Sensation and modernity in the 1860s /
Nicholas Daly.
New York : Cambridge University Press, 2009.
xi, 245 p. : ill. ; 24cm.
9780521760225 (hardback)
More Details
New York : Cambridge University Press, 2009.
9780521760225 (hardback)
contents note
The woman in white and the crowd -- The many lives of the Colleen Bawn: pastoral spectacle -- The white girl: aestheticism as mesmerism -- Black and white in the 1860s -- The chromolithographers of modern life.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-11-01:
The most intense theorizing about crowds dates from the Victorian era, courtesy of Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841). Although Daly (Univ. College Dublin) does not analyze Mackay, he studies how Victorian artists sought to fascinate this potentially worrisome crowd in the age of reform. But Daly's 1860s crowds are not puppets. His artists want the crowd's "attention": sensational works maximize the viewer's attention, but also dramatize attention-getting strategies. At the same time, they spill over into attention's opposite, "distraction." Daly traces these contradictory impulses across multiple genres and media, looking at work from Wilkie Collins's fiction to James McNeill Whistler's painting. His reading of Svengali as a response to Whistler fails to convince, but other chapters are much more successful--especially those dealing with under-studied material. For example, Daly argues that Dion Boucicault's play The Colleen Bawn, featuring the heroine's spectacular near-death by drowning, gripped audiences by mobilizing "sensational modernity" to evoke a "pre-modern" milieu. And the final chapter--on chromolithographers (especially Alfred Concanen), music hall, and illustrated sheet music--argues that lithographic artists envisioned a world in which crowds were not just entities to be managed. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. E. Burstein SUNY College at Brockport
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Choice, November 2010
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Table of Contents
List of illustrationsp. viii
Acknowledgementsp. x
Introductionp. 1
The Woman in White and the crowdp. 26
The many lives of the Colleen Bawn: pastoral spectaclep. 55
The White Girl: aestheticism as mesmerismp. 81
Black and white in the 1860sp. 109
The chromolithographers of modern lifep. 147
Conclusionp. 197
Notesp. 211
Indexp. 243
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