Victorian Photography and Literary Nostalgia
"Photography symbolized the possibility of creating an ideal archive to many Victorians, an archive in which no moment or experience need be forgotten. This seductive idea had particular appeal for a generation of writers preoccupied with their own mortality and the erosion of tradition in an age distracted by the ever-changing spectacle of the present. many early photographers and publishers shared this temporal anxiety and the nostalgic archival proclivities it induced, and these mutual preoccupations resulted in the production of the early photographically illustrated books, verse anthologies, lantern shows, guide books, magazines and cartes de visite collections which are the subject of this book. Groth argues that these various early forms of photlographic illustration reflected and contributed to a growing alignment of reading with taking a moment out of time, and of literary experience with the nostalgic reinventions of an emerging heritage culture. Nostalgia operates both creatively and regressively in this context, providing the catalyst for new cultural forms and memory practices, whilst nurturing an intrinsically conservative desire to find a refuge from the exigencies of the present in an increasingly idealized world of tradition, family, nature, and community; a world where time appeared, for a moment at least, to stand still"--Dust jacket.
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