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The Hummingbird Cabinet: A Rare and Curious History of Romantic Collectors (Hardback)
  • The Hummingbird Cabinet: A Rare and Curious History of Romantic Collectors (Hardback)
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The Hummingbird Cabinet: A Rare and Curious History of Romantic Collectors (Hardback)

(author)
£26.99
Hardback 240 Pages / Published: 17/11/2005
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"This book is . . . a romantic history of romantic collecting. It takes seriously, and by necessity shares, the tendency of romantic histories to dwell upon their own fragmentariness, on the impossibility of capturing an intact history. . . . It traces the particular ways in which objects stepped into the lives of romantic collectors, and also the ways in which the objects moved on."-from the IntroductionIn the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the activity of collecting became democratized and popularized, allowing all kinds of people to become caught up in the collecting obsessions of the period: birds, books, Napoleonic relics, botanical specimens, Egyptiana, and fossils. Judith Pascoe invites readers to contemplate the ongoing allure of romantic collections. Pascoe maintains that romanticism as a literary movement played a crucial supporting role in varied attempts by collectors of this era to fashion identities for themselves through collecting. She links the collecting craze during the period with the subsequent fetishization of romantic poets and their possessions, revealing the extent to which an ongoing fascination with material objects-with Keats's hair and Shelley's guitar, for example-helped to produce an enduring image of these poets as spiritual emissaries of a less materialistic age. In language both witty and idiosyncratic, Pascoe makes the case that the romantic period stands out as a distinct moment in collecting history, a transition between the flourishing of the Renaissance wonder cabinet and the rise of the Victorian museum.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801443626
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 595 g
Dimensions: 203 x 178 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Pascoe's book, highly enjoyable and also nicely produced, meditates on the subterranean connections between the collecting passions of Romantic-era collectors and those of the poets, lines from whose poems they often quoted. Pascoe is insightful and playful in her explorations of the way private collectors, in the age between that of the great Renaissance princely or aristocratic cabinets of curiosity and the largely Victorian one of museums, were both fascinated by curious or beautiful material objects and rather poignantly used them to create what Henry James called a 'visitable' and Vernon Lee a 'companionable' past."-Elizabeth Helsinger, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, Autumn 2006
"For Judith Pascoe there are lively and deadly forms of collecting. With wit and gravitas, she reveals how objects both defeat time and remind us of its passing. Telling the story of a unique moment in the history of collecting, Pascoe rewrites history in miniature, bringing alive the secret life of highly charged objects including Napoleon's chocolate pot and Shelley's guitar."-Marina van Zuylen, author of Monomania: The Flight from Everyday Life in Literature and Art

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