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Reviews Katherine Binhammer University of Alberta Notes Lesbian history has been standing on the brink of this breakthrough for a few years. Valerie Traub's The Renaissance of Lesbianism in EarlyModern England(Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002) first began the movement by arguing for the visibility and presence of lesbianism in pre-1700 England and not its absence. Scholars have also already tasted small sections of Vicinus's book in articles and she has introduced us to her historiographical interventions in two significant essays: "Lesbian History All Theory and No Facts Or All Facts and No Theory?" Radical History Review, 60 (1994): 57-75 and "Introduction," Lesbian Subjects:A FeministStudies Reader, ed Martha Vicinus (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1996): 1-12. Hidden from History: Redairning the Gay and Lesbian Past, edited by Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey,Jr. (New York Penguin, 1989). ? ??????????? Péteri, Éva. VictorianApproaches to ReUgion as Reflectedin tbeArt of tbe PreRapbaeiites . (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 2003), 137 pp. $25.00. VictorianApproaches to Religion as Reflectedin theArtof the Pre-RaphaeUtes is a carefully argued analysis of the Pre-Raphaelite preoccupation with Victorian religious matters. Eva Péteri provides a new understanding of Pre-Raphaelitism as she explains that the direat their avant-gardism posed to the dominant artistic epistemology of the time stemmed principally from the group's implied links with the Oxford movement Offering the first specific study of nineteenth-century religious concerns and die art of the Pre-Raphaelites, Péteri outlines the religious and artistic antecedents of this artistic brotherhood and demonstrates the general move towards secularisation in the 1860s. Given die radical divide between Evangelicals and Tractarians in the 1840s, Victorian Review (2004)1 1 3 Reviews it is no surprise that "questions of faith, denomination, and moral responsibility " (T) affected die Pre-Raphaelite works diat emerged mid-century. The widespread criticism provoked by the Tractarian revival of seventeenthcentury High Church tradition came into play in 1850 with the reception of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's EcceAncilla Domini], John Everett Millais's Christ in the House of His Parents, and William Holman Hunt's A ConvertedBritish Family Shelteringa Christian Missionaryfrom tbe Persecution of the Druids. Situating the Pre-Raphaelites at the centre of the anti-Cadiolic hostility in Britain, Péteri characterizes Pre-Raphaelitism as "the artistic counterpart of the evolution of the Oxford Movement" (12). Tractarians strove to revitalise the religious life of England by drawing on seventeenth-century tradition, much as the Pre-Raphaelites reacted against the Royal Academy by taking as their models works from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, works that were strongly Catholic The early reception of Pre-Raphaelite painting was unmistakably affected by tension between the demand for a rigorous observance of theological traditions and doubt itself. While Rossetti's The Girlhoodof Mary Virgin was favourably received in 1849, his next painting EcceAnàUa Domin?, provoked a storm of criticism in 1850. Critics lambasted his technical mistakes and weak perspective, claiming that he lacked the skills of exact drawing and proper painting. More importandy, critics were enraged by the Romish "conspiracy" implied by the acronym "P. R B." The artistic revolution endorsed by the Pre-Raphaelites was unwelcome to a population already unsettled by Darwin's evolutionary theories and by memories of the 1848 revolutions on the Continent and the riots in London. Rossetti's realistic mode of painting also failed to attract admirers: his depiction of the Virgin as betraying both fear and doubt, and the realism of his archangel Gabriel were deemed too secular. Moreover, Millais's refusal to idealize the biblical figures in Christin the House of His Parents shocked Victorian audiences profoundly. Péteri demonstrates diat such realistic treatment of religious subjects failed to provide the dogmatic confirmation of the "truth" of biblical texts that was so desperately needed mid-century. Péteri's analytical strength undoubtedly lies in the excellent typological analysis she provides of the paintings, her clarification of biblical and literary intertexts Her extensive discussion of Hunt's early and late religious work highlights her skilful "explanations" of visual texts. Of central concern in this study is the development of Hunt's religiosity, which stemmed from the principle outlined in the first...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 113-116
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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