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Material TransgressionsBeyond Romantic Bodies, Genders, Things$
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Kate Singer, Ashley Cross, and Suzanne Barnett

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621778

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621778.001.0001

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Vibrant Art on the Grand Tour in Anna Jameson’s Diary of an Ennuyée

Vibrant Art on the Grand Tour in Anna Jameson’s Diary of an Ennuyée

(p.107) Chapter Four Vibrant Art on the Grand Tour in Anna Jameson’s Diary of an Ennuyée
Material Transgressions

Holly Gallagher

Liverpool University Press

Anna Jameson’s Diary of an Ennuyée, first published in 1826, follows an unnamed narrator, a dispirited female traveller, who moves through the locales of France and Italy, surveying the objects of the Grand Tour. In the reflective space of her diary, the ennuyée begins to synthesize this material world she moves in, to understand herself as part of that world of objects, and to challenge the art viewers and artists who instead perceive materiality from a distance. Following Jane Bennett’s proposition of the ‘active, earthy, not-quite-human capaciousness’ of matter, this essay argues that the diarist recognizes and contemplates the unexpected vibrancy of the materials that she encounters. The narrator demonstrates that art writing should be more than an absolute formal assessment of quality; instead, she shows how artifacts reveal their capacity to unsettle human viewers in unexpected ways and to shape networks composed of things from diverse spaces and times.

Keywords:   Anna Jameson, Jane Bennett, Italy, Grand Tour, Art, Ruins

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