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The Frame of Art

Fictions of Aesthetic Experience, 1750–1815

David Marshall

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Winner of the Louis Gottschalk Prize given by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Aesthetic experience was problematic for Enlightenment authors. Arguing against the commonly held view that aesthetics in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was defined by the professionalization of criticism and the disinterested contemplation and evaluation of the work of art in isolation, David Marshall seeks to understand how and why aesthetic experience in fact often generated tremendous emotion and tension. Focusing on stories about art told in literary, critical, and philosophical…

Winner of the Louis Gottschalk Prize given by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Aesthetic experience was problematic for Enlightenment authors. Arguing against the commonly held view that aesthetics in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was defined by the professionalization of criticism and the disinterested contemplation and evaluation of the work of art in isolation, David Marshall seeks to understand how and why aesthetic experience in fact often generated tremendous emotion and tension. Focusing on stories about art told in literary, critical, and philosophical writings, in which art is represented as both powerful and disconcerting, he demonstrates how an aesthetic perspective blurs the boundaries between art and reality rather than separating them.

Lucid and erudite, The Frame of Art examines an Enlightenment preoccupation with the pervasive presence of art and aesthetic experience in everyday life. Viewing a world composed of images, simulacra, copies, reenactments, performances, paintings, and texts, authors and characters describe and enact—in what Marshall describes as a "representation compulsion"—intense experiences of art that are far from the disinterested museum experience typically seen as the endpoint of eighteenth-century aesthetics.

These insightful readings of Charlotte Lennox, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Gotthold Lessing, Lord Kames, Henry Mackenzie, David Hume, Jane Austen, and the theorists of the picturesque trace the dramatization of aesthetic experience and the desire to design one's life as if it were a work of art-a painting, a play, or a novel. Marshall asks what it means for these authors to view the world through the frame of art.

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The Frame of Art

David Marshall

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Reviews

Reviews

This is a beautifully written and beautifully argued book... I come away from it with a new perception.

Marshall demonstrates an enviable facility with the English, French, and German canon, and at points produces close readings of difficult texts that are nothing short of tour de force.

The Frame of Art has already received a major accolade: the Louis Gottschalk Prize awarded by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. It is not hard to see why.

This book succeeds so brilliantly in its interpretative perspectives.

Thought-provoking and scrupulously researched.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
272
ISBN
9780801882333
Illustration Description
4 halftones
Table of Contents

Introduction: The Problem of Aesthetic Experience
Chapter 1. The Problem of the Picturesque
Chapter 2. The Impossible Work of Art: Kames, Pope, Lessing
Chapter 3. True Acting and the Language of Real

Introduction: The Problem of Aesthetic Experience
Chapter 1. The Problem of the Picturesque
Chapter 2. The Impossible Work of Art: Kames, Pope, Lessing
Chapter 3. True Acting and the Language of Real Feeling: Mansfield Park
Chapter 4. Fatal Letters: Clarissa and the Death of Julie
Chapter 5. The Business of Tragedy: Accounting for Sentiment in Julia de Roubigné
Chapter 6. Writing Masters and "Masculine Exercises" in The Female Quixote
Chapter 7. Arguing by Analogy: Hume's Standard of Taste
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

David Marshall, Ph.D.

David Marshall is a professor of English and Comparative Literature and Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara.