James Simpson


On his book Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition

Cover Interview of April 06, 2011


I wish this book to make visible the buried, surprising histories behind our frequent experiences.

And to four interlocking publics: art historians who are interested in the broader function of the image, or representation; literary critics who are asked to rethink the stabilities of the English poetic tradition; cultural historians who think about the function of museums; and, by far the most important, the educated reader!

I would, perhaps hubristically, wish this book’s argument to be in the mind of readers when they witness contemporary Islamic iconoclasm, when they read English poetry, when they enter a museum, when they consider the Statue of Liberty—which, I argue, could only exist with a long history of iconoclasm behind it.

© 2011 James Simpson