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300 BOOK REVIEWS the history at times seems somewhat detached from her central thesis. In her discussion of Dickinson, for example, it becomes clear that the chapter is as much about Heidegger as it is about Dickinson. While this is not inherently a problem, and plenty of successful scholarship delicately navi­ gates the path between philosophy and literature, Davis’s application of Heidegger serves more as an interesting companion piece to Dickinson. Even though Davis’s Heidegger supplies us with a new language through which we can understand Dickinson, Davis never returns her argument to Heidegger himself. Davis could have amended this small issue by demon­ strating not only how the philosophy complicates the poetry, but by also showing how the poetry complicates the philosophy. A more rigorous ty­ ing together of the literary and the philosophical would have only made Davis’s compelling text that much stronger. And yet the use of Heidegger and Davis’s astute sense of the critical tra­ dition is precisely what allows her to pull off such impressive and singular readings of Thoreau, Dickinson, and Whitman. Indeed, Davis is truly at her best after she has provided the theoretical and philosophical ground upon which her argument rests. In an oversaturated field of scholarship, it seems to me for these reasons that Davis’s work is one with which we must contend. Alex Moskowitz Boston College Timothy Campbell. Historical Style: Fashion and the New Mode of History, 1740—1830. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Pp. 376. 54 illus. $65. In Historical Style, Timothy Campbell connects fashion to what he describes as a new mode of history, showing how “Britons reinvented the material life of the past as a source of novelty for the present” (2). This syncing of fashion with time proves one of the most arresting aspects of Campbell’s recasting of the role of the past across a variety of visual and textual genres. Fashion is often defined in the context of time, but usually not with the long historical view Campbell traces. In the eighteenth century and Ro­ mantic eras, fashion, like other cultural modes and forms of consumption, often marked progress and a quickening sense of pace. Trends changed from season to season, pocket watches ticked, and carriages clipped across improved roads. For Campbell, however, fashion develops rather a sense of historical currency that upends conventional accounts of change and im­ provement, as well as revising the relations among past, present, and future. SiR, 56 (Summer 2017) BOOK REVIEWS 301 What results is a wide-ranging meditation that grapples with sources docu­ menting fashion’s embrace ofthe past—which “heightened the importance of the past to the present” (7)—even as it envisioned the future. Campbell divides his study into two parts; the first, “The Dress of the Year,” groups two chapters that foreground his main frameworks of mo­ dernity and historicism. Chapter one, “Modern Fashion and Comparative Contemporaneity,” tackles datable fashions by juxtaposing Anna Letitia Barbauld’s historical nuance in verse and prose with illustrations that linked fashion to specific years (from 1745 onwards) and to Walter Scott’s Waverley (its highland dress, white waistcoats, and misdating). For Campbell, these sources yield insights into how the new converges with the old, how “fashion often threatened to reshape ‘the times’ for its own purposes” (51). He pursues also the pocketbook (a form ofprinted calendar and sometimes account book) that often included a fashion plate and other illustrations and excerpts, arguing that the printed pocketbooks’ “suitability for daily use continuously brought their vision of fashion, formal and literal, into the scene of the everyday” (64). Both pocketbooks and Scott’s fiction recur in subsequent chapters. Chapter two, “Portrait Historicism and the Dress of the Times,” focuses on clothing in portraiture, moving from Joshua Reynolds’s paintings and essays to contemporary responses from Samuel Johnson and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Campbell examines Reynolds’s various struggles and efforts to reconcile portraiture to commercial pres­ sures, high art, and changing modes. Reynolds emerges as an artist at odds with the market pressures ofhis own time, whose initial resistance to paint­ ing his sitters in contemporary fashion faltered as “he slowly and inescap­ ably succumbed...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-118X
Print ISSN
0039-3762
Pages
pp. 300-303
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-06
Open Access
No
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