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    British Aestheticism and the Urban Working Classes, 1870-1900

    By: D. Maltz

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    This cultural study reveals the interdependence between British Aestheticism and late-Victorian social-reform movements. Following their mentor John Ruskin who believed in art's power to civilize the poor, cultural philanthropists promulgated a Religion of Beauty as they advocated practical schemes for tenement reform, university-settlement education, Sunday museum opening, and High Anglican revival. Although subject to novelist's ambivalent, even satirical, representations, missionary aesthetes nevertheless constituted an influential social network, imbuing fin-de-siecle artistic communities with political purpose and political lobbies with aesthetic sensibility.

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