ERIC Number: EJ909079
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Our National Monument of Art: Constructing and Debating the National Body at the Library of Congress
Moore, Sarah J.
Library Quarterly, v80 n4 p337-356 Oct 2010
It is not surprising that the Library of Congress would be defined as our national monument of art given the scale of the project, its federal sponsorship, and its posture as a public library with access to all Americans. Paralleling the assumption of the Library of Congress as not merely a building for housing books but a ritualistic center of civilization, the ambitious decorative program celebrated Western civilization and, in particular, the evolution of culture through knowledge. This article examines two mural cycles at the Library of Congress, "The Evolution of the Book" by John White Alexander and "The Evolution of Civilization" by Edwin Blashfield, considering each as a multivalent construction of American national identity and the critical debates that they generated. The male body was the subject of both cycles and functioned as the ideological armature within which to project current assumptions of and debates about masculinity, labor, imperialism, social reform, national identity, and progress.
Descriptors: Western Civilization, Social Action, Public Libraries, Masculinity, Art, Books, Building Design
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-188; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A