Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780935573459 Published January 2009

The "Writing" of Modern Life

The Etching Revival in France, Britain, and the U.S., 1850-1940

Elizabeth Helsinger


Elizabeth Helsinger

Distributed for Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago

104 pages | 75 halftones | 8 1/2 x 11
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780935573459 Published January 2009
What is it about etching that renders it—according to both the poet-critic Charles Baudelaire and the visionary artist Samuel Palmer—a medium of writing? And, moreover, what makes etching equally adaptable to the expression of both memory and modernity? The “Writing” of Modern Life examines British, French, and American artists who from the polemical beginnings of the Etching Revival in the 1850s to its twentieth-century afterlife practiced etching as a form of quasi-literary authorship. Whether or not these printmakers viewed etching as a medium for expressing thoughts or personality, as Baudelaire and Palmer claimed, they did find in the craft a way to suggest both elegiac recollection and the visual strangeness of modern life. 
Containing essays by Martha Tedeschi, Peyton Skipwith, Anna Arnar, Allison Morehead, and Elizabeth Helsinger, and generously illustrated with works by both well-known and less-heralded printmakers, The “Writing” of Modern Life is an interdisciplinary collection that will appeal to literary and art historians alike.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Elizabeth Helsinger
The "Writing" of Modern Life
Martha Tedeschi
The New Language of Etching in Nineteenth-Century England
Anna Arnar
Seduced by the Etcher’s Needle: French Writers and the Graphic Arts in Nineteenth-Century France
Allison Morehead
Interlude: Bracquemond and Buhot
Peyton Skipwith
Toward a Gothic Vision
Erin Nerstad
Postlude: Reflections on Some Impressions
Checklist of the Exhibition
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