By Isobel Armstrong
Isobel Armstrong's startlingly unique and fantastically illustrated e-book tells the tales that spring from the mass-production of glass in nineteenth-century England. relocating throughout know-how, undefined, neighborhood historical past, structure, literature, print tradition, the visible arts, optics, and philosophy, it is going to rework our realizing of the Victorian period.
The mass creation of glass within the 19th century remodeled an old fabric right into a glossy one, while remodeling the surroundings and the nineteenth-century mind's eye. It created a brand new glass tradition hitherto not possible. Glass tradition constituted Victorian modernity. It was once made of countless adaptations of the prefabricated glass panel, and the lens. The reflect and the window turned its formative components, either the texts and ingredients of glass tradition. The
glassworlds of the century are heterogeneous. They happen themselves within the applied sciences of the manufacturing facility furnace, within the myths of Cinderella and her glass slipper circulated in print media, within the ideologies of the conservatory as development variety, within the fantasia of the shopfront, within the construction of
chandeliers, within the Crystal Palace, and the lens-made photos of the magic lantern and microscope. yet they have been however ruled through inescapable stipulations.
First, to appear via glass was once to appear in the course of the residues of the breath of an unknown artisan, simply because glass was once mass produced by way of incorporating glassblowing into the department of labour. moment, actually a brand new medium, glass introduced the anomaly of transparency and the issues of mediation into the typical. It intervened among seer and visible, incorporating a contemporary philosophical challenge into physically adventure. hence for poets and novelists glass took on fabric and ontological,
political, and aesthetic meanings.
Reading glass forwards into Bauhaus modernism, Walter Benjamin missed an early section of glass tradition the place the languages of glass are diversified. The e-book charts this part in 3 components. manufacturing unit data, alternate union files, and periodicals record the person brands and artisans who based glass tradition, the economic travelers who defined it, and the systematic politics of window-breaking. half , culminating in glass below glass on the Crystal Palace, reads the
glassing of our surroundings, together with the reflect, the window, and controversy around the conservatory, and their inscription in poems and novels. half 3 explores the lens, from optical toys to 'philosophical' tools because the telescope and microscope have been known.
A meditation on its background and phenomenology, Victorian Glassworlds is a poetics of glass for nineteenth-century modernity.