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Framing the Victorians : photography and the culture of realism

Author: Jennifer Green-Lewis
Publisher: Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
A wide-ranging exploration of the complex and often conflicting discourse on photography in the nineteenth century, Framing the Victorians traces various descriptions of photography as art, science, magic, testimony, proof, document, record, illusion, and diagnosis. Victorian photography, argues Jennifer Green-Lewis, inspired such universal fascination that even two so self-consciously opposed schools as positivist
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Jennifer Green-Lewis
ISBN: 0801432766 9780801432767
OCLC Number: 34850564
Description: xii, 255 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. Coming to Terms: Realism, Romance, Photography --
2. Pencil of Fire: The Photographer Speaks --
3. Fiction's Photographers and Their Works: Villains outside the Frame --
4. Framing the Crimea: The Narrative of Photographs in Exhibition --
5. The Mind Unveil'd: Photographing the Interior --
6. Signs of the Things Taken: Testimony, Subjectivity, and the Nineteenth-Century Mug Shot --
Coda: Other Pictures, Other Worlds.
Responsibility: Jennifer Green-Lewis.

Abstract:

A wide-ranging exploration of the complex and often conflicting discourse on photography in the nineteenth century, Framing the Victorians traces various descriptions of photography as art, science, magic, testimony, proof, document, record, illusion, and diagnosis. Victorian photography, argues Jennifer Green-Lewis, inspired such universal fascination that even two so self-consciously opposed schools as positivist realism and metaphysical romance claimed it as their own. Photography thus became at once the symbol of the inadequacy of nineteenth-century empiricism and the proof of its totalizing vision.

Green-Lewis juxtaposes textual descriptions with pictorial representations of a diverse array of cultural activities from war and law enforcement to novel writing and psychiatry. She compares, for example, the exhibition of Roger Fenton's Crimean War photographs (1855) which W.H. Russell's written accounts of the war published in the Times of London (1884 and 1886). Nineteenth-century photography, she maintains, must be reread in the context of Victorian written texts from and against which it developed.

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