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Chapter 16 - Fin-de-Siècle Visuality (and Textuality) and the Digital Sphere

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2023

Dustin Friedman
Affiliation:
American University, Washington DC
Kristin Mahoney
Affiliation:
Michigan State University
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Summary

Despite a rich range of varied styles and modes of production of fine arts and crafts during the fin de siècle in Britain, a relatively small set of imagery – the decadent stylings of Aubrey Beardsley, for example – has come to define the age. Drawing on the contemporary idea of the “unity of the arts,” this chapter seeks to expand an understanding of 1890s visuality through the potential of the digital. It first explores the literary/visual/artistic intersections of the 1890s, from Pre-Raphaelite antecedents through the Arts and Crafts movement and book illustration. It then turns to the digital, especially advances in interoperability and rich metadata, to consider the ways that technology can both simulate and illuminate fin-de-siècle artistic intersections, complementing previous modes of thinking about the 1890s while offering a more comprehensive view of the diverse visual culture of the period. Like ideals about the unity of the arts, these new transmedial approaches offer enormous promise but are not without their challenges and limitations.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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