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Haunted Museum: Longing, Travel, and the Art - Romance Tradition [Paperback]

Jonah Siegel


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Book Description

July 25 2005 Princeton Paperbacks

For centuries, southern Europe, and Italy in particular, has offered writers far more than an evocative setting for important works of literature. The voyage south has been an integral part of the imagination of inspiration. Haunted Museum is a groundbreaking, in-depth look at fantasies of Italy from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, focusing on a literary tradition Jonah Siegel terms the "art romance"--the fantastic voyage south understood as the register of an ambivalent desire for art and a heightened experience of reality.


Siegel argues that Italy's allure derives not only from its celebrated promise of unique natural beauty and prized antiquities, but from the opportunity it offers writers to place themselves in relation to a web of prior accounts of travel to the native land of genius. Beginning with Goethe as the founding figure of the tradition, Haunted Museum moves from a rich reframing of literature from the first half of the nineteenth century--including new readings of works by Byron, de Staël, Barrett Browning, and others--to an ambitious examination of Henry James's well-known engagement with Europe, newly understood as a response to this important literary legacy. Readings of works by Freud, Forster, Mann, and Proust demonstrate the longevity of the tradition of looking to Italy for the representation of desires as impossible to satisfy as they are to deny.



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"Haunted Museum is a groundbreaking, in-depth look at fantasies of Italy from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, focusing on a literary tradition Jonah Siegel terms the 'art romance'--the fantastic voyage south understood as the register of an ambivalent desire for art and a heightened experience of reality."--Julien Desrochers, Fabula



"Haunted Museum offers a wide-ranging and imaginatively wrought genealogy of narratives surrounding voyages to the South of culture by canonical European and Anglo-America authors, reaching from Goethe through Forster, Proust, Mann, and Freud."--Jennifer Scappettone, Modern Philology

From the Inside Flap

"This is a remarkably incisive and suggestive work of criticism, which transfigures an outwardly familiar literary and cultural history. As Siegel brings home the importance of the 'art romance' to a great range of literary careers, from Goethe through James, Freud, Proust, and Mann, he also makes the genre seem a crucial force in the shaping of modern desire."--James Eli Adams, Cornell University

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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