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Understanding the Field of Waterloo: Viewing Waterloo and the Narrative Strategies of the Panorama Programmes

Erle, S. (2017) Understanding the Field of Waterloo: Viewing Waterloo and the Narrative Strategies of the Panorama Programmes. Interférences Littéraires, 20. pp. 44-59. ISSN 2031-2790

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Abstract

The season of the Waterloo panoramas began in March 1816, about nine months after the battle on 18 June 18156. The Waterloo panoramas were exhibited in London as well as across the country. Focusing on the finale on the field of Waterloo and highlighting the human cost of the French Napoleonic wars, they brought the battle to life as late as 1842. This article, which is on the viewing experience inside the panorama, examines narrative techniques used in the surviving panorama programmes in order to determine how they address and involve spectators; it challenges the idea that visitors of a panorama were fully immersed and imagined to be part of the scene, and, therefore, unable to look or judge for themselves. The viewing of any battle inside a panorama facilitated a communal experience and helped to acknowledge national sacrifice, but, as this article will show, due to the growing distance between the battle as a historical event and the visit to a Waterloo panorama in real time, explanations about the visual response lost their power to persuade.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © Interférences littéraires/Literaire interferenties 2017. This is an author produced version of a paper subsequently published in Interférences Littéraires. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Divisions: School of Humanities
Depositing User: Dr Sibylle Erle
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 08:47
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2019 14:20
URI: http://bgro.collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/228

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