Enfilade

New Book | Culloden: Battle & Aftermath

Posted in anniversaries, books, lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on April 13, 2021

Friday is the 275th anniversary of the battle of Culloden (fought on 16 April 1746). To mark the anniversary, the National Trust for Scotland will present a series of online events on Saturday, 17 April, entitled Culloden: A Place Worth Protecting. Paul O’Keeffe’s book is the latest to tackle the subject; from Penguin Press:

Paul O’Keeffe, Culloden: Battle & Aftermath (London: Bodley Head, 2021), 432 pages, ISBN: 978-1847924124, £25.

Charles Edward Stuart’s campaign to seize the British throne on behalf of his exiled father ended with one of the quickest defeats in history: on 16 April 1746, at Culloden, his 5,000-strong Jacobite army was decisively overpowered in under forty minutes. Its brutal repercussions, however, endured for months and years, its legacy for centuries.

Paul O’Keeffe follows the Jacobite army, from its initial victories over Hanoverian troops at Prestonpans, Clifton and Falkirk to their calamitous defeat on the field of Culloden. He explores the battle’s aftermath which claimed the lives, not only of helpless wounded summarily executed and fugitives cut down by pursuing dragoons, but also of civilians slaughtered by vengeful government patrols as they ‘pacified’ the Highlands. He chronicles the wild, nationwide celebration greeting news of the government victory, the London stage catering to patriotic fervour with new songs like ‘God Save the King’, popular musical theatre, and operas by Gluck and Handel. Meanwhile, the public was also treated to the grimmer spectacle of Jacobite prisoners, tried for high treason, paying for their participation on block and gibbet throughout the country. Many others—granted ‘the King’s mercy’—suffered the lingering fate of forced labour on fever-ridden plantations in the West Indies and Virginia.

O’Keeffe reveals the unexpected consequences of the rising—mapping the Scottish Highlands to aid military subjugation would eventually lead to the foundation of the Ordnance Survey—and traces the later careers of the battle’s protagonists: the Duke of Cumberland’s transformation from idolised national hero to discredited ‘butcher’ and Charles Edward Stuart’s from ‘Bonny Prince’ to embittered alcoholic invalid.

While in the long term the doomed Stuart cause acquired an aura of romanticism, the Jacobite Rising of 1745–46 remains one of the most bloody and divisive conflicts in British domestic history, which resonates to this day.

Paul O’Keeffe is a freelance lecturer and writer based in Liverpool. He gained his PhD with a scholarly edition of Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr, and won critical acclaim with his 2000 study of Lewis, Some Sort of Genius.

Exhibition | Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 12, 2021

The exhibition opens this Saturday; from the press release:

Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland, 17 April — 24 October 2021

Curated by Daniel Fulco

This exciting exhibition, organized by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and curated by Daniel Fulco, Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator, is the first monographic look at the work of the enigmatic and compelling African American artist Joshua Johnson (ca. 1763–1824) since 1988. Often considered the first professional Black artist in America, Johnson was a freed slave who achieved a remarkable degree of success as a portraitist in his lifetime by painting affluent patrons in his native Baltimore. Johnson’s subjects consisted of politicians, doctors, clergymen, merchants, and sea captains.

Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore contextualizes Johnson both historically and culturally and explores further the key forms of natural symbolism represented in his paintings. Featuring works by Johnson and his contemporaries, key loans come from the Maryland Center for History & Culture, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. This exhibition also will include a fully illustrated scholarly interpretive catalogue and a diverse range of related educational programs. Museum Director Sarah J. Hall says, “This exhibition has been in planning for three years, and has ended up being a particularly timely investigation of both art history and Black history. Additionally, it adds to our understanding of regional history in terms of both the practice of portraiture and our understanding of those who made and commissioned portraits. Happily, the exhibition will be on view for a full six months in order to allow as many people as possible to enjoy Johnson’s work and the wide variety of related public programs scheduled.”

An artist whose ancestry was both African and European, Johnson was primarily a self-taught painter. He was especially adept at capturing his sitters’ features and the details of their clothing, which offered subtle insights into their personalities. Johnson’s attention to detail and extensive inclusion of moths, fruits, and flowers in his paintings indicate that he carefully absorbed techniques and motifs from traditional European portraiture to create symbolic meaning. Furthermore, Johnson combined these elements with the latest trends in his genre, responding closely to work of the Peales, Charles Peale Polk, and Mid-Atlantic limners such as Frederick Kemmelmeyer and Caleb Boyle.

Given his background and the era in which he lived, Johnson was impelled to overcome many racial and social hurdles in pursuing his profession and he persevered remarkably in that endeavor. As described in an advertisement in the Baltimore Intelligencer from 1798, Johnson referred to himself in the third person as “A self-taught genius, deriving from nature and industry his knowledge of the Art; and having experienced many insuperable obstacles in the pursuit of his studies, it is highly gratifying to him to make assurances of his ability to execute all commands with an effect, and in a style, which must give satisfaction.”

Joshua Johnson, Portrait of the James McCormick Family, 1804–05, oil on canvas, 51 × 69 inches (Collection of Maryland Center for History and Culture, Baltimore, gift of Dr. Thomas C. McCormick, 1920.6.1).

Such issues of race in Early American society still remain relevant and while a compelling and important theme to consider in relation to Johnson’s life and work, the exhibition also examines how his work engages with key developments in Maryland’s artistic heritage from approximately 1760 until 1840. Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore also explores issues related to politics, slavery, abolitionism, and society in antebellum Maryland.

As a complement to the Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore, the Museum will be installing a companion exhibition. Face to Face: Portraits from the 18th and 19th Centuries (April–October 2021), featuring European and American portraits from the permanent collection. These works expand the context of the Johnson exhibition and allow for a deeper understanding of the artist’s portraiture both before and during his lifetime.

Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore is organized by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibition is generously supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation, Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, Maryland Marketing Partnership, and Community Foundation of Washington County Maryland, Inc. This exhibition also is made possible with the support of an anonymous donor, Mr. and Mrs. James N. Holzapfel, Dr. & Mrs. George E. Manger, Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Strauch, and Mr. & Mrs. Thomas B. Riford.

Daniel Fulco, ed., with David Taft Terry and Mark B. Letzer, Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore (Hagerstown, MD: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, 2021), 106 pages, ISBN: 978-09144950301 (paperback), $25 / ISBN: 978-09144950408 (ebook), $10.

Daniel Fulco is Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. David Taft Terry is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Geography and Coordinator, Museum Studies & Historical Preservation Program at Morgan State University. Mark B. Letzer is President & CEO of the Maryland Center for History and Culture.

A variety of engaging complementary on-line programs are scheduled to enhance enjoyment of the exhibition, including discussions, lectures, and lesson-plans for use in classroom or at home. Check wcmfa.org, or the Museum’s social media pages for more information on registration and access.

About the Museum
Located in beautiful City Park, Hagerstown, Maryland, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1931, the legacy of Hagerstown native Anna Brugh Singer and her husband, Pittsburgh-born artist William Henry Singer, Jr. Featuring a collection of more than 6,000 objects, the Museum has important holdings of American painting, Old Masters, decorative arts, and sculpture. The Museum schedules an ambitious program of exhibitions, lectures, concerts, tours, and talks featuring national and international artists, and annually organizes and hosts the Cumberland Valley Artists and Cumberland Valley Photographers exhibitions, as well as a yearly showcase of the art of K-12 students in Washington County Public Schools. Its free youth art education programs have served four generations of local families. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has been free to the public since 1931.

New Book | Pictured Politics

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on April 11, 2021

I’m sorry to be months late with this posting. See also Tara Zanardi’s review for Journal18 (November 2020) and Michael Schreffler’s review from caa.reviews (February 2021). CH

From the University of Texas Press:

Emily Engel, Pictured Politics: Visualizing Colonial History in South American Portrait Collections (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2020), 184 pages, ISBN: 978-1477320594, $60.

Featuring almost eighty illustrations from between 1590 and 1830, Pictured Politics is the sole study in English or Spanish to examine the role of portraiture in constructing the history of South American colonialism.

The Spanish colonial period in South America saw artists develop the subgenre of official portraiture, or portraits of key individuals in the continent’s viceregal governments. Although these portraits appeared to illustrate a narrative of imperial splendor and absolutist governance, they instead became a visual record of the local history that emerged during the colonial occupation.

Using the official portrait collections accumulated between 1542 and 1830 in Lima, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá as a lens, Pictured Politics explores how official portraiture originated and evolved to become an essential component in the construction of Ibero-American political relationships. Through the surviving portraits and archival evidence—including political treatises, travel accounts, and early periodicals—Emily Engel demonstrates that these official portraits not only belie a singular interpretation as tools of imperial domination but also visualize the continent’s multilayered history of colonial occupation. The first stand alone analysis of South American portraiture, Pictured Politics brings to light the historical relevance of political portraits in crafting the history of South American colonialism.

Emily Engel is an independent scholar based in Southern California who has published widely on visual culture in early modern South America. She is a coeditor of Manuscript Cultures of Colonial Mexico and Peru: New Questions and Approaches and A Companion to Early Modern Lima, as well as the founding associate editor of Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture.

C O N T E N T S

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Art and Authority in Late Colonial South American Portraiture
1  New Pictorial Practices: Early Official Portraits in Viceregal Peru
2  Visualizing Empire’s History: Royal Portraits in the Iberoamerican World
3  Picturing Viceregal Authority in the Lima City Council
4  Municipal Collecting: Viceregal Portraits in Bogotá and Buenos Aires
5  Portrayal in a Time of Transition: Early Nineteenth-Century Portraits
Epilogue: The Afterlife of Official Portraits

Notes
Bibliography
Index

 

New Book | The New Art Museum Library

Posted in books by Editor on April 4, 2021

Happy National Library Week! From Rowman & Littlefield:

Amelia Nelson and Traci Timmons, eds., The New Art Museum Library (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-1538135709 (eBook) $52 / ISBN: 978-1538135693 (hardback) $55.

The New Art Museum Library addresses the issues facing today’s art museum libraries through a series of scholarly essays written by top librarians in the field. In 2007, the publication, Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship, edited by Joan Benedetti, was the first to solely focus on the field of art museum librarianship. In the decade since then, many changes have occurred in the field—both technological and ideological—prompting the need for a follow-up publication. In addition to representing current thinking and practice, this new publication also addresses the need to clearly articulate and define the art museum library’s value within its institution. It documents the broad changes in the environment that art museum libraries now function within and to celebrate the many innovative initiatives that are flourishing in this new landscape.

Librarians working in art museum face unique challenges as museums redefine what object-based, visitor-centric learning looks like in the 21st century. These unique challenges mean that art museum libraries are developing new strategies and initiatives so that they can continue to thrive in this environment. The unique nature of these initiatives mean that they will be useful to librarians working in a wide range of special libraries, as well as more broadly in academic and public libraries. The New Art Museum Library is uniquely positioned to present new strategies and initiatives including digital art history initiatives, the new norms in art museum library staffing, and the public programing priorities that are core to many art museum libraries today.

Amelia Nelson is the head of library and archives at the Spencer Art Reference Library in The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. With a background in public services, information literacy, and digital initiatives she has published and presented on innovative topics like using VTS in information literacy classes and local artists’ files in contemporary art classes. In her own professional practice she believes in creating innovative projects that can be replicated and adapted to fit the needs of art libraries across the country. She is inspired by the innovative work that art libraries and archives have done to share unique resources in this rich information landscape and happy that these projects and initiatives can be shared with practitioners and those considering a career in art librarianship.

Traci E. Timmons is senior librarian at the Seattle Art Museum. In this role she manages all aspects of running two research libraries and a satellite library for the largest art museum in the Pacific Northwest: personnel management, acquisitions, cataloging, reference, research, digital collection development, maintaining and processing archives, artist files management, collection development, and grant writing. She has published on such diverse topics as early-printed books, special collections, artists’ books, classification theory, and user experience. She is passionate about the field of art librarianship, and specifically about its application in museums.

C O N T E N T S

Preface — Amelia Nelson (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art) and Traci Timmons (Seattle Art Museum)

Introduction: The Art of Transformation — Kristen Regina (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Part I. Developing, Managing, and Caring for Collections
1  Shelved Out of Sight: Library Spaces and Archives Storage in Art Museums — Jenna Stout (Saint Louis Art Museum)
2  Cultivating Wisely: Strategies to Keep the Collection Alive and Evergreen — Doug Litts (Art Institute of Chicago)
3  Blood on the Walls, Blood on the Shelves: Decolonizing the Art Museum Library — Courtney Becks (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
4  Haptic Aesthetics: Artists’ Books in Art Museum Libraries — Anne Evenhaugen (Smithsonian Institution, American Art & Portrait Gallery Library) and Tony White (Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
5  Ephemeral Survival: Managing Physical and Digital Artist File Collections — Alexandra Reigle (Smithsonian Institution, American Art & Portrait Gallery Library) and Simon Underschultz (National Gallery of Australia)
6  Building Web Archive Collections in Art Museum Libraries — Sumitra Duncan (The Frick Collection/ New York Art Resources Consortium)
7  Preservation and Conservation for Art Museum Library Collections: Progressive Approaches and Evolving Concepts — Beth Morris (Independent Librarian, Preservation Specialist, Book Conservator, and Scholar)

Part II. Access, Outreach, and Collaboration
8  Prioritizing Special Collections in the Art Museum Library — Lee Ceperich (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)
9  The Life of the (Third-) Party (System): Integrated Library Systems and Discovery Layers — Dan Lipcan (Peabody Essex Museum)
10  Reconsidering the Reference Collection: Using Print Art Reference Materials as Training Tools — Gwen Mayhew (Canadian Centre for Architecture) and Annalise Welte (Getty Research Institute)
11  The State and Vision of Exhibitions in Art Museum Libraries — Carol Ng-He (San Jose State University)
12  Evolution & Revolution: New Approaches to Art Museum Library Programming — Janice Lea Lurie (Minneapolis Institute of Art)
13  Local Consortia and Museum Libraries: Partnering for the Future — Alba Fernandez-Keys (Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields)

Part III. Personnel in the Art Museum Library
14  Entering the Field: Resources for Aspiring Museum Librarians — Lauren Gottlieb-Miller (The Menil Collection)
15  Demonstrating the Value of the Art Museum Library through Strategic Volunteer and Intern Management — Traci E. Timmons (Seattle Art Museum)

Part IV. Digital Landscapes in the New Art Museum Library
16  Digital Art History and the Art Museum Library — Stephen J. Bury (The Frick Collection)
17  The Changing Ecologies of Museum Metadata Systems — Jonathan Lill (Museum of Modern Art)
18  Digitization and Contributions to Digital Repositories — Bryan Ricupero (University of Wyoming) and Sophie Jo Miller (University of Wyoming)
19  The Wikimedia Movement in the GLAM Sector — Sarah Osborne Bender (National Gallery of Art) and Carissa Pfeiffer (Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center)
20  Getting a Seat at the Table: Art Museum Libraries as Open Access Stakeholders — Heather Saunders (The Cleveland Museum of Art)

About the Editors and the Contributors
Index

Exhibition | Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 3, 2021

Opening in May at The Morgan:

Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 28 May — 12 September 2021

For nearly a century, members of three generations of the Bibiena family were the most highly sought theater designers in Europe. Their elaborate stage designs were used for operas, festivals, and courtly performances across Europe: from their native Italy to cites as far afield as Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Lisbon. Beyond these performances, the distinctive Bibiena style survives through their remarkable drawings. This exhibition is the first in the United States in over thirty years to celebrate these talented draftsmen and marks the promised gift to the Morgan of a group of Bibiena drawings from the collection of Jules Fisher, the Tony-winning lighting designer. These drawings demonstrate the range of the Bibienas’ output, from energetic sketches to highly finished watercolors. With representations of imagined palace interiors and lavish illusionistic architecture, this group of drawings will highlight the visual splendor of the baroque stage.

Arnold Aronson, Diane Kelder, John Marciari, and Laurel Peterson, Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection (London: Paul Holberton, 2021), 96 pages, ISBN: 978-1913645045, £17 / $25.

Arnold Aronson is professor of theatre in the MFA Theatre Program at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Diane Kelder is professor emerita of art history at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and consulting curator of the Fisher collection. John Marciari is the Charles W. Engelhard Curator of Drawings and Prints and curatorial chair at the Morgan Library & Museum. Laurel Peterson, formerly the Moore Curatorial Fellow at the Morgan Library & Museum, is an independent scholar.

 

Online Seminar | Robert Pogue Harrison and Susan Stewart

Posted in books, lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on April 2, 2021

Coming up from BGC:

Seminar in Epistemologies of Material Culture with Robert Pogue Harrison and Susan Stewart
Online, Bard Graduate Center, Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 6–7.30pm

Robert Pogue Harrison and Susan Stewart will present at the Seminar in Epistemologies of Material Culture. They will each speak briefly on their publications The Dominion of the Dead and The Ruin Lesson, respectively, followed by a conversation moderated by Peter N. Miller and a Q&A session. Held via Zoom, this event will be live with automatic captions. A link will be circulated to registrants by 3pm on the day of the event. Register here.

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Robert Pogue Harrison, The Dominion of the Dead

How do the living maintain relations to the dead? Why do we bury people when they die? And what is at stake when we do? In The Dominion of the Dead, Robert Pogue Harrison considers the supreme importance of these questions to Western civilization, exploring the many places where the dead cohabit the world of the living—the graves, images, literature, architecture, and monuments that house the dead in their afterlife among us.

This elegantly conceived work devotes particular attention to the practice of burial. Harrison contends that we bury our dead to humanize the lands where we build our present and imagine our future. As long as the dead are interred in graves and tombs, they never truly depart from this world, but remain, if only symbolically, among the living. Spanning a broad range of examples, from the graves of our first human ancestors to the empty tomb of the Gospels to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Harrison also considers the authority of predecessors in both modern and premodern societies. Through inspired readings of major writers and thinkers such as Vico, Virgil, Dante, Pater, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Rilke, he argues that the buried dead form an essential foundation where future generations can retrieve their past, while burial grounds provide an important bedrock where past generations can preserve their legacy for the unborn.

The Dominion of the Dead is a profound meditation on how the thought of death shapes the communion of the living. A work of enormous scope, intellect, and imagination, this book will speak to all who have suffered grief and loss.

Robert Pogue Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature and chairs the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University. He is the author of The Body of Beatrice, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, The Dominion of the Dead, Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, and Juvenescence: A Cultural History of Our Age, the latter three published by the University of Chicago Press. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also host of the radio program Entitled Opinions on Stanford’s station KZSU 90.1.

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Susan Stewart, The Ruins Lesson: Meaning and Material in Western Culture

How have ruins become so valued in Western culture and so central to our art and literature? Covering a vast chronological and geographical range, from ancient Egyptian inscriptions to twentieth-century memorials, Susan Stewart seeks to answer this question as she traces the appeal of ruins and ruins images, and the lessons that writers and artists have drawn from their haunting forms.

Stewart takes us on a sweeping journey through founding legends of broken covenants and original sin, the Christian appropriation of the classical past, and images of decay in early modern allegory. Stewart looks in depth at the works of Goethe, Piranesi, Blake, and Wordsworth, each of whom found in ruins a means of reinventing his art. Lively and engaging, The Ruins Lesson ultimately asks what can resist ruination—and finds in the self-transforming, ever-fleeting practices of language and thought a clue to what might truly endure.

Susan Stewart, the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University, is a poet, critic, and translator. A former MacArthur Fellow and Chancellor of the Academy of American poets, she is the author of six books of poems, including Columbarium, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and, most recently, Cinder: New and Selected Poems. Her many prose works include On Longing, Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, The Open Studio: Essays in Art and Aesthetics, and The Poet’s Freedom.

 

New Book | Craft: An American History

Posted in books by Editor on March 30, 2021

From Bloomsbury:

Glenn Adamson, Craft: An American History (London: Bloomsbury Publishing: 2021), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-1635574586, $30.

A groundbreaking and endlessly surprising history of how artisans created America, from the nation’s origins to the present day.

At the center of the United States’ economic and social development, according to conventional wisdom, are industry and technology-while craftspeople and handmade objects are relegated to a bygone past. Renowned historian Glenn Adamson turns that narrative on its head in this innovative account, revealing makers’ central role in shaping America’s identity. Examine any phase of the nation’s struggle to define itself, and artisans are there—from the silversmith Paul Revere and the revolutionary carpenters and blacksmiths who hurled tea into Boston Harbor, to today’s ‘maker movement’, from Mother Jones to Rosie the Riveter, from Betsy Ross to Rosa Parks, from suffrage banners to the AIDS Quilt.

Adamson shows that craft has long been implicated in debates around equality, education, and class. Artisanship has often been a site of resistance for oppressed people, such as enslaved African-Americans whose skilled labor might confer hard-won agency under bondage, or the Native American makers who adapted traditional arts into statements of modernity. Theirs are among the array of memorable portraits of Americans both celebrated and unfamiliar in this richly peopled book. As Adamson argues, these artisans’ stories speak to our collective striving toward a more perfect union. From the beginning, America had to be-and still remains to be-crafted.

Glenn Adamson’s books include Fewer, Better Things, The Invention of Craft, and The Craft Reader. His writings have also been published in museum catalogues and in Art in America, Antiques, Frieze, and other periodicals. He was previously director of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and has held appointments as Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, and as Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He lives in the Hudson Valley, New York.

C O N T E N T S

Introduction
1  The Artisan Republic
2  A Self-Made Nation
3  Learn Trades or Die
4  A More Perfect Union
5  American
6  Making War
7  Declarations of Independence
8  Cut and Paste
9  Can Craft Save America?

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

New Book | Prose of the World: Denis Diderot

Posted in books by Editor on March 28, 2021

From Stanford UP:

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Prose of the World: Denis Diderot and the Periphery of Enlightenment (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2021), 280 pages, ISBN: 978-1503615250, $35.

Philosopher, translator, novelist, art critic, and editor of the Encyclopédie, Denis Diderot was one of the liveliest figures of the Enlightenment. But how might we delineate the contours of his diverse oeuvre, which, unlike the works of his contemporaries, Voltaire, Rousseau, Schiller, Kant, or Hume, is clearly characterized by a centrifugal dynamic? Taking Hegel’s fascinated irritation with Diderot’s work as a starting point, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht explores the question of this extraordinary intellectual’s place in the legacy of the eighteenth century. While Diderot shared most of the concerns typically attributed to his time, the ways in which he coped with them do not fully correspond to what we consider Enlightenment thought. Conjuring scenes from Diderot’s by turns turbulent and quiet life, offering close readings of several key books, and probing the motif of a tension between physical perception and conceptual experience, Gumbrecht demonstrates how Diderot belonged to a vivid intellectual periphery that included protagonists such as Lichtenberg, Goya, and Mozart. With this provocative and elegant work, he elaborates the existential preoccupations of this periphery, revealing the way they speak to us today.

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature Emeritus at Stanford University. His books written in English include In 1926 (1998), Production of Presence (Stanford, 2004), In Praise of Athletic Beauty (2006), Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung (Stanford, 2012), After 1945 (Stanford, 2013), and Our Broad Present (2014).

New Book | Speculative Enterprise

Posted in books by Editor on March 27, 2021

From the University of Virginia Press:

Mattie Burkert, Speculative Enterprise: Public Theaters and Financial Markets in London, 1688–1763 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2021), 296 pages, ISBN 978-0813945958 (cloth), $95 / ISBN 978-0813945972 (ebook), $30 / ISBN 978-0813945965 (paper), $40.

In the wake of the 1688 revolution, England’s transition to financial capitalism accelerated dramatically. Londoners witnessed the rise of credit-based currencies, securities markets, speculative bubbles, insurance schemes, and lotteries. Many understood these phenomena in terms shaped by their experience with another risky venture at the heart of London life: the public theater. Speculative Enterprise traces the links these observers drew between the operations of Drury Lane and Exchange Alley, including their hypercommercialism, dependence on collective opinion, and accessibility to people of different classes and genders.

Mattie Burkert identifies a discursive ‘theater-finance nexus’ at work in plays by Colley Cibber, Richard Steele, and Susanna Centlivre as well as in the vibrant eighteenth-century media landscape. As Burkert demonstrates, the stock market and the entertainment industry were recognized as deeply interconnected institutions that, when considered together, illuminated the nature of the public more broadly and gave rise to new modes of publicity and resistance. In telling this story, Speculative Enterprise combines methods from literary studies, theater and performance history, media theory, and work on print and material culture to provide a fresh understanding of the centrality of theater to public life in eighteenth-century London.

Mattie Burkert is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Oregon.

New Book | Wanstead House: East London’s Lost Palace

Posted in books by Editor on March 25, 2021

It’s not schedule to be published until next spring, but pre-order sales will help fund production costs; and if you use the code WANSTEAD40 at checkout, you’ll receive a 40% discount. So, order now! From Historic England and Liverpool University Press:

Hannah Armstrong, Wanstead House: East London’s Lost Palace (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2022), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-1800856097, £45.

In c.1713, Sir Richard Child, heir to a mercantile fortune, commissioned Colen Campbell, to build Wanstead House, “one of the noblest houses, not only in England, but in Europe.” Campbell’s innovative classical façade was widely influential and sowed the seeds for English Palladianism. Its opulent interior by William Kent was equal to Kensington Palace and its extensive gardens were attributed to leading landscape designers George London and Humphry Repton. Wanstead’s glory days came to an end in 1822, when a major sale of its contents was arranged to pay off financial debts. Two years later the house was demolished, its building fabric dispersed far and wide. A large crater on an east London golf course is all that remains of this once ‘princely mansion’.

Wanstead House: East London’s Lost Palace provides the first illustrated history of the lost Georgian estate, charting the meteoric rise and fall of the Child dynasty. By restoring Wanstead’s reputation amongst the leading houses of the era, this book demonstrates that those lost in actuality, should by no means be lost to history.

Hannah Armstrong completed her PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London, having previously studied at the University of Glasgow, where she graduated with a Masters with Distinction in Decorative Arts and Design History. In 2012, Hannah Armstrong was awarded the Anne Christopherson Fellowship at the British Museum’s Prints and Drawings department. She lives in South West London.

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Note (added 25 March 2021) — The original posting did not include the discount code.