"What of Her Glass Without Her?" Prismatic Desire and Autoerotic Anxiety in the Art and Poetry of Dante Rossetti. / White, Rosalind.

In: The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, Vol. 28, 2019, p. 16-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Journeying through the looking glass, this paper will examine autoerotic anxiety in the works of Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The Pre-Raphaelite muse, enshrined within the metaphor of the mirror, became a prism through which the artist sought to refract his own desires. In this hermeneutic hall of mirrors feminine identity habitually recedes into the distance. At times, however, the female muse becomes a defiant mirror image that holds the artist in her reflexive thrall. Incorporating phenomena such as “the Venus effect”, Lacanian mirror theory, psychiatric photography, and the Contagious Diseases Act of 1864: I will examine how the looking glass, as a reflective, translucent medium, became inextricably intertwined with femininity. This paper draws on Isobel Armstrong’s Victorian Glassworlds and the work of pre-Raphaelite scholars J. B Bullen and J. H. Miller who first identified Rossetti’s love of crafting “mirrors of masculine desire”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-35
Number of pages20
JournalThe Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies
Volume28
StatePublished - 2019
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

ID: 32809303