Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life (Gender and - download pdf or read online

By Victoria Rosner

ISBN-10: 0231133049

ISBN-13: 9780231133043

Modernism and the structure of non-public lifestyles bargains a daring new evaluate of the position of the family sphere in modernist literature, structure, and layout. Elegantly synthesizing modernist literature with architectural plans, room designs, and ornamental artwork, Victoria Rosner's paintings explores the collaborations between sleek British writers, inside designers, and designers in redefining the shape, functionality, and that means of middle-class inner most lifestyles. Drawing on a number of formerly unexamined archival resources and works by way of figures reminiscent of E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Oscar Wilde, James McNeill Whistler, and Virginia Woolf, Rosner highlights the participation of modernist literature within the production of an experimental, embodied, and unstructured deepest existence, which we proceed to symbolize as "modern." (Jan.'07 14:1)

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Dorian acknowledges that even if his portrait were to be exposed to public 29 30 Frames view his secret life would not be revealed; alone, the portrait would be inadequate to expose him: “He would laugh at any one who tried to taunt him. He had not painted it. ” (110). Yet he cannot rid himself of the idea that the discovery of the portrait would also expose his secret, and as a result he becomes more and more consumed with guarding the painting, placing bars across the room where it is kept, remaining in London to watch over it, and forbidding the room to members of his household staff.

Wilde’s concept of the aestheticization of everyday life drew heavily on the ideas of his friend, painter and designer James McNeill Whistler. Though a disciple of Ruskin’s at Oxford, when Wilde came down it was Whistler he sought out in London. ”16 Unlike Morris, Whistler saw no intrinsic value in patterns based on nature or in natural materials. Both Morris and Whistler appreciated simplicity and emphasized the importance of being surrounded by beauty in the home. 17 And if Morrissian simplicity came from the use of modest materials, Whistler preferred the simplicity of Japanese art and design, designs that filled Wilde’s home, and later, Dorian Gray’s.

A principle tenet of design reform lay in the unity of the arts. By weaving together poetry, handicraft, painting, and philosophy in his lectures, Wilde helped build this unity. Another core concept was the idea that the home, rather than modeling the latest fashion, should express the distinct per- 23 24 Frames sonality of its occupant. With his idiosyncratic dress, affectations, and wit, Wilde embodied this celebration of individuality. To get at the meaning of the objects in Dorian Gray—to read the novel as an essay on decorative art—it is perhaps most useful to see Wilde both as an influential tastemaker and a disciple of the leading architects and designers of his time.

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Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life (Gender and Culture Series) by Victoria Rosner


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