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Fashioning Faces
The Portraitive Mode in British Romanticism
Elizabeth A. Fay

Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies

New Hampshire
2010 • 340 pp. 29 b & w illus. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Literary Criticism / Cultural Studies

$45.00 Hardcover, 978-1-58465-778-1

A fresh look at how literary and visual portraiture in the Romantic era embodied a newly commercial culture

In this ambitious cross-disciplinary study, Elizabeth A. Fay examines the Romantic era in Britain as a transitional period leading to the modernist focus on identity formation and legibility. Inventing the term “portraitive mode” to describe a diversity of cultural and material expressions of identity, such as visual and verbal portraits, miniatures, poetry, caricatures, and biographical dictionaries, she examines a widespread cultural shift toward a world of faces and figures that foreshadows today’s increasingly common self-reflections and depictions.
Fay places portraiture within broader cultural currents, such as fashion and consumption, the rise of celebrity culture, personal collections and house museums, and travel literature. Synthesizing a vast array of material and tying together diverse artistic, literary, and cultural modes, she sheds new light on the historical significance of portraits and the centrality of Romantic portraiture as a vehicle for expression and subjective exploration.

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ELIZABETH FAY is professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has published several books, including Romantic Medievalism: History and the Romantic Literary Ideal and A Feminist Introduction to Romanticism.

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 14:02:34 -0500