Our Love of The Minuscule

Leslie Jamison at the TLS:

Stewart is particularly good on the double-edged quality of the miniature. She grasps that the doll’s house is both paradise and cloister, for example, that it “represents a particular form of interiority, an interiority which the subject experiences as its sanctuary (fantasy) and prison”. She argues that the miniature always presents something that has already been lost, that you can never quite touch: “a world whose anteriority is always absolute, and whose profound interiority is therefore always unrecoverable”. While it can be tempting to focus on miniatures as fulfilments of fantasy, as Garfield does, Stewart asks us to read them as promises that are perpetually broken, as sites of unresolved longing. Miniatures are more like excursions than journeys, she argues, because you always have to come back from the fantasy. You can never stay for good. I’d argue that you can’t even really go in the first place: as with the shrinking man of Bekonscot, entering the miniature landscape means losing the very thing that makes it magical.

more here.