The Radical Vision of Edward Burne-Jones

Andrea Wolk Rager

Publicaton Date
May 2022
Standard Number
Yale University Press
336 pages, 256 x 190mm
165 colour + b-w illus.

The Victorian artist Edward Burne-Jones has often been considered an escapist who withdrew from the modern world into imaginary realms of his own creation. This groundbreaking book challenges that perception, arguing instead that he was engaged in a fundamentally radical defiance of the age.

Embracing the revolutionary possibility of embodied aesthetic encounters, Burne-Jones drew inspiration from the medieval concept of dreams as visionary states of transformation. Burne-Jones’s art functioned not as a retreat, but as a vehicle for awakening. Frequently described primarily as a painter, this book re-centers Burne-Jones’s practice in the decorative arts, demonstrating that he consistently questioned the boundaries of artistic media, in keeping with wider debates over the role of the arts in the nineteenth century.

The first scholarly monograph solely devoted to Burne-Jones since 1973, The Radical Vision of Edward Burne-Jones offers a thorough re-examination of his work. This book illuminates how Burne-Jones’s art offered a protest against imperial aggression, capitalist economic inequality, and environmental destruction in the wake of the industrial revolution in nineteenth-century Britain.

About the author

  • Jesse Hauk Shera Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and Art, Case Western Reserve University