Defense Date

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Frankel

Second Advisor

Dr. Catherine Roach

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Fine

Fourth Advisor

Mr Robert Megenck

Abstract

This dissertation, G.A.M.E., refashions James McNeill Whistler’s book, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, into a hypermediated facsimile text and archive. By remediating the text, the socio-historical context of the Victorian time period in which Whistler lived is reestablished, making his book more accessible to twenty-first century audiences. The era studied in this dissertation includes the expansion of the idea of celebrity, the power of the press, and the concept of art for art’s sake from 1863 through 1892. In order to showcase these concepts, archival materials, such as personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, and published pamphlets, from this period were collected, digitized, and organized into a digital archive and edition.

In 1890, Whistler, an American-born, British-based artist known for his arguments with the critics of his day, published The Gentle Art, a collection of previously printed letters and pamphlets. Throughout the book, Whistler refers to people, publications, and events relevant to himself and his work. Persons unfamiliar with those references may find themselves frustrated while reading due to the lost social and historical context referred to on the pages, because those references remain difficult to access.

G.A.M.E., makes Whistler’s The Gentle Art more accessible by realizing the proto- hypertextual nature of his book. Like many modern-day websites, The Gentle Art contains numerous references to references – a virtual daisy chain of associations Whistler made to and with his work encircling his artistic philosophy, art for art’s sake. From 1890, when the book was published, until now, Whistler’s “links” have remained dormant on the page. G.A.M.E. activates those links and reanimates The Gentle Art via a hypermediated facsimile text for twenty-first century readers.

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies is a window into the late Victorian art world. G.A.M.E. houses and archives this contextual material in order to resurrect The Gentle Art and reconcile it with the man who created it.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

11-10-2015

Available for download on Friday, November 07, 2025

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