Writing Japonisme

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3221-4

Paper Text – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3219-1

E-book – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3220-7
Publication Date
April 2016
Page Count
344 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Writing Japonisme

Aesthetic Translation in Nineteenth-Century French Prose
Pamela A. Genova

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.

About the Author

PAMELA A. GENOVA is David Ross Boyd Professor of French at the University of Oklahoma.


"In Writing Japonisme Pamela Genova provides stunning new insights about the nineteenth-century French reception of Japanese culture.  A model of interart poetics, the book engages with Japonisme not just as a visual trope, but as a creative and critical model that bridges the visual and the discursive through the concept of 'aesthetic translation.' This erudite and engaging book belongs on the shelf of all those interested in Japonisme, nineteenth-century French studies, and transmedial experimentation."—Elizabeth Emery, Montclair State University

"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

"Genova’s study is a thorough and erudite account of Franco-Japanese intercultural and intermedial interactions during the heyday of Japonisme, and shows convincingly how Japonisme continues to shape those same interactions today; it should be read by all those interested in Franco-Japanese relations, nineteenth-century French literature, and the beguiling products of intermedial experimentation." —Japanese Studies

"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