Transfiguration: the religion of art in nineteenth-century literature before aestheticism.

Transfiguration: the religion of art in nineteenth-century literature before aestheticism

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ISBN details

  • ISBN 10: 0198757204
  • ISBN 13: 9780198757207


Transfiguration explores the work of John Ruskin, Robert Browning, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Walter Pater, treating the ways in which they engaged with the Christian content of their subject, and, in Pater's case, how the art of Christianity was contrasted with classical sculpture. Stephen Cheeke examines two related phenomena: idolatry and the poetics of transfiguration. Central to the book is the question of the 'translation' of religion into art andaesthetics, a process which supposedly undergirds the advent of the museum age and makes possible the idea of a 'religion of art' as a phenomenon of late century Aestheticism. Such a phenomenon is prepared for,however, through the engagement with Christian painting and classical sculpture in the work of these four writers. All four thought carefully about the ways in which a particular mimetic impulse of 'making-live' in artworks could be connected to religious experience. They all wrote about the great power of artworks to transfigure the objects of their attention. In each case, there emerges the possibility of a secret sexual knowledge hiding within, or lying on the other side of the sensuousknowledge of aesthesis. And all four wondered whether this was inherently hostile to Christianity, or whether it may, finally, be an accommodation within it.

Other Details

  • Publisher: Oxford University Press,
  • Language: Eng English
  • Format: print
  • Edition: 1
  • Dimensions: 237 pages ; 23 cm
  • Date Published: 2016
  • Authors: Cheeke, Stephen , 1967- (author.)