Fuseli's Milton Gallery: 'Turning Readers into Spectators'

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, Dec 21, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 292 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
Fuseli's Milton Gallery challenges the antipictorial theories and canons of Romantic period culture. Between 1791 and 1799 Swiss painter Henry Fuseli turned Milton's Paradise Lost into a series of 40 pictures. Fuseli's project and other literary galleries developed within an expanding market for illustrated books and a culture of anthologization used to reading British and other 'classics' in terms of the visualization of key moments in the text. Thus transformed into repositories of virtual pictures literary texts became ideal sources of subjects for painters. Illustrating British literature was a way of inventing a national 'grand style' to fit the needs of a consumer society. Cale calls into question the separation of reading and viewing as autonomous aesthetic practices. To 'turn readers into spectators' meant to place readers and reading within the dizzying world of associations offered by an emerging culture of exhibitions. Attending to the energized reading effects developed by Fuseli's Gallery we rediscover a new side of the Romantic imagination which is not the solitary mentalist experience preferred by Wordsworth and Coleridge, nor divorced from the senses, let alone a refuge from the crowded public spaces of the Revolutionary period. Rather, Fuseli's embodied aesthetic exemplifies the associationist psychology espoused by the radical circle convening around the publisher Joseph Johnson, including Joseph Priestley and Mary Wollstonecraft. This book analyses exhibitions as important sites of Romantic sociability and one of many interrelated mediums for the literature, debates and controversies of the Revolutionary period.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Turning Readers into Spectators
1 The Literary Galleries and the Field of Art
Printed Text at the Galleries
Visual Narratives
Miltons Allegory and the Politics of Seeing
5 The Plot of Adam and Eve
List of Pictures in the Milton Gallery The Times 28 May 1799

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Luisa Calè is a Lecturer in the School of English and Humanities at Birkbeck College, University of London. She studied at the Universities of Rome 'La Sapienza', Genoa, and Oxford, and was a Junior Research Fellow at University College Oxford.

Bibliographic information