"The Germ"

Origins and Progenies of Pre-Raphaelite Interart Aesthetics

by Paola Spinozzi (Author) Elisa Bizzotto (Author)
©2012 Monographs XIV, 284 Pages


It was in The Germ (1850), the first British magazine with an aesthetic manifesto, that the interart theories of the Pre-Raphaelites took shape. The thirteen young contributors advocated an ethical approach to art while at the same time acknowledging self-referentiality and meta-discoursivity. They defined the specificity of each mode of artistic expression while exploring the dynamic between word and image, moving from realism towards Symbolism and even anticipating Surrealism. The Aesthetes and Decadents were fascinated; the Modernists felt challenged.
Later in the twentieth century a succession of reappraisals transformed the Pre-Raphaelites into a well-marketed group of eccentrics, but neglected the complexity of their cross-cultural, verbal/visual art. This study aims to explain why claims about the autonomy and interrelatedness of the arts, expressed in the form of a provocative monthly journal, proved so influential as to be a source of inspiration for the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, The Century Guild Hobby Horse, The Yellow Book, The Savoy, and even for Modernist periodicals. Often regarded as a juvenile venture, The Germ was in fact a laboratory for expressive forms, themes, and ideas that had an enormous impact on the history of British culture.


XIV, 284
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2012 (June)
The Century Guild Hobby Horse The Yellow Book The Savoy Modernist periodicals The Germ as the prototypical model for the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. XXVI, 284 pp. 13 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Paola Spinozzi (Author) Elisa Bizzotto (Author)

Paola Spinozzi is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Ferrara. Her research includes an investigation of ekphrasis, illustration, and calligraphy in the work of William Morris, D. G. Rossetti, Walter Crane, and A. S. Byatt as well as a comparative study of scientific and creative writing. She is the author of Sopra il reale. Osmosi interartistiche nel Preraffaellitismo e nel Simbolismo inglese (2005) and the co-editor of Origins as a Paradigm in the Sciences and in the Humanities (2010) and Discourses and Narrations in the Biosciences (2011). Elisa Bizzotto is Lecturer in English Literature at IUAV University of Venice. Her main research focuses on Victorian and late Victorian literature and culture, and she has written extensively on Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee, Aubrey Beardsley, and fin-de-siècle culture. She is the author of La mano e l’anima. Il ritratto immaginario fin de siècle (2001) and co-edited, with Paola Spinozzi, the first Italian edition of The Germ (2008).


Title: "The Germ"