Catalogue


Victorian glassworlds : glass culture and the imagination 1830-1880 /
Isobel Armstrong.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2008.
description
xix, 449 p. : ill., maps ; 26 cm.
ISBN
0199205205 (hbk.), 9780199205202 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2008.
isbn
0199205205 (hbk.)
9780199205202 (hbk.)
catalogue key
6461909
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 409-431) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
This challenging book is worth the effort for the new window it opens on the crucially important Victorian period.Richly researched and densly written study...a book of great originality and even greater ambition.
a brilliant and challenging exploration... remarkable
a challenging, major work
"[A] highly original and beautifully presented volume...The visual register has been well covered in 2008." --Studies in English Literature
Amstrong's book is a jewel among academic publications... It is a multifaceted book, the complexity of which - both theoretical and rhetorical - is impressive.
... a thoughtful, painstaking and impressively scholarly book which covers an enormous amount of ground in some detail. It will be invaluable resource for serious students of Victorian society, arts and culture
Intellectually, theoretically, and methodologically, Victorian Glassworlds is a remarkable study to which scholars working in the field of Victorian studies will return again and again.
Like the world of glass it describes, this is a book of gleaming virtuosity. We quickly enter a vision of Victorian England that is dazzlingly new - a glass democracy of crystal boulevards and aerial spaces. Light comes flashing to us from every direction, even as the image of human labour and breath remains steadily in view.
Richly researched... A book of great originality and even greater ambition.... in chapter after chapter, Armstrong succeeds in bringing both wide-angle and close-up views of the nineteenth century into fresh focus... a major work
Sumptous production quality and copious illustrations... This challenging book is worth the effort for the new window it opens on the crucially important Victorian period.
the book embodies its subject matter by casting prismatic rays of thought in a myriad of unexpected directions
...this marvellous book tells the story of the creation, in the nineteenth century, of whole worlds of glass, with languages and cultures to go with each of them. There is news on every page, and lovingly evoked detail in profusion, but there is also deeply reflective thought and theory. Anyone else might have got lost among these treasures, but Isobel Armstrong always knows just where she is, even when, especially when she manages to be in so many places at once. Her learning isprodigious but so is her unfailing and enticing clarity.
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Summaries
Main Description
Isobel Armstrong's startlingly original and beautifully illustrated book tells the stories that spring from the mass-production of glass in nineteenth-century England. Moving across technology, industry, local history, architecture, literature, print culture, the visual arts, optics, and philosophy, it will transform our understanding of the Victorian period. The mass production of glass in the nineteenth century transformed an ancient material into a modern one, at the same time transforming the environment and the nineteenth-century imagination. It created a new glass culture hitherto inconceivable. Glass culture constituted Victorian modernity. It was made from infinite variations of the prefabricated glass panel, and the lens. The mirror and the window became its formative elements, both the texts and constituents of glass culture. The glassworlds of the century are heterogeneous. They manifest themselves in the technologies of the factory furnace, in the myths of Cinderella and her glass slipper circulated in print media, in the ideologies of the conservatory as building type, in the fantasia of the shopfront, in the production of chandeliers, in the Crystal Palace, and the lens-made images of the magic lantern and microscope. But they were nevertheless governed by two inescapable conditions. First, to look through glass was to look through the residues of the breath of an unknown artisan, because glass was mass produced by incorporating glassblowing into the division of labour. Second, literally a new medium, glass brought the ambiguity of transparency and the problems of mediation into the everyday. It intervened between seer and seen, incorporating a modern philosophical problem into bodily experience. Thus for poets and novelists glass took on material and ontological, political, and aesthetic meanings. Reading glass forwards into Bauhaus modernism, Walter Benjamin overlooked an early phase of glass culture where the languages of glass are different. The book charts this phase in three parts. Factory archives, trade union records, and periodicals document the individual manufacturers and artisans who founded glass culture, the industrial tourists who described it, and the systematic politics of window-breaking. Part Two, culminating in glass under glass at the Crystal Palace, reads the glassing of the environment, including the mirror, the window, and controversy round the conservatory, and their inscription in poems and novels. Part Three explores the lens, from optical toys to 'philosophical' instruments as the telescope and microscope were known. A meditation on its history and phenomenology,Victorian Glassworldsis a poetics of glass for nineteenth-century modernity.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Isobel Armstrong's book tells the stories that spring from the mass-production of glass in 19th-century England. Moving across technology, industry, local history, architecture, literature, print culture, the visual arts, optics, and philosophy, it will transform our understanding of the Victorian period.
Main Description
In this startlingly original and beautifully illustrated book, leading scholar of the Victorian period Isobel Armstrong tells the stories that spring from the mass-production of glass in nineteenth-century England. Moving across technology, industry, local history, architecture, literature, print culture, the visual arts, optics, and philosophy, it will transform our understanding of the Victorian period.
Main Description
Isobel Armstrong's startlingly original and beautifully illustrated book tells the stories that spring from the mass-production of glass in nineteenth-century England. Moving across technology, industry, local history, architecture, literature, print culture, the visual arts, optics, andphilosophy, it will transform our understanding of the Victorian period.The mass production of glass in the nineteenth century transformed an ancient material into a modern one, at the same time transforming the environment and the nineteenth-century imagination. It created a new glass culture hitherto inconceivable. Glass culture constituted Victorian modernity. It wasmade from infinite variations of the prefabricated glass panel, and the lens. The mirror and the window became its formative elements, both the texts and constituents of glass culture. The glassworlds of the century are heterogeneous. They manifest themselves in the technologies of the factoryfurnace, in the myths of Cinderella and her glass slipper circulated in print media, in the ideologies of the conservatory as building type, in the fantasia of the shopfront, in the production of chandeliers, in the Crystal Palace, and the lens-made images of the magic lantern and microscope. Butthey were nevertheless governed by two inescapable conditions. First, to look through glass was to look through the residues of the breath of an unknown artisan, because glass was mass produced by incorporating glassblowing into the division of labour. Second, literally a new medium, glass brought the ambiguity of transparency and the problems of mediation intothe everyday. It intervened between seer and seen, incorporating a modern philosophical problem into bodily experience. Thus for poets and novelists glass took on material and ontological, political, and aesthetic meanings. Reading glass forwards into Bauhaus modernism, Walter Benjamin overlooked an early phase of glass culture where the languages of glass are different. The book charts this phase in three parts. Factory archives, trade union records, and periodicals document the individual manufacturers and artisanswho founded glass culture, the industrial tourists who described it, and the systematic politics of window-breaking. Part Two, culminating in glass under glass at the Crystal Palace, reads the glassing of the environment, including the mirror, the window, and controversy round the conservatory, andtheir inscription in poems and novels. Part Three explores the lens, from optical toys to 'philosophical' instruments as the telescope and microscope were known.A meditation on its history and phenomenology, Victorian Glassworlds is a poetics of glass for nineteenth-century modernity.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Poetics of Transparency
Facets of Glass Culture: Making and Breaking Glass
Factory Tourism: Morphology of the 'Visit to a Glass Factory'
Robert Lucas Chance, Modern Glass Manufacturer: fractures in the glass factory
Riot and the Grammar of Window-Breaking: the Chances, Wellington, Chartism
The Glassmakers' Eloquence: a Trade Union Journal, the Royal Commission, 1868
Conclusion
Perspectives of The Glass Panel: Windows, Mirrors, Walls
Reflections, Translucency, Aura, Trace
Glassing London: Building Glass Culture, Real and Imagined
Politics of the Conservatory: Glasshouses, Republican and Populist
Mythmaking: Cinderella and her Glass Slipper at the Crystal Palace
Glass under Glass: Glassworld Fictions
Lens-Made Images: Optical Toys and Philosophical Instruments
The Lens, Light, and the Virtual World
Dissolving and Resolving Views: from Magic Lantern to Telescope
Microscopic Space
Crystalphiles, Anamorphobics, and Stereoscopic Volume
Coda on Time: Fixing the Moving Image and Mobilising the Fixed Image - Memory, Repetition, and Working Through
Conclusion: the End of Glass Culture - from Nineteenth-Century Modernity to Modernism
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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