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Grant number like: FA-55937-11

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Neil Finlay McWilliam
Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2011 – 6/30/2011

The Aesthetics of Reaction: Tradition, Identity and the Visual Arts in France, 1900-1914

This study examines the impact of conservative politics and cultural commentary on the visual arts in France before World War One. Exploring critical and historical writing, as well as the ideas and output of painters and sculptors during the period, it re-frames debates around modernity, national identity, and the role of tradition to offer a new reading of the issues at stake in artistic innovation--and resistance to it--during a period of resurgent nationalism in France. Drawing on wide-ranging analysis of right-wing journals and reviews, as well as archival material, the study focuses on artists and intellectuals close to the royalist movement Action fran├žaise, as well as nationalist republicans and conservative Catholics. It examines artists' response to traditionalist ideas and analyzes the theoretical importance of cultural critique in the formulation of reactionary thought around 1900.