Beginning in the late nineteenth century, French visual artists began incorporating Japanese forms into their work. The style, known as Japonisme, spanned the arts.
Identifying a general critical move from a literal to a more metaphoric understanding and presentation of Japonisme, Pamela A. Genova applies a theory of "aesthetic translation" to a broad response to Japanese aesthetics within French culture. She crosses the borders of genre, field, and form to explore the relationship of Japanese visual art to French prose writing of the mid- to late 1800s. Writing Japonisme focuses on the work of Edmond de Goncourt, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Émile Zola, and Stéphane Mallarmé as they witnessed, incorporated, and participated in an unprecedented cultural exchange between France and Japan, as both creators and critics. Genova’s original research opens new perspectives on a fertile and influential period of intercultural dynamics.
"Genova has written a superb book that is at once thoroughly scholarly and eminently readable. With its thorough documentation, rich detail, and nuanced analyses... this study deserves the widest possible readership." —CHOICE
"Writing Japonisme is an ambitious book, and one that deserves to be read again and again. Genova’s clear prose makes it a pleasure to read, and her grasp of the multiple fields of study that comprise Japonisme is impressive. This book has opened a door to further exploration of the subject in other fields as well; the recurring theme of Japoniste influence on interior design might be one of them... there is much room for continuing the excellent work that Genova has initiated here." —Journal of Japonisme