'All ocean is her own': the image of the sea and the identity of the maritime nation in eighteenth-century British art

Quilley, Geoffrey (1998) 'All ocean is her own': the image of the sea and the identity of the maritime nation in eighteenth-century British art. In: Cubbitt, Geoffrey (ed.) Imagining Nations. York Studies in Cultural History . Manchester University Press, Manchester, pp. 132-152. ISBN 9780719054600

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Abstract

Benedict Anderson's proposed definition of the nation as 'an imagined political community' admits a potential for the functioning of non-verbal and non-literary signs and discourses in the construction of the idea of 'nation'. The conclusion that the nation must be at some level imagined begs the question of what media and cultural channels provide the means for such an imagining to take hold. Bernard Smith's book "Imagining the Pacific" plays on the linguistic proximity of the words 'imagine' and 'image' to suggest the eighteenth-century western imagery of geographical discovery in the Pacific operated at the centre of an hermeneutic circle in which the imagery was informed by pre-existing values of western cultural imagination about the Pacific, but served to provide a detached 'scientific' appraisal, an apparently objective image, of the newly discovered regions, upon which the imagination could feed. It is the premise of this essay that the pictorial image of navigation and the sea functioned similarly in imagining the nation in eighteenth-century Britain, giving visual form to a growing sense of political, economic and cultural community, but simultnaeously stimulating its growth.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Art History
Depositing User: Geoffrey Quilley
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:23
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2012 11:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25712
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