Catalogue

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Picturing the past [electronic resource] : English history in text and image, 1830-1870 /
Rosemary Mitchell.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Clarendon Press, 2000.
description
xi, 314 p. : ill.
ISBN
0198208448 (Cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Clarendon Press, 2000.
isbn
0198208448 (Cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Title from e-book title screen (viewed October 15, 2007).
catalogue key
7369882
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [288]-303) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-07-01:
Mitchell (Univ. of Leeds) writes eruditely but readably of Britain's early Victorian era of "picturesque" history and historical fiction, when authors like serious novelist W.M. Thackeray, popular novelist William Harrison Ainsworth, children's writer Charlotte Mary Yonge, and the unjustly forgotten historian Charles Knight tried to recreate the past by blending scrupulously researched text with precisely reconstructed graphic images. Mitchell synthesizes literary and biographical studies and art history scholarship with her own exhaustive scrutiny of publishers' archives and scores of mid-19th-century printed books. She argues that for about 40 years, "picturesque" history, relying heavily upon textual and pictorial description, supplanted an earlier philosophical and moralistic school of historical writing before being superseded itself by naturalistic fiction and academic history. Aimed at a middle-class readership but also reaching literate working people, this discourse forged a British national historiography influential until 1814 or later. This book is a fine example of deconstructionist scholarship--and proof that it need not be obscured behind a veil of jargon. Recommended. D. M. Cregier University of Prince Edward Island
Reviews
Review Quotes
'a rich mine of information'English Historical Review, June 2001
A rich mine of information ... Mitchell traces the various forms of text and image relationships in her chosen period, in a variety of publications, from textbooks to historical novels. It is this holistic approach that gives the book its special interest ... The chapters that deal with Women's History and later historical novels are full of useful insights.
Beautifully evokes the many pleasures and mysteries of reading about the past, for the Victorians and ourselves.
'Mitchell traces the various forms of text and image relationships in her chosen period, in a variety of publications, from textbooks to historical novels. It is this holistic approach that gives the book its special interest.'English Historical Review, June 2001
'Mitchell traces the various forms of text and image relationships in herchosen period, in a variety of publications, from textbooks to historicalnovels. It is this holistic approach that gives the book its special interest.'English Historical Review, June 2001
Picturing the Past should be commended for combining intellectual history and history of the book to illuminate a vibrant age in British cultural politics.
'The chapters that deal with Women's History and later historical novels are full of useful insights.'English Historical Review, June 2001
'The chapters that deal with Women's History and later historical novelsare full of useful insights.'English Historical Review, June 2001
'This book is a fine example of deconstructionist scholarship - and proof that it need not be obscured behind a veil of jargon. Recommended.'CHOICE
'This book is a fine example of deconstructionist scholarship - and proofthat it need not be obscured behind a veil of jargon. Recommended.'CHOICE
This volume makes a significant addition to the national identity scholarship ... The breadth of evidence makes the book mandatory reading for any scholar interested in the intellectual process of how the writing of history has shaped the national identity issue. Anyone interested in the broader dimensions of history and national identity in the process of political evolution in other European countries should read this book as well ... Mitchell's careful account of how the English national narrative took a specific form between 1830 and 1870 has implications beyond that particular period and country. The arguments she presents deserve consideration well beyond the confines of English history.
Introduction: Picturing the English Past in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Historical Consciousness and National Identity Publishing the Past: Text and Image, Author, Illustrator and Publisher The History of The History of England: The Evolution of a Standard Text and its Illustrations True Stories and Solid Facts: The Evolution of the English History Textbook The Picturesque Face of the Past: The 1840s Novels of William Harrison Ainsworth 'A United People': Charles Knight and the Making of a Picturesque History of England Separate Spheres and Early Women's History John Lingard's History of England: A Catholic History Thackeray, A'Beckett, and Leech: 'The Dignity of History' The Abuse of Antiquity and the Uses of Myth: The Illustrated Historical Novel after 1850 Experiments with History: The Later Novels of W. H. Ainsworth and their Illustrations and the Decline of the Picturesque Historical Novel Conclusion
'This book is a fine example of deconstructionist scholarship - and proof that it need not be obscured behind a veil of jargon. Recommended.'CHOICE'The chapters that deal with Women's History and later historical novels are full of useful insights.'English Historical Review, June 2001'Mitchell traces the various forms of text and image relationships in her chosen period, in a variety of publications, from textbooks to historical novels. It is this holistic approach that gives the book its special interest.'English Historical Review, June 2001'a rich mine of information'English Historical Review, June 2001
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This interdisciplinary text presents different perspectives on traditional studies of Victorian historiography, literature, and illustration. It explores relationships between text and image, author, illustrator and publisher.
Long Description
This monograph is a wide-ranging and sophisticated analysis of representations in text and image of the English past between 1830 and 1870. It consists of a series of inter-related case-studies of illustrated history books, ranging from editions of David Humes History of England to W. H. Ainsworths The Tower of London (1840). It contributes to present debates on nationalism, highlighting the complex and variable nature of cultural constructions of identity. Simultaneously, if offers an overall interpretation of historiographical change in early and mid-Victorian Britain, focusing in particular on the transition from picturesque reconstructions of the English past to the scientific approaches of the professional historian. Genuinely interdisciplinary, Picturing the Past presents new perspectives on traditional studies of Victorian historiography, literature, and illustration. It explores relationships between text and image, author, illustrator, and publisher, in the production of illustrated historical texts, often drawing on neglected material in publishers archives. The tendency to analyse text and image, fiction and non-fiction, popular and elite publications in isolation from each other is challenged in the interests of a more complex and nuanced portrait of the middle-class Victorian historical consciousness.
Long Description
Through a series of interrelated case-studies of nineteenth-century history books, history textbooks, and historical novels, Rosemary Mitchell draws out the attitudes of Victorians toward their national past. She highlights how history--once a popular pastime--became the preserve of professionals and how both the text and images in popular and scholarly publications contributed to Victorian cultural identities.
Main Description
This monograph is a wide-ranging and sophisticated analysis of representations in text and image of the English past between 1830 and 1870. It consists of a series of inter-related case-studies of illustrated history books, ranging from editions of David Humes History of England to W. H.Ainsworths The Tower of London (1840). It contributes to present debates on nationalism, highlighting the complex and variable nature of cultural constructions of identity. Simultaneously, if offers an overall interpretation of historiographical change in early and mid-Victorian Britain, focusing in particular on the transition frompicturesque reconstructions of the English past to the scientific approaches of the professional historian. Genuinely interdisciplinary, Picturing the Past presents new perspectives on traditional studies of Victorian historiography, literature, and illustration. It explores relationships between text and image, author, illustrator, and publisher, in the production of illustrated historical texts, oftendrawing on neglected material in publishers archives. The tendency to analyse text and image, fiction and non-fiction, popular and elite publications in isolation from each other is challenged in the interests of a more complex and nuanced portrait of the middle-class Victorian historicalconsciousness.
Main Description
'This volume makes a significant addition to the national identity scholarship... The breadth of evidence makes the book mandatory reading for any scholar interested in the intellectual process of how the writing of history has shaped the national identity issue. Anyone interested in the broader dimensions of history and national identity in the process of political evolution in other European countries should read this book as well... Mitchell's careful account of how the English national narrative took a specific form between 1830 and 1870 has implications beyond that particular period and country. The arguments she presents deserve consideration well beyond the confines of English history.' -Journal of Modern History'Picturing the Past should be commended for combining intellectual history and history of the book to illuminate a vibrant age in British cultural politics.' -SHARP News'Beautifully evokes the many pleasures and mysteries of reading about the past, for the Victorians and ourselves.' -SHARP News'This book is a fine example of deconstructionist scholarship - and proof that it need not be obscured behind a veil of jargon. Recommended.' -CHOICE'A rich mine of information... Mitchell traces the various forms of text and image relationships in her chosen period, in a variety of publications, from textbooks to historical novels. It is this holistic approach that gives the book its special interest... The chapters that deal with Women's History and later historical novels are full of useful insights.' -English Historical ReviewHow did Victorians view their national past? Through case-studies of nineteenth-century history books, history textbooks, and historical novels, this monograph aims to explore the middle-class experience of English history. It highlights how history - once a popular pastime became the preserve of the professional, and it shows how text and image, popular and scholarly publications, multi-volumed histories and historical novels, all contributed to a varied picture of the national past.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Picturing the English Past in Nineteenth-Century
Britain: Historical Consciousness and National Identity
Publishing the Past: Text and Image, Author, Illustrator and Publisher
The History of The History of England: The Evolution of a Standard Text and its Illustrations
True Stories and Solid Facts: The Evolution of the English History Textbook
The Picturesque Face of the Past: The 1840s Novels of William Harrison Ainsworth
'A United People': Charles Knight and the Making of a Picturesque History of England
Separate Spheres and Early Women's History
John Lingard's History of England: A Catholic History
Thackeray, A'Beckett, and Leech: 'The Dignity of History'
The Abuse of Antiquity and the Uses of Myth: The Illustrated Historical Novel after 1850
Experiments with History: The Later Novels of W. H. Ainsworth and their Illustrations and the Decline of the Picturesque Historical Novel
Conclusion
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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