This collection of essays stems from the conference ‘Nineteenth-Century Literature and Aesthetics’, which was held at the University of Milan in 2006 and organised by the editors of this volume. The interface between word and image covered in these essays embraces the fields of literature, architecture, painting, photography, music and art criticism. The authors stress the role of aesthetics in a number of contexts ranging from the early 1830s to the fin de siècle and beyond, as far as the last influences of Victorian taste on the early years of the twentieth century.
During the nineteenth century the ancient interaction between literature and aesthetics was challenged and criticised by Martineau, Rossetti, Ruskin, Pater, Wilde, Beardsley, Cameron and Carroll, among others: their awareness of the complexity of visual perception problematised the existing categories of realism, artistic conventions, discourse of description, translation and representation.
The essays cover almost a century of debate between literature and aesthetics. They focus on the intersection of word and image by emphasising transgressions in art hierarchies, forms and languages, which restyle existing categories and project them into new aesthetic dimensions beyond the conventional idea of the sister arts.