Catalogue


Moral taste : aesthetics, subjectivity and social power in the nineteenth-century novel /
Marjorie Garson.
imprint
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c2007.
description
483 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0802091385 :, 9780802091383 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c2007.
isbn
0802091385 :
9780802091383 :
catalogue key
6077751
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [447]-466) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-01-01:
A bibliographer seeking to class this book might conclude that it is another study of the Victorian novel (Austen, Dickens, Bronte, Gaskell, Eliot) seen through the lens of Pierre Bourdieu. That easy classification would fail to do justice to the richness here on offer. Garson (emer., Univ. of Toronto) has spent a lifetime in the company of her texts, and she speaks with a voice of intimate acquaintance and perfect authority, reminiscent of a Mary Lacelles or Q. D. Leavis. The theorist will learn nothing new, but lovers of novels, teachers casting about for new ideas, and students searching for paper topics will come away delighted. Summarizing Garson's variety here is almost impossible: she offers a splendid discussion of "the woman's room" as novelistic topos, and another of "performance" in Mansfield Park (not merely in the playacting scenes, but throughout the novel). The feather in Mrs. Bulstrode's hat leads into an analysis of "consistency" in Middlemarch that illuminates passages in which no critic has before found so much. This book's deeply satisfying readings will make it valuable to readers from undergraduates in their first exposure to texts to advanced scholars seeking new perspectives. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. D. L. Patey Smith College
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Choice, January 2008
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Summaries
Description for Reader
One of the particular concerns of the Victorians was the notion of A'tasteA? and the idea that good taste in any field A? clothing, d'cor, landscape, music, art, even food A? meant good taste in all, and that tastefulness was a reliable sign of moral sensitivity, indeed of national, even racial, quality. Moral Tasteis a study of the ideological work done by the equation of good taste and moral refinement in a selection of nineteenth-century writings. Drawing on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, Marjorie Garson discusses a number of Victorian texts that treat aesthetic refinement as an essential mark of proper middle-class subjectivity. She situates each text in its historical moment and considers it in the light of contemporary anxieties, providing insights into why certain ways of representing and endorsing tastefulness remained serviceable for many decades. In addition, this study demonstrates how the discourse of taste engenders a wider discourse about middle-class subjectivity and entitlement, national character, and racial identity in the period.
Main Description
One of the particular concerns of the Victorians was the notion of 'taste' and the idea that good taste in any field - clothing, décor, landscape, music, art, even food - meant good taste in all, and that tastefulness was a reliable sign of moral sensitivity, indeed of national, even racial, quality. Moral Tasteis a study of the ideological work done by the equation of good taste and moral refinement in a selection of nineteenth-century writings. Drawing on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, Marjorie Garson discusses a number of Victorian texts that treat aesthetic refinement as an essential mark of proper middle-class subjectivity. She situates each text in its historical moment and considers it in the light of contemporary anxieties, providing insights into why certain ways of representing and endorsing tastefulness remained serviceable for many decades. In addition, this study demonstrates how the discourse of taste engenders a wider discourse about middle-class subjectivity and entitlement, national character, and racial identity in the period.
Main Description
Every reader is struck by the ineffable tastefulness of so many Victorian novel heroines - Gaskell's Margaret Hale, for example, or Eliot's Dorothea Brooke, who manage to dress stunningly without ever thinking of their wardrobes and furnish their homes with charm even in the absence of material resources, and whose excellent taste asks to be understood not as a result of self-conscious strategy or painstaking effort, but rather as a kind of unmediated emanation of their refinement of spirit. What is the intellectual background of such patently fictional constructions? How do such apparently trivial aesthetic gestures as arranging fruit on a plate (like Margaret) or selecting jewellery (like Dorothea) come to function as what Bourdieu would call 'charismatic' moral distinction? Book jacket.
Main Description
One of the particular concerns of the Victorians was the notion of 'taste' and the idea that good taste in any field - clothing, décor, landscape, music, art, even food - meant good taste in all, and that tastefulness was a reliable sign of moral sensitivity, indeed of national, even racial, quality. Moral Taste is a study of the ideological work done by the equation of good taste and moral refinement in a selection of nineteenth-century writings.Drawing on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, Marjorie Garson discusses a number of Victorian texts that treat aesthetic refinement as an essential mark of proper middle-class subjectivity. She situates each text in its historical moment and considers it in the light of contemporary anxieties, providing insights into why certain ways of representing and endorsing tastefulness remained serviceable for many decades. In addition, this study demonstrates how the discourse of taste engenders a wider discourse about middle-class subjectivity and entitlement, national character, and racial identity in the period.
Main Description
One of the particular concerns of the Victorians was the notion of 'taste' and the idea that good taste in any field - clothing, dcor, landscape, music, art, even food - meant good taste in all, and that tastefulness was a reliable sign of moral sensitivity, indeed of national, even racial, quality. Moral Taste is a study of the ideological work done by the equation of good taste and moral refinement in a selection of nineteenth-century writings.Drawing on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, Marjorie Garson discusses a number of Victorian texts that treat aesthetic refinement as an essential mark of proper middle-class subjectivity. She situates each text in its historical moment and considers it in the light of contemporary anxieties, providing insights into why certain ways of representing and endorsing tastefulness remained serviceable for many decades. In addition, this study demonstrates how the discourse of taste engenders a wider discourse about middle-class subjectivity and entitlement, national character, and racial identity in the period.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
The Discourse of Taste in Waverleyp. 39
A Room with a Viewer: The Evolution of a Victorian Toposp. 72
Resources and Performance: Mansfield Park and Emmap. 114
The Improvement of the Estate: J. C. Loudon and Some Spaces in Dickensp. 173
Charlotte Bronte: Sweetness and Colourp. 239
North and South: 'Stately Simplicity'p. 290
The Importance of Being Consistent: Culture and Commerce in Middlemarchp. 330
Conclusionp. 368
Notesp. 387
Bibliographyp. 447
Indexp. 467
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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