Misère by Linda Nochlin
The Visual Representation of Misery in the 19th Century

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This is a short book, and rushed in places. Nochlin pans a “farcical” exhibition on prostitution...What endures in this final book, though, is a fixation with the past as a portal to present misères, whether persistent gender inequalities or economic disparities as extreme as those of the industrial age.
-NY Times

Synopsis

An incisive new piece of scholarship from renowned art historian Linda Nochlin tackling the concept of “misere,” or social misery, as it was reflected in the work of writers, artists, and philosophers in the nineteenth century

In Misere, famed art historian Linda Nochlin reveals how, in the new form of civilization produced by the Industrial Revolution, in which the phenomenal growth of wealth occurred alongside an expansion of squalor, writers and artists of the nineteenth century used their craft to come to terms with what were often new and unprecedented social, material, and psychological circumstances.

Nochlin charts the phenomenon of misery as it was represented in the popular and fine arts of the nineteenth century. Examining work by some of the great intellects of the era―including Dickens, Carlyle, Engels, Hugo, Buret, Disraeli, and de Tocqueville―as well as relative unknowns who were searching for ways to depict new realities, Nochlin draws from a range of sources that include paintings, prints, newspaper illustrations, photography, and a variety of texts: from the account of a day in the life of an eight- year- old mine worker girl to the foundational texts of the field such as Friedrich Engels’s The Condition of the Working Class in England.

80+ illustrations
 

About Linda Nochlin

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Linda Nochlin is Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art Emerita at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Her publications include The Body in Pieces; Women, Art and Power; The Politics of Vision; Representing Women; Courbet; and Women Artists. Her essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" is considered one of the most influential texts in modern art history.
 
Published April 10, 2018 by Thames & Hudson. 160 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography.
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Critic reviews for Misère
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jason Farago on May 18 2018

This is a short book, and rushed in places. Nochlin pans a “farcical” exhibition on prostitution...What endures in this final book, though, is a fixation with the past as a portal to present misères, whether persistent gender inequalities or economic disparities as extreme as those of the industrial age.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Frances Spalding on Aug 08 2018

Misère, especially its discussion of Théodore Gericault and Francisco Goya, forms a fascinating coda to a great career.

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