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Orientalism and Visual Culture is the first sustained analysis of historical exoticism in the nineteenth century. Supplementing the tools of art history with aspects of postcolonial theory, the work of the Frankfurt School, and reception theory, Frederick Bohrer examines the varied reception of the art of ancient Mesopotamia at the time of their archaeological discovery in England, France and Germany. He surveys the full range of visual culture of the time, from museum display, painting and sculpture, to fairs, jewelry, and illustrated magazines, among other media. The representations of Assyria and other ancient cultures are considered in their different national contexts and in connection with differences of class and gender, as well as media of representation. This study analyzes the visual logic of Imperialism, the boundaries of aesthetic evaluation, and the mediation of imagery within the complex forces at play in nineteenth-century Europe.Read more
- Full range of visual culture (not just painting and sculpture)
- Comparative study (England, France, Germany across 50 years)
- Historical exoticism (approaches ancient culture with modern theoretical tools)
Reviews & endorsements
"Bohrer's fascinating and illuminating study of the aesthetic reception of Mesopotamia in the nineteenth century and his understanding of the ultimate petrifaction of the "horizon of expectation" that eventually subsumed Mesopotamian discoveries provide an acute historiographic perspective on Mesopotamia's place in the intellectual and popular imagination that persists even today. It is thus important reading not just for scholars of nineteenth-century Europe and postcolonialism, but also for those interested in the development of the disciplines of Near Eastern studies and art history." - CAA Reviews, Marian Feldman, UC Berkeley
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- Date Published: July 2003
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521806572
- length: 398 pages
- dimensions: 256 x 182 x 26 mm
- weight: 1.05kg
- contains: 79 b/w illus.
- availability: Unavailable - out of print November 2005
Table of Contents
Introduction: a new antiquity
1. Exoticism as system
2. The subjects of nineteenth-century exoticism: journeys in time and space
3. French (dis-) connections
4. Assyria in England: between text and object
5. Representing Assyria in England I: devising alternatives
6. Representing Assyria in England II: varieties of circulation
7. Mesopotamian emulation, interpretation and imagination in late nineteenth century France
8. Germany's Mesopotamia, 1899–1915: beyond the nineteenth century horizon.
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