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Women Writing Art History in the Nineteenth Century
Looking Like a Woman


Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: September 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107075757

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About the Authors
  • This book sets out to correct received accounts of the emergence of art history as a masculine field. It investigates the importance of female writers from Anna Jameson, Elizabeth Eastlake and George Eliot to Alice Meynell, Vernon Lee and Michael Field in developing a discourse of art notable for its complexity and cultural power, its increasing professionalism and reach, and its integration with other discourses of modernity. Proposing a more flexible and inclusive model of what constitutes art historical writing, including fiction, poetry and travel literature, this book offers a radically revisionist account of the genealogy of a discipline and a profession. It shows how women experienced forms of professional exclusion that, whilst detrimental to their careers, could be aesthetically formative; how working from the margins of established institutional structures gave women the freedom to be audaciously experimental in their writing about art in ways that resonate with modern readers.

    • Contests the view that art history is a masculine field by exploring the importance and diversity of women's art writing
    • Features key figures from Anna Jameson, Elizabeth Eastlake and George Eliot to Alice Meynell, Vernon Lee and Michael Field
    • Shows how, from its beginning as a discipline, art writing by women was distinctively different from that by men
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… this eminently readable study of women writing in a diversity of genres during the nineteenth century … provides an important account of the conceptual origins of art history in Britain and the contributions of writers participating from the discipline's margins.' D. H. Cibelli, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107075757
    • length: 254 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The profession of art history
    2. The art of fiction
    3. Girl guides: travel, translation, ekphrasis
    4. Women's periods
    5. Feminine arts

  • Author

    Hilary Fraser, Birkbeck, University of London
    Hilary Fraser is Executive Dean of Arts and Geoffrey Tillotson Professor of Nineteenth-Century Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Her publications include Beauty and Belief: Aesthetics and Religion in Victorian Literature (Cambridge, 1986), The Victorians and Renaissance Italy (1992), Gender and the Victorian Periodical (with Judith Johnston and Stephanie Green, Cambridge, 2003) and Minds, Bodies, Machines, 1770–1930 (co-edited with Deirdre Coleman, 2011).

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