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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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(p.198) Epilogue
City of Second Sight

Justin T. Clark

University of North Carolina Press

By the end of the antebellum period, Bostonians’ habit of idealizing the urban landscape was yielding to the new transatlantic fashion of realism. Rather than idealize the city, realist writers and artists such as Winslow Homer documented it in detached and comprehensive detail. The declining commitment to a collective and idealized way of seeing can be read in a variety of domains, including art criticism, psychology, and even ophthalmology. The epilogue explains the rise of realism in Boston in terms of the development of middle class cultural institutions, suburbanization and geographic stratification. Less concerned with how Bostonians saw, a new generation of reformers and censors (such as the Watch and Ward Society) became exclusively preoccupied with what Bostonians saw.

Keywords:   Watch and Ward Society, Suburbanization, Visual psychology, Realism, Winslow Homer

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