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Title: Modern romanticism : four English art writers between the wars
Author: Hilary, Kathryn Arnell
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 3002
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis assesses the work of four art writers who were active in Britain between the wars, Laurence Binyon, Paul Nash, Herbert Read and Geoffrey Grigson. In a period that has generally been viewed as dominated by a formalist criticism, their art writing exhibited a persistent romanticism that was fundamental to their engagement with modernism and was also integral to their interpretation of the role of the artist in the modem world. The main contention of this thesis is that this sensibility, far from being regressive, was a vital "- factor in their understanding and active promotion of modernist movements such as abstraction and surrealism. The main period under consideration is the inter-war years, leading up to the year 1936 as a significant moment, with the International Surrealist Exhibition in London and the publication in Axis of Geoffrey Grigson and John Piper's important article 'England's Climate'. Chapter One focuses on Laurence Binyon, a key figure bridging late nineteenth-century romanticism and the new romanticism of the mid twentieth century who, in his writing on Asian art and in his studies of eighteenth and nineteenth-century English artists, found relevant exemplars for modem artists. Chapter Two examines the art writings of Paul Nash, whose explorations into abstraction and surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s were driven by a need to find an appropriate vehicle for his own artistic expression. A study of Herbert Read's art writing between the wars in Chapter Three demonstrates the extent to which his romantic sensibility and a desire for cultural continuity with the past informed his interpretation of modem movements, most notably surrealism. The fourth chapter reassesses the role of Geoffrey Grigson, a controversial but, I would maintain, crucial figure in the 1930s, and demonstrates the importance of his contribution to the promulgation of modernism in Britain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available