Textual Vision

Timothy Erwin

Augustan Design and the invention of Eighteenth-Century British Culture

308 pages
ISBN 9781611485691

A stylish critique of literary attitudes towards painting, Textual Vision explores the simultaneous rhetorical formation and empirical fragmentation of visual reading in enlightenment Britain. Beginning with an engaging treatment of Pope's Rape of the Lock, Timothy Erwin takes the reader on a guided tour of the pointed allusion, apt illustration, or the subtle appeal to the mind's eye within a wide array of genres and texts, before bringing his linked case studies to a surprising close with the fiction of Jane Austen.

At once carefully researched, theoretically informed and highly imaginative, Textual Vision situates textual vision at the cultural crossroads of ancient pictura-poesis doctrine and modernist aesthetics. It provides reliable interpretive poles for reading enlightenment imagery, offers vivid new readings of familiar works, and promises to invigorate the study of Restoration and eighteenth-century visual culture.


"Throughout this book, Erwin's expertise in different aspects of eighteenth-century visual and literary culture is impressive, and he should be commended for so deftly tying together the rise of professional writing with academic debates in the fine arts and the emergence of a popular British culture. Textual Vision will be of particular interest to those investigating the relationship between word and image or the paragone of painting and poetry, and it stands as a testament to how the scholarship of art history and literature can inform one another."
-K.L.H. Wells, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Eighteenth-Century Fiction (29.3), Spring 2017

"Erwin means to trace the tension between disegno and colore (i.e., drawing and color, a binary devised in art theory) in literature from Dryden and Pope through Addison, Johnson, Burke, and the birth of the novel (a final chapter treats Jane Austen). In classic-to-romantic fashion, color wins."

About the author:

Timothy Erwin is professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and former chair of Cultural Studies.

Also available in ebook, ISBN: 978-1-61148-570-7, Price: $47.50 & paper, ISBN: 978-1-61148-665-0, Price: $49.99


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