Lasting Impressions

The Legacies of Impressionism in Contemporary Culture

Jesse Matz

Columbia University Press

Lasting Impressions

Pub Date: January 2017

ISBN: 9780231164061

352 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£50.00

Pub Date: January 2017

ISBN: 9780231543057

352 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99£50.00

Lasting Impressions

The Legacies of Impressionism in Contemporary Culture

Jesse Matz

Columbia University Press

Impressionism captured the world's imagination in the late nineteenth century and remains with us today. Portraying the dynamic effects of modernity, impressionist artists revolutionized the arts and the wider culture. Impressionism transformed the very pattern of reality, introducing new ways to look at and think about the world and our experience of it. Its legacy has been felt in many major contributions to popular and high culture, from cubism and early cinema to the works of Zadie Smith and W. G. Sebald, from advertisements for Pepsi to the observations of Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell. Yet impressionism's persistence has also been a problem, a matter of inauthenticity, superficiality, and complicity in what is merely "impressionistic" about culture today.

Jesse Matz considers these two legacies—the positive and the negative—to explain impressionism's true contemporary significance. As Lasting Impressions moves through contemporary literature, painting, and popular culture, Matz explains how the perceptual role, cultural effects, and social implications of impressionism continue to generate meaning and foster new forms of creativity, understanding, and public engagement.
Lasting Impressions shrewdly explores a fascinating, strikingly under-researched topic, namely that impressionism remains a powerful cultural presence in ways that have tended to elude definition. Examining a variety of areas such as advertising, painting, music, and postcolonial and contemporary fiction, Jesse Matz argues that impressionism's seminal configuration of the project of modern representation has continued to shape cultural discourses and practices long after modernism. An extremely interesting and important work. Max Saunders, King's College London
Lasting Impressions revitalizes our understanding of impressionism by showing just how strong its legacies are. Ranging widely across painting, music, narrative, and film, Matz argues in eloquent readings that in opening a gap between the authority of our perceptions and the stories we construct from them, impressionism leads to the most vibrant and intractable aesthetic problems we inherit today. This book will be invaluable to anyone interested in the unstable divide between art and its co-optation, high culture and kitsch, real experience and artistic fraud. Tamar Katz, author of Impressionist Subjects: Gender, Interiority, and Modernist Fiction in England
Brilliant and original in its arguments, impressive in its range and command of reference, and written in an invigorating style, Lasting Impressions will be essential reading for anyone interested in impressionism, the modernist movement in the arts, and the wider question of how modern culture has imagined and reimagined the status of art and the aesthetic. Every chapter is full of rewarding insights and provocative, challenging ideas. Adam Parkes, University of Georgia
Written with the same elegance that characterizes its enduring subject, Lasting Impressions moves nimbly across time to uncover the indomitable energy with which impressionism informs new critical and transmedial configurations. By revealing how the perceptual problem of the impression continues to inspire charismatic narratives of cultural and aesthetic emergence, Jesse Matz deftly shows that impressionism remains a living mode of reflection on the very possibilities of contemporary art and literature. David James, Queen Mary, University of London and author of Modernist Futures
Lasting Impressions poses two elemental questions: what makes art relevant, and how do we know things? Matz answers these questions in this landmark study, which traces the cultural contradictions surrounding impressionism from its origins in the nineteenth century to its manifestations in the twenty-first century. Matz's capacious aesthetic history, his second study of impressionism, will be essential for scholars seeking to understand modernism's multiple legacies. Urmila Seshagiri, author of Race and the Modernist Imagination
Matz’s prose is inviting. He covers a wide range of art and literature and still probes his dialectical theory as a ground for Impressionism. Choice
[A] brilliant new book. Max Saunders, Twentieth-Century Literature
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. First and Lasting: Histories for the Tache
2. The Impressionist Advertisement
3. Photogénie from Renoir to Gance to Renoir
4. The "Image of Africa" from Conrad to Achebe to Adichie
5. Impressionist Fraud: Klein, Saito, Frey
6. Contemporary Impressions and Kitsch Aesthetics: Kinkade/Doig
7. The Pseudo-Impressionist Novel: Sebald, Tóibín, Cunningham
8. Thinking Medium: The Rhetoric of Popular Cognition
Conclusion
Notes
Index

About the Author

Jesse Matz is the William P. Rice Professor of English and Literature at Kenyon College. He is the author of The Modern Novel: A Short Introduction (2003) and Literary Impressionism and Modernist Aesthetics (2001).