In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 149 most instances, I found myself in agreement with the author, though his suggestion that Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany belong in the same catalogue of evil and injustice as McCarthy's America struck me as simply wrong, an ethical and political category error. The essays on writers and books have the virtue of making one want to read or reread the works discussed and praised. In one case, however, Manguel's enthusiasm for a writer - the neglected Canadian poet Richard Outram -leads him to fudge the evidence. In order to convince the reader that Outram is 'one of the finest poets in the English language,' Manguel misrepresents the poetry of his Canadian contemporaries by quoting very selectively from the New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse. The argument simply doesn't stand up, and Manguel does Outram, a fine minor poet, little good by overstating the case. Two small points are worth noting. Because Manguel avoids footnotes, it is impossible to check or follow up some of his more interesting quotations and references. Where, for instance, did Montesquieu say that 'Ignorance is the Mother of tradition'? And did Aquinas invent 'intention' as a rhetorical concept? Off hand, I recall only the intentiones that define the abstraction of universal meanings. Secondly, Into the Looking-Glass Wood is one of the most attractively designed books of its kind to have appeared in some time. Tenniel's illustrations and quotations from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass frame and link the various pieces in a way that provides a visual pleasure not discussed in Manguel's generally engaging and intelligent reflections on texts and readings. (SAM SOLECKI) Mark A. Cheetham, Michael Ann Holly, and Keith Moxey, editors. The Subjects ofArt History: Historical Objects in Contemporary Perspective Cambridge University Press. xii, 336. us $24.95 This important and thought-provoking volume of sixteen essays brings together contributions from prominent members of the art-historical establishment and is intended for advanced students in the field. That we can now consider these writers as part of mainstream art history is suggested in the title. There is no longer a need to qualify theoretical approaches as 'The New Art History' or 'Visual Theory:' The pendulum has swung in the direction of art-historical writing that is, to use a term that comes up often in this book, 'self-reflexive.' The subjects of the title turn out to be not only works of art or writings on art, but also and perhaps most importantly the contributors themselves. This anthology is divided into three sections. The first with accessible contributions from the three editors, establishes the book's parameters 150 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 through historical and historiographical examples that challenge the conception of art history, as an enclosed discipline with narrow interests. Mark Cheetham's insightful essay into the (often political) use of Kant in art and art history shows how the very borders that Kant is said to uphold are often crossed. Cheetham argues persuasively that disciplinary bOlmdaries are never clearly demarcated but rather 'necessarily fluid and even vague.' Keith Maxey's detailed examination of Hegelian teleology in Hans Memling's reception contests what is (or perhaps was) an accepted paradigm of art-historical writing, the production of a seamless developmental narrative. Michael Arm Holly'S essay deftly connectsfin-de-siecle Viennese art-historical writing with Gustav Klimt's controversial university paintings and other contemporary phenomena in order to show that writing art history 'is never an uncomplicated, straightforward narrative event.' The complexity of art-historical writing becomes even more evident in the second section of the book, which includes more teclmical essays that examine a variety of interpretive strategies: semiotics, feminism, queer theory, phenomenology, deconstruction, reception theory, psychoanalysis, and postcolonial theory. Each of these essays begins with a methodological discussion which is followed by an application of the theory in question to historical examples. Some, like Mieke Bal's concise overview of various semiotic strategies, use examples chosen from works of art. In others, like Stephen Melville's outline of the changing nature of phenomenology, the examples arehistoriographical: Rosalind Krauss's and Michael Fried's very different uses of...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 149-151
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.