Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America by Wendy Bellion (review)

Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America by Wendy... R EVIEWS EDITED BY SEAN P. HARVEY AND LUCIA McMAHON Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America. By Wendy Bellion. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011. Pp. 351. Cloth, $45.00.) Reviewed by Justin Clark From the trompe l'oeil paintings of Charles Willson Peale to P. T. Barnum's Feejee Mermaid, commercial illusions meant more than entertainment to nineteenth-century Americans. As James Cook and Michael Leja have demonstrated, these playful exercises in deception helped Americans confront the more serious financial and social frauds of the age. In focusing her discerning gaze on the ``optical culture of pleasure, play and deceit'' of early national Philadelphia, Wendy Bellion reveals another important use for commercial illusions: the formation of ``citizen spectators,'' vigilant for political impostures that might threaten the new republic (4). Metaphors of vision dominated political rhetoric during and after the Revolution. Just as Patriot pamphleteers urged the public to keep a sharp eye out for closet Loyalists, so Federalists and anti-Federalists accused one another of plotting to deceive the public. Bellion seamlessly weaves contemporary political rhetoric into insightful chapter-length analyses of sensory illusions such as Peale's famous Staircase Group and the Invisible Lady. Collectively, these http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America by Wendy Bellion (review)

Journal of the Early Republic, Volume 35 (3) – Aug 18, 2015

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-pennsylvania-press/citizen-spectator-art-illusion-and-visual-perception-in-early-national-RfIa6UfmcN
Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

R EVIEWS EDITED BY SEAN P. HARVEY AND LUCIA McMAHON Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America. By Wendy Bellion. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011. Pp. 351. Cloth, $45.00.) Reviewed by Justin Clark From the trompe l'oeil paintings of Charles Willson Peale to P. T. Barnum's Feejee Mermaid, commercial illusions meant more than entertainment to nineteenth-century Americans. As James Cook and Michael Leja have demonstrated, these playful exercises in deception helped Americans confront the more serious financial and social frauds of the age. In focusing her discerning gaze on the ``optical culture of pleasure, play and deceit'' of early national Philadelphia, Wendy Bellion reveals another important use for commercial illusions: the formation of ``citizen spectators,'' vigilant for political impostures that might threaten the new republic (4). Metaphors of vision dominated political rhetoric during and after the Revolution. Just as Patriot pamphleteers urged the public to keep a sharp eye out for closet Loyalists, so Federalists and anti-Federalists accused one another of plotting to deceive the public. Bellion seamlessly weaves contemporary political rhetoric into insightful chapter-length analyses of sensory illusions such as Peale's famous Staircase Group and the Invisible Lady. Collectively, these

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Aug 18, 2015

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off