In this Book

Is it possible to conceive of a Hello Kitty Middle Ages or a Tickle Me Elmo Renaissance? The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first reference to “cute” in the sense of “attractive, pretty, charming” to 1834. More recently, Sianne Ngai has offered a critical overview of the cuteness of the twentieth-century avant-garde within the context of consumer culture. But if cuteness can get under the skin, what kinds of surfaces does it best infiltrate, particularly in the framework of historical forms, events, and objects that traditionally have been read as emergences around “big” aesthetics of formal symmetries, high affects, and resemblances? The Retrofuturism of Cuteness seeks to undo the temporal strictures surrounding aesthetic and affective categories, to displace a strict focus on commodification and cuteness, and to interrogate how cuteness as a minor aesthetics can refocus our perceptions and readings of both premodern and modern media, literature, and culture. Taking seriously the retro and the futuristic temporalities of cuteness, this volume puts in conversation projects that have unearthed remnants of a “cult of cute”—positioned historically and critically in between transitions into secularization, capitalist frameworks of commodification, and the enchantment of objects—and those that have investigated the uncanny haunting of earlier aesthetics in future-oriented modes of cuteness.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. open access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 1-8
  3. open access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. 9-12
  3. open access Download |
  1. Introduction: The Time of the Child
  2. Wan-Chuan Kao & Jen Boyle
  3. pp. 13-28
  4. open access Download |
  1. Torturer-Cute
  2. Andrea Denny-Brown
  3. pp. 29-52
  4. open access Download |
  1. Indulgence and Refusal: Cuteness, Asceticism, and the Aestheticization of Desire
  2. Elizabeth Howie
  3. pp. 53-66
  4. open access Download |
  1. From “Awe” to “Awww”: Cuteness and the Idea of the Holy in Christian Commodity Culture
  2. Claire Maria Chambers
  3. pp. 67-86
  4. open access Download |
  1. “All the Pretty Little Ponies”: Bronies, Desire, and Cuteness
  2. Justin Mullis
  3. pp. 87-110
  4. open access Download |
  1. Consuming Celebrity: Commodities and Cuteness in the Circulation of Master William Henry West Betty
  2. Marlis Schweitzer
  3. pp. 111-136
  4. open access Download |
  1. Embracing the Gremlin: Judas Iscariot and the (Anti-)Cuteness of Despair
  2. Mariah Junglan Min
  3. pp. 137-154
  4. open access Download |
  1. Cute, Charming, Dangerous: Child Avatars in Second Life
  2. Alicia Corts
  3. pp. 155-174
  4. open access Download |
  1. What’s Cute Got To Do With It? Early Modern Proto-Cuteness in King Lear
  2. James M. Cochran
  3. pp. 175-194
  4. open access Download |
  1. Hamlet, Hesperides, and the Discursivity of Cuteness
  2. Kara Watts
  3. pp. 195-218
  4. open access Download |
  1. Cute Lacerations in Doctor Faustus and Omkara
  2. Tripthi Pillai
  3. pp. 219-242
  4. open access Download |
  1. Katie Sokoler, Your Construction Paper Tears Can't Hide Your Yayoi Kusama-Neurotic Underbelly
  2. Kelly Lloyd
  3. pp. 243-260
  4. open access Download |
  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 261-269
  3. open access Download |

Additional Information

MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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.