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City of Second SightNineteenth-Century Boston and the Making of American Visual Culture$
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Justin T. Clark

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638737

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638737.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CSO for personal use (for details see www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 19 May 2019

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
City of Second Sight
Author(s):

Justin T. Clark

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638737.003.0001

The introduction outlines the basic narrative of the book: how the Puritanical logocentrism of some of North America’s first English settlers yielded to the democratic ocularcentrism of today. More than any other city, Boston reveals how this process took place. A culture of spectatorship emerged just as the urban visual environment itself became a spiritually charged illustrated text, drawing the competing gazes of art-admiring intellectuals, literate middle-class Protestants, and increasingly socially independent laborers. While The Hub was far from the only nineteenth-century city to “give not the human senses room enough” (as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it), it was there that a liberated faculty of sight first promised escape from the competition, congestions, and social divisions of urban life.

Keywords:   City planning, History of Boston (Massachusetts), Visual culture, 19th-century United States, Transcendentalism, Spiritualism

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