Cultures of Collecting

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John Elsner, Roger Cardinal
Reaktion Books, 1994 - Antiques & Collectibles - 312 pages
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This book traces the psychology, history and theory of the compulsion to collect, focusing not just on the normative collections of the Western canon, but also on collections that reflect a fascination with the "Other" and the marginal – the ephemeral, exotic, or just plain curious.

There are essays on the Neoclassical architect Sir John Soane, Sigmund Freud and Kurt Schwitters, one of the masters of collage. Others examine imperialist encounters with remote cultures – the consquitadors in America in the sixteenth century, and the British in the Pacific in the eighteenth – and the more recent collectors of popular culture, be they of Swatch watches, Elvis Presley memorabilia or of packaging and advertising.

With essays by Jean Baudrillard, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Nicholas Thomas, Mieke Bal, John Forrester, John Windsor, Naomi Schor, Susan Stewart, Anthony Alan Shelton, John Elsner, Roger Cardinal and an interview with Robert Opie.

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The Cultures of collecting

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The editors have assembled a series of essays on the human propensity to collect and organize whose very diversity of style makes it hard to decide of what value it would be to most libraries. Written ... Read full review


An Interview with
Identity Parades John Windsor
The Case of Kurt Schwitters
A Narrative Perspective on Collecting
Cooks Pacific Voyages
The Collections of the Austrian
The House and Museum
Renaissance Collections and
Death and Life in that Order in the Works of Charles
Freud and Collecting John Forrester 224
Collecting Paris Naomi Schor 252

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About the author (1994)

Roger Cardinal is Professor of Literary and Visual Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

John Elsner is Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

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