Theresa M. Kelley and Jill H. Casid, "Introduction: Visuality's Romantic Geneaologies"
This introduction assesses the impact of visuality on Romantic literature and culture and its genealogies in the ongoing modern recognition of visuality as a cultural enterprise. The Romantic genealogies on display in this introduction include: visual representations of slavery, visual representations of slavery in Brazil, J. M. W. Turner’s painting The Slave Ship (Or Slavers Throwing Dying Slaves Overboard), Romantic panoramas as history painting, camera lucida, the solitary wandering artist and vagrancy in Romantic print culture, and Romantic technologies of perception, display, and exposure.
Sophie Thomas, "Representing Paris: History and Actuality at the London Panoramas"
This paper explores questions related to the representation of history and actuality, in all its possible senses, at the popular panoramas of the early nineteenth century. Using London and Paris as central examples (both were key cities for the development of the panorama), it considers the importance of the panorama as a medium for conveying certain kinds of visual knowledge—amenable to new regimes of description—and as a form closely linked to the self-representation of the urban metropolis. Focusing also on the relationship between image and text, between the panoramic images and the pamphlets that accompanied them, it addresses the problematic status of the popular appeal of historical and contemporary events as subjects for the panorama—subjects that engaged both a powerful desire to see and know things as they are (or were) and an equally powerful element of delusory (or illusory) representation.
Marcus Wood, "Brazilian Romantic Satire on the Peripheries of Photo-Realism: the Case of Angelo Agsostini"
The following analysis considers four abolitionist satires produced by Agostini, a satiric lithographer of genius who worked in Rio de Janeiro in the second half of the nineteenth century. Agostini is shown to have evolved a unique graphic language in order to describe the co-existence of modern urban capitalism with ancient social abuses. Agostini emerges as having fused new ways of looking which came out of photography with the older symbolic and emblematic languages of European print satire.
Matthew Francis Rarey, "Camera Lucida Mexicana: Travel, Visual Technologies, and Contested Objectivities"
This essay discusses three nascent visual technologies—the camera lucida, the panorama, and the daguerreotype—as often stubborn and defiant agents in quests for both scientific rationality and picturesque image-making in the first four decades of the nineteenth century. Through a series of case studies, it also details how the agency of such technologies emerged in the complex circuits of transatlantic intellectual and artistic exchange formed in order to represent, and thus claim access to or ownership of, Mexican history and archaeology across Europe and the Americas. This suggests the possibility of recasting the genesis of these technologies not as a fixed point, but as a process of transatlantic exchange oriented toward the New World and the south, in this case, Mexico.
Kay Dian Kriz, "Turner’s Slavers, Race, and the Ridiculous Human Fragment"
J. M. W. Turner’s Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying (“The Slave Ship”) has been thoroughly analyzed as a Romantic and sublime meditation on the evils of the slave trade, which was still ongoing when the picture was exhibited at London’s Royal Academy in 1840. This essay goes beyond the question of slavery to take up the inter-related issue of race, situating the slavers’ depictions of the fragmented bodies of black slaves within a larger network of representations of the “negro” that were produced over the previous sixty years. This network includes an emergent anthropological discourse on human variety and a visual form that rose to commercial prominence at the same time—the art of caricature. Some contemporary reviewers responded to Slavers as though it were ridiculous or funny, and it is argued here that we have much to learn about Turner’s picture and about the construction of racial difference by taking seriously the comic as a register that naturalizes racial hierarchies.
Lucy Kamiko Hawkinson Traverse, "Unsanctioned Wanderings: Capturing the Vagrant in Romantic Prints"
The gentlemanly or artistic wanderer is integral to the Romantic imagination, yet the ideal of the peripatetic existed against a backdrop of less desirable forms of vagrancy and nomadism. Through changing Poor Laws and Vagrancy Acts, as well as the enclosure of lands, these forms of unsanctioned wandering became increasingly criminalized and unsustainable, even as the endorsed amblings of the inquisitive artist-gentlemen were celebrated. This essay looks at depictions of unauthorized wandering in early-nineteenth-century British prints in order to explore Romantic constructions of vagrancy in relationship to the artist’s construction of self. More specifically, this project examines visual strategies that contradict or resist the implicit project of containment, arrest, and classification, and which complicate the supposed stasis of the print, the stability of language, and the book as commodity.