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The Pre-Raphaelites and orientalism - Eleonora Sasso

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The Pre-Raphaelites and orientalism - language and cognition in remediations of the East
Eleonora Sasso
Edinburgh University Press
UK Publication Date

Investigates the latent and manifest traces of the East in Pre-Raphaelite literature and culture

The Pre-Raphaelites and Orientalism: Language and Cognition in Remediations of the East redefines the task of interpreting the East in the late nineteenth century. Weaving together literary, linguistic and cognitive analyses of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, illustrations and writings, socio-cultural investigations of the Orient, and rhetorical considerations about Arabian forms of writing, the terms of critical debate surrounding the East are redefined. It takes as a starting point Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) in order to investigate the latent and manifest traces of the East in Pre-Raphaelite literature and culture. As the book demonstrates, the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates appeared to be the most eligible representatives of a profoundly conservative manifestation of the Orient, of its mystic aura, criminal underworld, and feminine sensuality, or to put it into Arabic terms, of its aja'ib (marvels), mutalibun (treasure-hunters) and hur al-ayn (femmes fatales).

Key Features:

  • Looks at how selected examples of Pre-Raphaelite writings acted as major vehicles for raising awareness of cultural diversity
  • Redefines the task of interpreting the East in the late nineteenth century taking as a starting point Edward Said's Orientalism (1978)
  • By investigating the pervasive influence of The Arabian Nights on Pre-Raphaelite texts, this study aims at bringing together Western and Eastern forms of writing;
  • Outlines the reasons why the writings by John Ruskin, D.G. Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, William Morris, Algernon Swinburne, Aubrey Beardsley, and Ford Madox Ford play such a prominent role in the Oriental debate

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Eleonora Sasso is a Lecturer in English with the University "G. d'Annunzio" of Chieti-Pescara. She is the author of Victorian Dominatrices: Women of Arcane Power in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Arachne Publishing, 2012), How the Writings of William Morris Shaped the Literary Style of Tennyson, Swinburne, Gissing, and Yeats (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2011) and William Morris Between Utopia and Medievalism (Arachne, 2007).

In her theoretically alert and aesthetically responsive study, Eleonora Sasso writes compellingly about the Pre-Raphaelites' use of Orientalism. Strikingly independent in its insights, the book suggests how important Eastern culture was for the Pre-Raphaelites. New perceptions abound on every stylishly written page of this fine book.

Michael O'Neill, Durham University

Keyword Index
Pre-Raphaelitism - Great Britain.|Orientalism in art.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
x, 222

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