The Pre-Raphaelites and Orientalism

Language and Cognition in Remediations of the East

Eleonora Sasso

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Investigates the latent and manifest traces of the East in Pre-Raphaelite literature and culture

The Pre-Raphaelites and Orientalism: Language and Cognition in Remediations of the East redefines the task of interpreting the East in the late nineteenth century. Weaving together literary, linguistic and cognitive analyses of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, illustrations and writings, socio-cultural investigations of the Orient, and rhetorical considerations about Arabian forms of writing, the terms of critical debate surrounding the East are redefined. It takes as a starting point Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) in order to investigate the latent and manifest traces of the East in Pre-Raphaelite literature and culture. As the book demonstrates, the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates appeared to be the most eligible representatives of a profoundly conservative manifestation of the Orient, of its mystic aura, criminal underworld, and feminine sensuality, or to put it into Arabic terms, of its aja’ib (marvels), mutalibun (treasure-hunters) and hur al-ayn (femmes fatales).

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1. ‘[S]elling old lamps for new ones’: D. G. Rossetti’s Restructuring of Oriental Schemas
2. Toward a Corporeal Orientalism: Foregrounding Arabian Erotic Figures in Algernon Swinburne and Aubrey Beardsley
3. The Cognitive Process of Parable: John Ruskin,William Morris and the Oriental Lure of the Forbidden
4. Consumers of Intoxicating Fruits and Elixirs: The Cognitive Grammar of Christina Rossetti’s and Ford Madox Ford’s Oriental Fairy Tales

In her theoretically alert and aesthetically responsive study, Eleonora Sasso writes compellingly about the Pre-Raphaelites' use of Orientalism. Strikingly independent in its insights, the book suggests how important Eastern culture was for the Pre-Raphaelites. New perceptions abound on every stylishly written page of this fine book.

Michael O'Neill, Durham University
Eleonora Sasso is a Lecturer in English with the University "G. d'Annunzio" of Chieti-Pescara. She is the author of Victorian Dominatrices: Women of Arcane Power in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Arachne Publishing, 2012), How the Writings of William Morris Shaped the Literary Style of Tennyson, Swinburne, Gissing, and Yeats (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2011) and William Morris Between Utopia and Medievalism (Arachne, 2007).

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