Scapeland : writing the landscape from Diderot's Salons to by Gillian B. Pierce

By Gillian B. Pierce

Scapeland: Writing the panorama from Diderot's Salons to the Postmodern Museum is a comparative, interdisciplinary research tracing theories of the chic and a heritage of spectatorship from Diderot's eighteenth-century French Salons, via paintings feedback by means of Baudelaire and Breton, to Jean-François Lyotard's postmodern exhibition Les Immatériaux. within the Salons, an exploration of the painted panorama turns into an come upon with either the bounds of illustration and the endless chances of fiction. Baudelaire and Breton discover comparable limits of their paintings, set opposed to the backdrop of the trendy urban. For them, as for Diderot, the try to render visible gadgets in narrative language results in the improvement of recent literary varieties and issues. Lyotard's idea of the "postmodern museum" frames the chic stumble upon, once more, in phrases that expressly evoke Diderot's verbal rendering of painted areas as a private promenade. in response to Lyotard, Diderot "ouvre, par écrit, les surfaces des tableaux comme les portes d'une exposition.. . . [il] abolit . . . l'opposition de los angeles nature et de los angeles tradition, de l. a. réalité de l'image, du quantity et de los angeles surface." examining the literary creation of those 4 writers along their paintings feedback, Scapeland considers narrative responses to paintings as resourceful assertions of human presence opposed to the impersonal international of items

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Revolutionized set design, replacing architecture with landscapes, and sets of a formal, idealized kind with Picturesque and Sublime scenery. For most of the century the theatres had relied on stock scenery, generalised backgrounds for the far more important action of the drama. 48 Diderot, by imagining himself in the scenes of Loutherbourg’s landscapes, is therefore participating in them just as the actors at Drury Lane would have—although he uses them as a backdrop for a drama of his own invention.

The term “discours” does not refer simply to written discourse, and the figural is not simply another way of speaking about the visual dimension of language, although there are passages in the book where this does seem to be the case. 68 But Lyotard’s project is to show how the figural inhabits language itself as the other of representation. An early defini- 66 Victor Burgin, The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press International, 1986), 176. 67 Jean-François Lyotard, Discours, figure (Paris: Éditions Klincksieck, 1971), 31.

T. M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), 363. 83 Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, “La Vérité sublime,” Po&Sie 38 (January 1987): 95. 50 Scapeland describes this movement from object of nature to the activity of the mind as follows: Who would apply the term “sublime” even to shapeless mountain masses towering one above the other in wild disorder, with their pyramids of ice, or to the dark tempestuous ocean, or such like things? ”85 In the act of subreption, the sublime moment, which temporarily escapes narrative through a “breaking of the mind,” is recuperated by the viewing subject through a narrative of his or her own mental superiority.

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