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DIY Gothic: Thomas Gray and the Medieval Revival

From: ELH
Volume 70, Number 4, Winter 2003
pp. 989-1019 | 10.1353/elh.2004.0006


The eighteenth-century Medieval Revival emerged in opposition to dominant consumer culture, partly through the very economic institutions Revivalists nostalgically opposed, such as commercial publishing and mass production. This contradiction is apparent in a series of letters by Thomas Gray relating his attempts to buy Gothic-style wallpaper, a product that complicated the association of commerce with progress by setting the commodity form back into a past it was supposed to have moved beyond. Gray's correspondence expresses the beliefs about labor, authenticity, and creativity characteristic of the Medieval Revival.

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