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Title: Four Critics : Modernist Sculpture and Literary Form
Author: Williams, Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 266X
Awarding Body: Leeds Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is concerned with readings of sculpture in Britain between 1900 and 1960, particularly by Ezra Pound, Adrian Stokes, Herbert Read and John Berger. The ideas on sculpture of each of the critics are examined in individual chapters. The study concentrates on texts that illustrate the diversity of literary forms in which accounts of sculpture were constructed. Those discussed include memoir, travel writing, biography, journalism and the novel. The study examines the literary and art historical traditions that had a bearing on the thought and methods of the four critics and identifies common themes in their writing. These include the figure of the sculptor, sculpture and memory, sculpture and war. Its central concern, however, is with the literary forms and emplotment of their narratives. The key findings of the thesis indicate that whereas some critics modified longestablished genres others experimented with innovative literary and visual forms. It is argued that these choices were affected by the polemical intentions of their writing. They raided the history of art to construct lineages for contemporary art and to propose new forms of sculptural and literary production. Other factors that had a bearing on the form, emplotment and language of their accounts - the late institutionalisation of art history in Britain, the need to differentiate their writing from past and contemporary aesthetic, literary and art historical traditions, politics, their complicity with sculptors and connections with each other - are identified. Their writing, it is argued, constituted a powerful story about modernist sculpture in which carving, abstraction, the engagement with contemporary life and a highly individualised notion of the artist came to the fore.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available