This study of the household goods of Victorian America reveals the character, conflicts and tensions within the Victorian world. Considering specific furnishings and styles, it discusses the relationship of these objects to class and gender structure and to their place in Victorian ritual.
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A richly illustrated and provocative discussion of Victorian culture through an exploration of common household goods
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice
Henry-Russell Hitchcock Award, Victorian Society of AmericaFrom the Inside Flap:
"Ken Ames has always 'heard a different drummer.' Death in the Diningroom explores his unique ideas of how our home furnishings give visitors a message about our status and concerns. Why don't we own a hall tree? Why are dead birds carved on the sideboard? And why are some Victorian chairs so uncomfortable? These and other strange thoughts pop up as you read his latest, well-illustrated book." —Ralph and Terry Kovel, authors of Kovels' Antiques and Collectables Price List
"[E]ffectively explores and articulates 'the varied tasks and roles' performed by ordinary goods in the everyday life of Victorian America, as well as the complex, contradicted elements of culture they often reveal." —American Quarterly
"An eminently engaging and entertaining work by one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Victorian culture." —Antique Review
"If coffee tables could talk, this would be the coffee table book they'd choose." —Philadelphia Inquirer
"[Ames's] well-argued analysis revolves around issues of gender and class, structures of power, and strategies of adjustment to change. He amply illustrates his interpretations with photographs that carry their own provocatively interpretive texts. Meant to be read and read again, meant to be discussed and debated..." —Choice
"Few have been as influential [as Ames] in advancing the study of American culture and society through the study of household furnishings. Death in the Dining Room is...an informed and insightful group of essays examining five artifact groups—hall furnishings, dining room sideboards, needlework mottoes, parlor organs, and seating furniture—for views of the Victorian world that can be revealed through material culture." —Susan Meyers, American Quarterly
"In this marvelous work, mere words successfully take us into that foreign yet familiar country—our own past.... With his practiced eye and clarifying voice, Ames transforms five classes of ordinary artifacts from daily life into windows on the culture that sustained them, the values they signified, and the feelings they engendered." —Patrick Norris, Museum News
"It is virtually impossible to read any art of this fascinating and accomplished study without responding to Ames's infectious enthusiasm, his questioning eye, and his careful, extended, and revelatory interrogations of objects both grand and humble....Ames stops and looks—and looks again—not only at the things themselves but also at their environment, their placement, their social and ritual functions, and the messages they were meant to inculcate and to communicate to those who saw and used them everyday. His Aristotelian method is richly productive, resulting in an energetically proliferating chain of connotations that make even the plainest stitched motto a revelation of Victorian attitudes....This is an inspiring book." —Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
"This fine outstanding study is augmented by photographs as finely printed as I have ever seen. They are so real in fact that one touches them and expects a tangible feel. All in all this is a superb book that literally must be a part of the library of everyone interested in human culture." —Journal of Popular Culture
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Book Description Temple University Press, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110877228914
Book Description Temple University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0877228914 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0471312