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

sculpture (in Rosalind Krauss's essay, "Sculpture in the Expanded Field"), and of the visual arts (in Douglas Crimp's essay, "On the Museum's Ruins," and Craig Owens's essay, "The Discourse of Others: Feminists and Postmodernism") represent the most concentrated instances of postmodernism as cultural activities, and these essays have the added allure of a definitive address. (For example, when Fredric Jameson attempts to address the commercial cinema as an examplar of postmodernism in his essay "Postmodernism and Consumer Society," there is a marked attenuation of incisiveness, because the specifics of the situation have not the intent implied when the term "postmodern" is applied.) The Anti-Aesthetic is an exceptional beginning for a bibliography on postmodernism, though there are many other choices which come to mind (specifically from such journals as October and Critical Inquiry) for future reference (in particular, essays by such writers as Annette Michelson, Noel Carroll, and George Rochberg), to mention sources which Foster has tapped for his substantive choices. It should be noted that "performance" is a category which has been presumed to be "postmodern," yet few essays address the subject directly; theatre is rarely mentioned, and this is, perhaps, inevitable, since the theatre is a field which has not "expanded" in the same sense that architecture and sculpture have expanded. Postmodernism represents the effort to sustain the intensity of analytical discourse when there is an acknowledgement of the "death" of that discourse's modus operandi, "modernism." Perhaps when the theatre catches up to postmodernism, that will be the signal for postmodernism's funeral rites. Daryl Chin Realizations: Narrative, Pictorial,and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth-Century England Martin Meisel Princeton, 472 pp., 220 illus., $52.50 (cloth) The visual high point in The House of Mirth, the play by Clyde Fitch and Edith Wharton, based on Mrs. Wharton's best-selling novel of 1905, is a striking scene of posing tableaux vivants at a New York society benefit. Noted in relation to Martin Meisel's remarkable survey of nineteenthcentury English syntheses of the narrative and the pictorial-notably on stage-this theatrical effect of Fitch's, which was a hallmark of dramaturgy, shows his affinity for a style which was already in eclipse. In Realizations, Meisel seeks, with success and many fascinating, thoroughly researched examples, to identify and explain the distinctive nineteenth century style which linked the narrative and the pictorial. In passing, he notes tableaux vivants, said to have been developed from inspirations of Goethe and Emma Hamilton's "Attitudes," her poses based on classical sculpture. Meisel is, however, interested in matters more complex than mere posing in 96 the manner of a famous painting, although such tableaux were indeed popular throughout the century, both at social gatherings and in the commercial theatre. Scene and act-endings, in fact, often were designed for striking tableaux effects. These were, Meisel demonstrates, practical results of applied aesthetics. Meisel's title refers to the term used in the theatre to indicate a specific pictorial representation of a literary text. He notes a distinction between realization and illustration. The former merely gives visual form to a text; the latter seeks to interpret it in the visual recreation . What would Dickens have been without Cruikshank? What would Lewis Carroll have been without Sir John Tenniel? Even today, for many, their images are far better known than the texts they illustrate. Meisel observes that there was a definite, expected interaction between a text and its illustrations : the one was enhanced by the other. But even in novels not accompanied by specifically created illustrations, he says, the power of the pictorial made itself felt: fictional narratives were conceived and projected in series of scenes which were amply described and animated by their authors. And, just as the pictorial influence made itself felt in fiction, so too did the dominant narrative, or story-telling, tradition make itself felt, increasingly , in nineteenth-century English painting. Because of the necessary stasis of a painting, new means had to be developed to signify the on-going action of a story in a picture. Signification, in fact, is of major importance in Meisel's thesis about the relationship of narrative and pictorial elements, and their...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 96-98
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
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.