Laurus Nobilis: Chapters on Art and LifeAuthor: Vernon Lee E-book
Laurus Nobilis: Chapters on Art and Life (1909) is a collection of essays by Vernon Lee. Published at the height of her career as a leading proponent of Aestheticism and scholar of the Italian Renaissance, Laurus Nobilis: Chapters on Art and Life follows in the footsteps of Walter Pater, a pioneering art historian of Victorian England. A principled feminist and committed pacifist, Lee was virtually blacklisted by critics and publishers following her opposition to the First World War.
Through the efforts of dedicated scholars, however, interest in her works has increased over the past several decades, granting her the readership she deserves as a master of literary horror. “It is a plant of noblest utility, averting, as the ancients thought, lightning from the dwellings it surrounded, even as disinterested love for beauty averts from our minds the dangers which fall on the vain and the covetous; and curing many aches and fevers, even as the contemplation of beauty refreshes and invigorates our spirit. Indeed, we seem to be reading a description no longer of the virtues of the bay laurel, but of the virtues of all beautiful sights and sounds, of all beautiful thoughts and emotions.”
Although she is more widely known for her stories of supernatural horror, Lee was also a gifted researcher whose knowledge of art history shines in Laurus Nobilis: Chapters on Art and Life. This collection of essays begins with the image of the bay laurel, a symbol of artistic achievement and divine beauty since the days of ancient Greece.
Determined to prove that beauty is an aspect of reality separate from truth and goodness, and therefore worthy of its own pursuit in art, Lee looks back on the work of Pater while offering her own arguments in defense of Aestheticism. Lyrical and personal, meditative and instructive, these essays are essential to her reputation as a leading artist and intellectual of her time. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Vernon Lee’s Laurus Nobilis: Chapters on Art and Life is a classic work of art history reimagined for modern readers.