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Lady of Shallot by William Holman Hunt8:432 Seminar: Pre-Raphaelites and Aesthetes

Professor Florence S. Boos


The ideals, practices and preconceptions of Pre-Raphaelite poets and artists and their Aesthetic movement and ‘decadent’ successors influenced specific styles and motifs, modified notions of what was ‘beautiful,’ and suggested that verbal and visual representations should be reflexive and self-consciously intertwined.  

n an effort to interpret these ideas, we will begin with anticipations of them in the poems of Keats and Tennyson; continue with essays, poems and prose narratives by John Ruskin, Walter Pater, Dante Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, William Morris, Algernon Swinburne and Oscar Wilde; and conclude with lesser-known works of Augusta Webster, Vernon Lee, Michael Field, Rosamund Marriott Watson, and Helen and Olivia Rossetti. 

We will also attend to popular as well as critical reception of these authors’ works, study their views of art, illustration, book design, and assorted “lesser arts,” and consider ideals and impulses which live on in the artistic endeavors of their successors.