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Quaint, Exquisite – Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan

Grace E. Lavery


From the opening of trade with Britain in the 1850s, Japan occupied a unique and contradictory place in the Victorian imagination, regarded as both a rival empire and a cradle of exquisite beauty. This book explores the enduring impact of this dramatic encounter, showing how the rise of Japan led to a major transformation of Western aesthetics at the dawn of globalization. The book provides a radical new genealogy of aesthetic experience in modernity. It argues that the global popularity of Japanese art in the late nineteenth century reflected an imagined universal standard of taste that Kant ... More

Keywords: Japan, modernity, aesthetic experience, Japanese art, Mikado, haiku, Madame Butterfly, katana sword, symbolic power

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780691183626
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2020 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691183626.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Grace E. Lavery, author
University of California, Berkeley