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Aesthetic Rivalries

Word and Image in France, 1880–1926


Linda Goddard

This book explores interaction and competition between painting and literature in France, from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, offering new readings of works by key figures including Paul Gauguin, Stéphane Mallarmé, Pablo Picasso and André Gide. Combining close visual and literary analysis with a broader examination of critical discourse, the volume uncovers a mutual but often contentious exchange of ideas. The author challenges habits of periodisation, drawing attention to the links between Symbolist and Cubist criticism. Issues such as the debate about ‘literary’ painting, the role of art criticism and artists’ writings, as well as themes such as newspapers and gold, alchemy and forgery, are shown to connect the two centuries. In examining how the rejection of mimesis in painting affected literary responses to the visual arts, the book explores a shift in power from the verbal to the visual in the early decades of the twentieth century.


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Acknowledgements vii List of Illustrations ix Introduction Interchange and Rivalry between the Arts 1 Chapter 1 Hierarchies of the Senses in Symbolist Criticism 17 Chapter 2 A Creative Conspiracy: Gauguin’s Noa Noa 65 Chapter 3 Art in Theory: Word and Image in Early Cubist Criticism 113 Chapter 4 Mallarmé, Picasso and the Aesthetic of the Newspaper 163 Chapter 5 Gide’s Les Faux-monnayeurs: From Alchemy to Forgery 197 Coda Visual and Verbal Simultaneity in the Early Twentieth Century 233 Bibliography 247 Index 265

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