Spatial Dynamics and Female Development in Victorian Art and Novels: Creating a Woman's Space

Spatial Dynamics and Female Development in Victorian Art and Novels: Creating a Woman's Space

Spatial Dynamics and Female Development in Victorian Art and Novels: Creating a Woman's Space

Spatial Dynamics and Female Development in Victorian Art and Novels: Creating a Woman's Space

Synopsis

"Spatial dynamics and imagery surface as distinctive and insightful elements for investigating female figures in Victorian art and literature. This book explores the concept that space can be a productive and creative realm - rather than merely an empty or confirming category - for personal development. Through discussing representative Victorian paintings of the mid- to late-1800s, as well as novels by women authors, Spatial Dynamics and Female Development in Victorian Art and Novels illustrates the ways visual and literary genres utilize space. This book sharpens our view of nineteenth-century women's perspectives on themselves, and recognizes connections between the visual and literary arts." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

As I read, I visualize. As I see images, I read meaning. It has always been like that. And I'm sure I'm not unique. The two actions complement, even respond to, each other. For me—as person and as scholar—the links are strong. They both appear to me and I seek them. I see the world with the eyes of a writer/literary scholar and a painter. The two visions and creative impulses have always been present in me, at least for as long as I can remember. Never competing, rather complementing each other, oscillating in clarity and force.

I write this, not as a bit of incidental biographical background, but as a context for this study. The concept of symbolic spatial composition already had meaning for me from my experiences sketching spontaneously, more diligently planning paintings, and observing and learning from other artists' works. It would not be a difficult jump to begin to see that same dynamic, familiar to the artist's consciousness, considered and crafted verbally by writers. Then within a number of graduate courses, the idea of space and its ties to the feminine kept surfacing and capturing my attention, in particular through the works of Anita Brookner, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, and theoretically, Alice Jardine. These connections appeared to me and I followed their lead, beginning to seek similar correlations in the Victorian period. I did not have to push or prod the art or novels of the period to find connections between visual/verbal spatial composition and depictions of the female. I simply asked questions and looked to the works to lead me in the right directions. This project offers those observations and answers, in hopes of regarding the consideration of spatial composition as meaningful, provocative, and full of possibility for the female imagination.

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