This is the first book to explore the cultural significance of the color yellow, showing how its psychological and aesthetic value marked and shaped many of the intellectual, political, and artistic currents of late modernity. It contends that yellow functions during this period primarily as a color of stigma and scandal.
Yellow stigmatization has had a long history: it goes back to the Middle Ages when Jews and prostitutes were forced to wear yellow signs to emphasize their marginal status. Although scholars have commented on these associations in particular contexts, Sabine Doran offers the first overarching account of how yellow connects disparate cultural phenomena, such as turn-of-the-century decadence (the "yellow nineties"), the rise of mass media ("yellow journalism"), mass immigration from Asia ("the yellow peril"), and mass stigmatization (the yellow star that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany).
The Culture of Yellow combines cultural history with innovative readings of literary texts and visual artworks, providing a multilayered account of the unique role played by the color yellow in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European culture.
Sabine Doran is Associate Professor of German at Penn State University, USA. Her published work includes articles on film, film theory, German literature, and color, in such journals as Gegenwartsliteratur and The Comparatist.
Acknowledgements Illustrations Introduction Chapter 1: Van Gogh's Yellow Van Gogh: From Yellow Books to the Yellow House The Yellow Christ: Van Gogh and Gauguin After the Burning: Francis Bacon and van Gogh Reading Bacon and van Gogh with Friederike Mayroecker The Afterlife of Van Gogh: Antonin Artaud, Alain Resnais, and Akira Kurosawa Chapter 2: The Scandal of Yellow Books: From the Yellow Nineties to Modernism The Color of the Hour: Beardsley's Yellow Book Scandal: The Arrest of Oscar Wilde Salome's Yellow Veils Wilde's "Symphony in Yellow" Wilde and the Dispersion of Scandal in Joyce's Ulysses Stephen's "yellow stick" and Bloom's "yellow habit" Chapter 3: Yellow Passions The Yellow of Contempt: Baudelaire, Tristan Corbiere, Frantisek Kupka The Yellow of Disgust: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" Camera Lucida: Gilman and Albrecht Durer "A film of yellow light": Virginia Woolf's "A Mark on the Wall" Chapter 4: "The little patch of yellow wall": Proust "I Love Yellow": Balzac's Eugenie Grandet Proust and Vermeer's View of Delft The Yellow Patch: Mieke Bal and Georges Didi-Huberman Proust and Vermeer's The Goldweigher The Death of Bergotte and the Resurrection of the Author Proust's Two (Open) Secrets Albertine and the Yellow Butterfly Chapter 5: The "Yellow Peril" and the Visual Politics of Race Staging the "Yellow Peril": Richard Wagner and Wilhelm II Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu Jack London's "An Unparalleled Invasion" "Yellow children": Soloviev's Pan Mongolism A Yellow Russia: Bely's Petersburg The Yellow Rhapsody: Kandinsky and Eisenstein "I am a yellow stinking flower": Hans Henry Jahnn's Perugia "Follow the yellow brick road!": The Wizard of OZ Departing in Yellow: Josef Albers and Helmut Federle Chapter 6: Yellow Stars and the Visual Politics of Genocide The Stars of Rainer Maria Rilke Paul Celan's "Yellow Flood" Rilke's "new stars" and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow Mendel Grossman's Photographs of the Lodz Ghetto Jiri Weil's Life with a Star Resistance and the Yellow Star: Jacob the Liar Liev Schreiver's Everything is Illuminated Exploding the Star: Felix Nussbaum, Daniel Libeskind, W. G. Sebald, Frank Stella Conclusion Index