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    Tender beauty: Victorian painting and the problem of sentimentality

    Bown, Nicola (2011) Tender beauty: Victorian painting and the problem of sentimentality. Journal of Victorian Culture 16 (2), pp. 214-225. ISSN 1355-5502.

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    Abstract

    One of the most enduring critical legacies of modernism has been the condemnation of the sentimentality of Victorian art. This essay argues that recent art historical attempts to discuss Victorian sentimentality are condemned to repeat modernist critical judgements about sentimental art because of their espousal of historicist methodologies which produce historical distance between artwork and the critical viewer in the present. Instead, I argue, our own emotional involvement with Victorian paintings should form part of our scholarly accounts of their meanings, because their affective power is central to their aesthetic qualities. To look properly, I argue, is also to feel. To exemplify this I discuss Augustus Mulready's Remembering the Joys that Have Passed Away (1873), in order to show how a sentimental look at this painting undermines approaches that absorb sentimentality into historicist, social-constructionist and ideological accounts of such a picture.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Victorian sentimentality, modernism, historicism, ideology, Augustus Mulready, children, snow, feeling
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > English and Humanities
    Research Centre: Nineteenth-Century Studies, Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2013 13:24
    Last Modified: 06 Dec 2016 10:17
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/6245

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