The Language of Craft in an Age of Consumption
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Virginia Press
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This book is about craft as a public discourse, and in that sense its completion constitutes its own argument—for I have depended above all on the insights, inspiration, and support of others as I have made and remade, constructed and dismantled...
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In June of 1842, the American sculptor Horatio Greenough laid down his chisel in his Florence studio. Embarking for the United States to oversee the installation of his massive statue Washington in the rotunda of the Capitol, he also embarked on a new kind of labor: the writer’s. At the end of his yearlong visit to...
1. The Ghost Writer: The Canonization of Benvenuto Cellini
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For nineteenth-century readers, no literary account of artisanship was better known than The Life of Benvenuto Cellini, Written by Himself in Florence. Composed mostly in the late 1550s but only printed in its native Italian in 1728 and in English for the first time in 1771, Cellini’s autobiography of his life as...
2. Legends of Labor: Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Voice of Craft
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The previous chapter argued that Cellini’s canonizers accommodated the purposeful application of the body, a traditional standard of artisanship, with the narrative appeal of Cellini’s free-floating dexterity, peripatetic life, and universal capability. In this context, I suggested, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s categorical...
3. The Nature of Gothic: Artisanship, Intuition, and the Representation of Expertise
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This chapter shifts the focal points of Talking Shop in several ways. It considers the work of nineteenth-century artisans and tradespeople as well as the output of writers. It analyzes crafted artifacts as well as texts. Most important, it turns to closer questions about how skill might be made legible in the furnishings...
4. In the American Grain: Gustav Stickley and the Artisanal Type
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The adaptations of craft and image described in the previous chapter originated in the promotion of workmanship, from the 1830s onward, that was identifiably subjective; the iconicity of labor in the consumer market—the association of certain styles, rather than certain skills, with the handmade...
5. The Syntax of the Eye: Author, Artisan, and the ''More Laboring Ages'' in Henry James's The Spoils of Poynton
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In brief, The Spoils of Poynton concerns a woman dispossessed of a collection of antiques made by the best artisans of the Old World. By a brutal legality, the collection falls to her son when her husband dies, and the woman...
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The stream of discourse about craft traced in this book depends—for its drama, its significance, and its legibility—on silence; reticent artisans and soundless artifacts appear in every chapter as the fixed points against which the language of artisanship resounds. The ‘‘mute’’ objects at Poynton set the stakes...
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Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 28 halftones
Publication Year: 2011