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Blue Mythologies


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Table of Contents

1. Everything is blue 2. Blue is joyful-sad 3. Unwrapping Blue Boy 4. One cat, four girls, three blue and white pots: Walpole's 'Selima' and Sargent's Daughters of Edward Darley Boit 5. 'A thing of Beauty is a guilt for ever' 6. Milk and sugar are blue 7. Timber, timbre: hearing blue again 8. A bolt from the blue 9. Cyanoclasm 10. Like a stocking: two paths of metaphor and metonymy 11. Blue lessons: a Patch of Blue, a blue cardigan buttoned and a robin's egg 12. To blue: Helen Chadwick's Oval Court 13. 'A foggy lullaby' 14. Words fail 15. A blue fawn's eye 16. Blue Albertine and Blue Ariane: (Marcel Proust and Chantal Akerman) 17. A blue lollipop (Krysztof Kieslowski) 18. 'O blue' 19. Venice is a wet map 20. Domestic blues: Agnes Varda's Le Bonheur 21. Aran is a blue place where it is hard to find anything missing 22. In Lieu of a Blue Ending: Un-Knitting a Cerulean Jumper

About the Author

Carol Mavor is Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. Her previous books include Reading Boyishly (2007) and Black and Blue (2012).


"Julia Kristeva has said that 'color is not zero meaning: it is excess meaning.' Art historian Mavor's evocative and eclectic collection of essays demonstrates how true this is. . . . Drawing on the history of art, photography, literature, and her own memories, Mavor dives deep into an ocean of blueness. . . . Sumptuously illustrated throughout, Mavor's writing--inspired by Roland Barthes's Mythologies--is rich with insights, both theoretical and personal. . . . To quote Colette, Mavor is without doubt a true 'connoisseur of blue.'"-- "Guardian"
"Mavor pushes her intuitions and interpretations further than they want to go, so that they come back breathless and bruised, with new tales to tell...Blue Mythologies is an act of enchantment--of author and reader alike."--Brian Dillon "Modern Painters"
"Carol Mavor's quirky Blue Mythologies reveals an inherently paradoxical color. . . . An exciting literary treasure hunt that maps out the color blue as a pathway to experience and memory."-- "Shelf Awareness"
"Describing a color is the challenge Carol Mavor takes up in Blue Mythologies, and more obliquely in Black and Blue, and she does it beautifully. These two books are the latest blossoms Mavor has cultivated, works that confirm the tenderness of her critical passions. She is a kissing cousin of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Susan Stewart, in her attention to touch and affect, in her sensitivity to her own emotions and sense perceptions in her apprehension of art."--Brian Dillon "Critical Quarterly"
"In Blue Mythologies, Carol Mavor provides her own 'reflections' on blue, as her subtitle reads, employing as a guide no discernible chronology but for the admirable compass of her own affective and intellectual sensibilities. . . . Mavor has developed a style that marries the erudition of scholarly writing with the intimacy of a diary. . . . In twenty-two chapters, illustrated throughout by lavish reproductions of everything from fourteenth-century frescoes to twenty-first-century contemporary daguerreotypes, Mavor is at her somersaulting best, moving effortlessly between disciplines and interpretive paradigms. . . . The success of her book is to coax us into having a less complacent attitude to our own contradictory investments, even when it comes to something as apparently innocuous as a color."--Dylan J. Montanari "Los Angeles Review of Books"
"In Blue Mythologies: Reflections on a Colour, Carol Mavor moves between mediums and centuries, examining Paul Gaugin's paintings, Marcel Proust's writings, the films of French director Agnes Varda, and much more. Fifty-nine color plates add lush visuals and the blue ribbon marker is a nice touch."-- "Boston Globe"

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