Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Byron and Japan

First up was a short book, Byron and Women Novelists by Caroline Franklin. Good: it featured one of my favourite literary bad boys, Byron of course. Bad: I don't like any literary analysis featuring the word "intertextuality". Good again: the last 6 pages were references so I didn't feel obliged to read them. Also good: finding out how Byron's scandalous affair with his half-sister rebounded later on the innocent writer, Harriet Beecher Stowe!

Shashin: Nineteenth-Century Japanese Studio Photography was much more interesting. Who knew there was such a craze for photography in Yokohama after 1853? The craze was partly fuelled by tourists buying views of Japan which they collected in beautiful albums to show off to their friends. Originally the photographers were Western, but then the Japanese took it up as well. The photographs in the book were beautifully hand-tinted, sometimes using brushes with a single hair. Some of the women in the book look much more modern and natural than their counterparts in Victorian photographs from Britain. An interesting book about a little-known aspect of photography.

Day 292; Book 280

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