moral sense and emotional life, and considers the urgent scientific and ethical implications of his ideas today.

This paper explores the influence of Chinese painting upon the friendship of the scientist, engineer, and art scholar Raphael Petrucci and the poet and British Museum curator Laurence Binyon. Both Petrucci and Binyon were fascinated by Chinese art, and each of them published introductory works that were intended to familiarise European readers with the history of Far Eastern painting. This study shows that while each of the publications had its limitations in terms of technical reproduction and acts of intercultural translation, both Petrucci and Binyon were pioneers in opening up intercultural discourse between Europe and China. Not only did they take Chinese art seriously and grant it its own style, but they also viewed art as belonging to different cultural spheres which transcend national frontiers.

In: Locating Italy
In: The Scottish Sixties
In: The Scottish Sixties
In: The Scottish Sixties

This paper offers a historical overview of the ‘imaging’ of China by the West, and by the British and Italians in particular. It uses an imagologist approach to show how preconceived ideas of Western selfhood have drastically affected the representation of China in Europe, and how this one–sided process of othering has led to far more stable categories of East and West than reality can account for. In order to counteract this essentialist representation of China in the West, it is argued here that the current trends towards cosmopolitanism, transculturisation, globalisation, and postcolonialism have positive effects on our understandings of Self and Other, East and West as entities that can only come into being through a reciprocal process.

In: Locating Italy

This paper explores the Anglo–Florentine author Janet Ross’s interest in the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and his involvement with Muslim culture during the age of the Crusades, an interest which would at the time have been widely regarded as sacrilegious. It argues that Ross’s own experiences of travelling and of living in Egypt shaped her positive image of the Emperor, while demonstrating how her reading of the progress of Italian unification influenced her portrayal of the South. What emerges is an account of Italy that fuses images of East and West as a means of dismantling the barriers between North and South.

In: Locating Italy