The Socio-Cultural Influence of the Daguerreotype and its Representation in Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables by Kerstin Müller

The Socio-Cultural Influence of the Daguerreotype and its Representation in Hawthorne's The House…

byKerstin Müller

Kobo ebook | July 18, 2006

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Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Bayreuth (Fakultät für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft), course: American History through Literature, 23 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The subject of this anonymous poem, published in theBoston Daily Evening Transcriptin 1850, is the daguerreotype, and early form of photography from the middle of the nineteenth century. The very fact that a technology received this form of attention, being the subject of a poem, clearly states that it was of some importance and lingered in people's minds. The invention itself and its enormous popularity took place around the same decades that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote and published many of his major works, includingThe House of the Seven Gables.'Etching his text with strokes of ambiguity and dubiety, Hawthorne draws widely on figural terms from the popular discourse of the daguerreotype circulating in the print culture of the 1840s and early 1850s' (Trachtenberg 33). In the course of this paper the development of the daguerreotype, its influence on the American culture and its obvious manifestation inThe House of the Seven Gablesshall be analysed. Hawthorne used the character of Holgrave, the daguerreotypist, not only to solve the old mystery surrounding the Pyncheon family, but also to point at the art's relevance for his contemporary culture. 'Sharing features of both 'Novel' and 'Romance', of science and magic, of modernity and tradition, the daguerreotype plays a strategic role in the narrative as an emblem of the ambiguity that the tale will affirm as the superior mark of 'Romance' (Trachtenberg 31). In the sixteenth century, thecamera obscurawas the first invention to project images onto surfaces, yet not fixing it. The only way of creating a lasting image was the art of drawing and painting. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century the invention of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) revolutionized the existing world if iconography. The so-called daguerreotype marked out the possibilities and represented an entirely new perspective of portraiture. The new technique appeared first in 1839 and it was 'to extend the field of representation and to wrest an important iconographical role from drawing, in particular in the area if documentation and illustration' (Lemagny 20). Up till then, fixation and reproduction were the two large challenges. As traditional paintings were very time-consuming and costly, there were numerous attempts to use the technique of thecamera obscurain order to produce images in some sort of fixed form. [...]
Title:The Socio-Cultural Influence of the Daguerreotype and its Representation in Hawthorne's The House…Format:Kobo ebookPublished:July 18, 2006Publisher:GRIN PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:3638522415

ISBN - 13:9783638522410

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