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Fairies in Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature By Nicola Bown (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Fairies in Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature
by Nicola Bown (Birkbeck College, University of London)

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Nicola Bown's study reminds us that for the Victorians the fairy symbolized disenchantment with the irresistible forces of progress and modernity. As these forces stripped their world of its wonder, Victorians consoled themselves by dreaming of a place suffused with the enchantment that was disappearing from their own lives.
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Fairies in Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature Summary


Fairies in Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature by Nicola Bown (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Although fairies are now banished to the realm of childhood, these diminutive figures were central to the work of many Victorian painters, novelists, poets and even scientists. It would be no exaggeration to say that the Victorians were obsessed with fairies: yet this obsession has hitherto received little scholarly attention. Nicola Bown reminds us of the importance of fairies in Victorian culture. In the figure of the fairy, the Victorians crystallized contemporary anxieties about the effects of industrialization, the remoteness of the past, the value of culture and the way in which science threatened to undermine religion and spirituality. Above all, the fairy symbolized disenchantment with the irresistible forces of progress and modernity. As these forces stripped the world of its wonder, the Victorians consoled themselves by dreaming of a place and a people suffused with the enchantment that was disappearing from their own lives.

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Fairies in Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature Reviews


'Nicola Bown's compelling study brilliantly challenges preconceptions about fairies and fairyland; it will transform all subsequent thinking on the topic. Her book is packed with bold, fresh readings of poems, pictures, natural history and philosophy, with examples ranging from Keats' charm'd magic casements, to the famous case of the Cottingley fairy photographs.' Marina Warner
'Bown has accumulated much fascinating material and orders it well; she is an enthusiast who has managed to avoid the twin pitfalls of sentimentality and defensive irony.' The Times Literary Supplement
'In this delightful work it is argued persuasively that the Victorians grasped at fairies, indeed made a cult of them, in appalled reaction to the horrid, mechanised modernity they had built ... Bown has triumphantly overcome the handicap of being an academic to produce a warmly readable and diverting survey of this weirdly melancholy cultural phenomenon.' The Guardian
'A rich, thoughtful feast of a book ... an engaging and incisive study that finally rescues its often scorned subject from sentiment and misery.' The Guardian
'This is not a survey of fairy painting or painters; the focus is on a few key items, but to have this richly imaginative genre place in the context of very wide reading is highly illuminating.' Art Newspaper
'This is a richly textured book.' Notes & Queries
"This is an impressive study, thoroughly documented, and enriching of our sense of cultural history." Victorian Studies
"A fresh evocation of the century's pressing anxieties and ingenious consolations." Studies in English Literature

About Nicola Bown (Birkbeck College, University of London)


Nicola Bown is a lecturer in the Department of English at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has published articles in Textual Practice, Women: A Cultural Review, and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and worked for the Royal Academy on their Victorian Fairy Paintings show. This is her first book.

Table of Contents


List of illustrations; Acknowledgments; Introduction: small enchantments; 1. Fancies of fairies and spirits and nonsense; 2. Queen Mab among the steam engines; 3. A few fragments of fairyology, shewing its connection with natural history; 4. A broken heart and a pocket full of ashes; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Additional information

GOR010236647
Fairies in Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature by Nicola Bown (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Nicola Bown (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture
Used - Very Good
Paperback
Cambridge University Press
2006-03-30
256
0521025508
9780521025508
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.