Seeing Beauty in Early America
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
408 pages, 7.00 x 9.50 x 0.90 in
- Published: November 2019
In Shaker Vision, Joseph Manca explores original texts, especially diaries and travel journals, and material culture to demonstrate that Shakers enjoyed a remarkably deep experience of the visual world. Shakers shared tastes with mainstream Americans and often employed a similar aesthetic vocabulary, but all within a belief system that made them distinct. In addition to their well-known ascetic architecture, furniture, and handicraft styles, they expressed themselves through ornate and detailed spiritual art and in vivid, visionary experiences. Based on firsthand accounts of the believers themselves, this richly illustrated volume will dramatically change how we assess the visual world of this uniquely American religious sect.
"An engaging account of the place and function of beauty in the life and experience of the early Shaker community."—Stephen J. Stein, author of The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers
"This meticulously researched and masterfully documented study of early Shaker attitudes toward beauty will appeal to anyone interested in Shaker culture and history."—Kathryn Reklis, author of Theology and the Kinesthetic Imagination: Jonathan Edwards and the Making of Modernity