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March 2014

Walton is also the author of Eve's Proud Descendants: Four Women Writers and Republican Politics in Nineteenth-Century France Stanford University Press, , a biographical study and historical analysis of four female literary figures, including George Sand, who rescripted republicanism to include a public role for women by offering an egalitarian alternative to the patriarchal family and the gendered separation of spheres.

NOT WHAT I EXPECTED... (First Impression of French Classes - Study Abroad)

France at the Crystal Palace: Bourgeois Taste and Artisan Manufacture in the Nineteenth Century University of California Press, - argues that bourgeois consumer preference for stylish and tasteful goods contributed to the persistence of handicraft manufacturing in France during the Industrial Revolution.

She has also published numerous articles and book chapters on nineteenth-century French social, cultural, and women's history, and on Franco-American cultural relations in the twentieth century. List of Publications.

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The main figure is displayed as uncouth with his arms and legs sprawled almost as though he is off-balance. His eyebrows are raised, enhancing his wide-eyed, open-mouthed facial expression. Indeed, what emerges when we look beyond the often self-assured cosmopolitan circulation of Cassatt, Sargent, and Whistler is a larger identity construction that frequently performed cultural innocence.

American artists, writers, and travelers sought to turn the liability of lacking a culture and tradition into an asset of allowing for unencumbered experience and being unaffected by the weight of history.

The Julia Child Project: The Cold War, France, and the Politics of Food - WGBH Openvault

In the context of the thousands of American art students who sought study in France between the end of the Civil War and the start of World War I alongside many other American travelers abroad, constructions of American cultural belatedness became a dominant discourse through performances of innocence.

When enacted by Americans in France, this kind of character construction led Gilbert Parker , a Canadian critic for the London Independent , to suggest in that the best place to understand American culture was not in the United States, but, rather, in Paris. To claim innocence—as an individual, as a culture, or as a nation—is paradoxical. With its manifold contradictions, what compelled Americans abroad to feed into a cultural innocence? The enactment of innocence appeared in ways that seemed incongruous with the increasingly complex layers of American history.

It has been going on now for three hundred years. My research suggests that after the Civil War, tropes of innocence were declared more vocally and in different ways than before it. In attempting to re-construct early nineteenth-century notions of their own culture, Americans parodied them. Knowing postures of innocence sought to remedy a culture shattered by war, divisive financial interests, and apprehensions about the place of the United States on the world stage.

A. Whitney Walton

Many American writers, critics, and artists attempted to enact an impossible cultural return from these anxieties. Discourses of American innocence in France were both defensive and offensive gestures of national insularity within an international setting. On the one hand, these performances seemed to protect American culture from Gallicization and the importation of European culture, as American art was increasingly judged to be too international for local tastes.


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As Mrs. Within Franco-American artistic exchange, characteristics of simplicity, newness, innocence, and an affiliation with nature oscillated between being treated as assets and as liabilities. In , American painter Anna Klumpke crowned her idol and partner French painter Rosa Bonheur and photographed her Fig.


  1. 50 Walks in Sussex (AA 50 Walks Series).
  2. Whitney Walton.
  3. Belatedness, Artlessness and American Culture in fin-de-siècle France.
  4. Related books and articles!
  5. Index of Articles and Reviews in Volume 37;
  6. Deadly Ambition.
  7. Paedagogica Historica. International Journal of the History of Education 51 (2015), 3.
  8. In following the elder French artist, who had been actively submitting paintings to the Paris Salon des Beaux-Arts since the s, Klumpke exhibited in the Salon every year between and With her nod to the role that the American West played in her late career, Bonheur participated in this transnational construction of American innocence. These knowing postures capitalized on earlier mythologies of America as a young nation and on French narratives about American culture.

    This photograph suggests the context-specific nature of performances of innocence. As Bonheur and Klumpke declared their alliance, they capitalized on ideas of the elder Old World and the younger New World. They exoticized the American West while safely ensconced in the academic Parisian art world. Discourses of cultural innocence allowed American artists and writers in late nineteenth-century France to construct their artistic projects as variously individual, modern, and national.

    Far from resisting them, American artists cultivated the tropes of national cultural insularity and provincialism that circulated internationally. Furthermore, the artists were savvy in this positioning, as they directly participated in and drew from international examples and discourses. In this way, a strategic idea of American cultural innocence contributed to a transnational art network. Research on this complex narrative of ambivalence, posture, parody, and paradox offers a new contribution to transnational art history, intellectual history, and to the study of late nineteenth century American art and culture in Paris.

    The case studies I am researching mark points of rupture within several different performed aspects of American artistic innocence in Paris, in which the constructed nature of these tropes becomes apparent, and the mythologies of innocence are unraveled.