In the post below regarding The Most Arrogant Man in France I mentioned it owed something to visual studies and discussions of print culture, and linked to a couple of examples of the social history of art covering the same period to which the book could be considered in some loose sense kin or successor (though not necessarily the same in outlook.) Given that, it almost goes without saying (but won't) that the recent interpretation Chu takes issue with the most seems to be Michael Fried's. I don't want to overstate the case; there are readings of particular works that Chu agrees with Fried on, and the book neither offers polemic or extensive methodological debate. Chu prefers to tell her own story, but she does point out on several occasions where she disagrees with Fried. More importantly, she notes that her emphasis on Courbet's use of the press as a model and borrowings from literary modes can't help but stand in opposition to any sort of phenomenological (or otherwise) emphasis on Courbet as a painter predominantly concerned with vision and the body.