Victorian Culture and the Idea of the Grotesque
Monstrous, absurd, humorous, demotic and contradictory: the Grotesque is a protean force working across different areas of Victorian life. This book, the first fully interdisciplinary study of the subject, examines a wide range of sources and materials in order to provide new readings of an important force that oscillates between 'style' and 'concept'. These specially commissioned essays provide original readings of key articulations of the Grotesque: the literary culture of Ruskin, Browning and Dickens, where it is a sign of the eruptions, intensities, confusions and disturbed vitality of modern cultural experience; the scientific revolution associated with Darwin, where it generates speculation about biological forces, bodily energies, and mutations in nature, the social and historical literature of Carlyle, where it hovers on the edge of visibility, at once a transgression of the nature of industrial society and its purest manifestation.The invaluable introduction looks at proliferations of the Grotesque in Victorian culture. Dealing with literature, history, social theory, art, design, science, popular culture, art criticism and aesthetics, it seeks to demonstrate the connections and tensions between these orders of cultural life.Individual essays interweave the familiar with the unfamiliar, looking anew at the archives while offering original interpretations of important figures including Browning, Carlyle, Ruskin, Ford Maddox Brown, Dadd, Watts, Dresser and Stephen. Their work is seen alongside hitherto neglected figures such as the historians Thomas Wright and William Fairholt, the sculptors Thomas Woolner and James O'Shea, and the designer Wallace Martin.
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List of contributors
biography Bahktin and grotesque
N Thomas Carlyles grotesque conceits
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aesthetic alien animal appears articulation associated attempt authority beauty becomes body Boswell Boswell's Brown called caricature Carlyle Carlyle's century character Civilization claims Classical Clothes complex conception condition connection constitute continually contrast critical Cromwell culture Darwin decorative described desire detail Dickens discourse discussed energy entangled bank evident example experience expression face fact Fairy figures finds force French function grotesque human Ibid idea ideal identified identity illustration imagination important Johnson language late London marked material matter meaning mind narrative natural world objects organic Origin painting physical picture play political position presents Press produced reading refers relation representation represented Romantic Ruskin Sartor sculpture seeks seems seen sense signs social space Stephen structure struggle style suggest surface term theory things thought tion true turn University values Victorian vision Watts Woolner writing