Symbolist Objects

Symbolist Objects: Materiality and Subjectivity at the Fin-de-Siècle

edited by Claire I. R. O'Mahony

This interdisciplinary volume explores the intersections between Symbolist aesthetics and material objects and interiors. Fourteen international scholars examine these debates from the overlapping perspectives of the disciplines of literary studies, the history of art, design and visual culture and aesthetic philosophy. Five thematic sections apply a spectrum of approaches to visual and literary case studies from fin-de-siècle Europe. The book opens with analyses of the interiority articulated through the domestic environments of Comte Robert de Montesquiou and Oscar Wilde. The second section juxtaposes four engagements with the artful page and the ‘book beautiful’ devised by Stéphane Mallarmé, John Gray, William Morris and Alfred Jarry. The third cluster of essays considers art works and spaces by Fernand Khnopff, Puvis de Chavannes and René Binet which took on talismanic status at the fin de siècle. By contrast the interventions in the fourth section explore the gendered tensions between preciousness and consumer culture in the writings of Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Joséphin Péladan and Georges Rodenbach, and both Rachilde’s evocations of, and René Lalique’s designs for, jewellery. The collection concludes with meditations on the legacies of Symbolist aesthetics within the work of Robert Motherwell and contemporary installation art. This anthology should be of special interest to fin-de-siècle scholars, whilst accessible to a more general readership.
Hardbound: 15.9 x 23.5 cm.,
444 pp., illustrated.

ISBN 978 1 904201 15 1
£40.00 / $65.00

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Subjective Objects
claire i r o’mahony


Misunderstood Symbolism: Rereading the Subjective Objects of Montesquiou’s First Maison d’un artiste
elizabeth emery

Objects and Interiors: Oscar Wilde
richard w hayes


Potential Images in Mallarmé’s Un Coup de dés
katherine shingler

Th e Fin-de-Siècle Book as Art Object: John Gray, poet
philip healy

Th e Quest for Verbal/Visual Cosmos in William Morris’s Calligraphy and Typography
paola spinozzi

Merde and Diamonds: Alfred Jarry’s Les Minutes de Sable Memorial and César-Antechrist
jill fell


The Archaeology of Dreams: Fernand Khnopff, Henri Cros and the Mask
rachel sloan

Talisman for the Symbolist Movement: Puvis de Chavannes’ Hope
erika schneider

A World of Things in Emergence and Growth: René Binet’s Porte Monumentale at the 1900 Paris Exposition
robert proctor


Destruction and the Gift
geneviève sicotte

The ‘artistiques bijoux d’acier’ in The Marquise de Sade: Shifts of Power
sophie pelletier

René Lalique and the Subjectification of the Jewel
claire i r o’mahony


Baudelaire, Mallarmé and the Symbolist Aesthetics of Robert Motherwell
william m perthes

Insects, Design and Illusion: Symbolism and Subjectivity
marjan groot


Notes on Contributors

 Published 15 October 2009
Rivendale Press
P. O. Box 85, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4WZ England
TEL: 01494 562266
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