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The Art of the Text: Visuality in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Literary and Other Media

edited by Susan Harrow
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    The Art of the Text
    Book Description:

    In this volume of essays, specialists explore the relations between modern literary text and visual image across a range of media – from novel, poetry and film to painting, fabric and print culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2660-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series editors’ preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Susan Harrow

    The Art of the Textcontributes to the fast-developing dialogue of textual studies with visual culture studies. Its focus, via a series of detailed readings, is the processes through which writers think visually and the practices via which readers respond visually to the verbal medium. ‘Readers’ may be film makers, essayists, painters, printers, cultural commentators, academics, or may belong to that most elusive of all categories ‘general readers’: all participate in the work of discerning and determining the visual quality of texts and other media.The Art of the Textaims to capture the creative impulse and the critical reception...

  8. I Thinking the visual image
    • Chapter 1 Jules Verne: The Unbearable Brightness of Seeing
      (pp. 17-30)
      Timothy Unwin

      The sumptuously bound and lavishly illustrated volumes in Hetzel’s ‘Bibliothèque d’Education et de Récréation’ offer an unambiguous signal that visual enjoyment is crucial to our experience of reading Jules Verne’sVoyages extraordinaires.¹ But Verne’s texts also depend intrinsically on visuality, first because they so fulsomely detail the sights of nature throughout the known world, and secondly because sight and seeing – and on occasions their opposite, blindness – are key to the unfolding of many of the plots. Vantage points are essential: ships’ prows, mountaintops, privileged views through a submarine porthole or the hatchet of a lunar missile, or from the basket...

    • Chapter 2 Affinities of Photography and Syntax in Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu
      (pp. 31-46)
      Áine Larkin

      The mutual influence of literature and photography has been a subject of interest for practitioners of both arts since 1839. In the early years, literature and photography ‘co-existed peaceably in an expanding aesthetic universe’.¹ This serene state did not endure, however, and literature quickly began to assimilate aspects of this new imaging system.² This chapter seeks to establish a link between photographic practice and Proustian syntax in several scenes fromÀ la recherche du temps perdu.My aim is to underline affinities between photographic practice and Proust’s crafting of his sentences, particularly in terms of rhythm, length of sentence and...

    • Chapter 3 Portraits and Neologisms: Understanding the Visual in Henri Michaux’s ‘Voyage en Grande Garabagne’
      (pp. 47-62)
      Nina Parish

      Henri Michaux composed many different types of travel narratives during his lifetime and the idea of travel is central to his creative concerns. He writes in ‘Observations’: ‘J’écris pour me parcourir. Peindre, composer, écrire: me parcourir. Là est l’aventure d’être en vie.’² The first of his imaginary journeys, ‘Voyage en Grande Garabagne’, was published in 1936, at around the same time as this poet-artist was beginning to publish books including his own texts and images and when the visual was becoming established as an important part of his output. ‘Voyage en Grande Garabagne’ contains no visual elements, however. There had...

    • Chapter 4 The ‘trou noir’: Visualizations of Nihilism in Nietzsche and Modiano
      (pp. 63-78)
      Jenny Devine

      In his 1997 publicationChien de printemps,Patrick Modiano describes a descent into what he terms a ‘trou noir’. The visual metaphor of a ‘black hole’ is addressed in Modiano studies in a range of theoretical contexts where it has been aligned with, for example, the death of Modiano’s brother;¹ collective memory and the Occupation;² and personal memory loss or amnesia.³ In this chapter, I consider Modiano’s evocation of a ‘trou noir’ in the context of nihilism and a loss of values, and explore some of the visual properties and processes that the author engages with in his portrayal of...

  9. II Intermedial migrations in the 1920s
    • Chapter 5 Painting and Cinema in Aragon’s Anicet
      (pp. 81-94)
      Katherine Shingler

      Louis Aragon’s first novel,Anicet ou le panorama, roman(1921), combines in its very title the notion of visual spectacle with that of literary narrative. In his 1964 preface to the novel, Aragon indicated that he considered the generic marker ‘ roman’ to be very much part of the title, but added that it had been included primarily ‘ par la consonance avec le motpanorama’.¹ Thus, one might wish to read the novel, if not as a straightforwardly ironic reflection of the surrealist generation’s anti-literary stance – ‘un défi aux conceptions mêmes de mes plus proches amis de ce temps’,...

    • Chapter 6 Isotypes and Elephants: Picture-Language as Visual Writing in the Work and Correspondence of Otto Neurath
      (pp. 95-114)
      Michelle Henning

      In 1920s Vienna, as part of the larger socialist experiment that earned the city the nickname ‘ Red Vienna’, the picture language of Isotype was born. It was the invention of the Vienna Circle philosopher and sociologist Otto Neurath, working with a team of artists and researchers at his Gesellschaftsund Wirtschaftsmuseum (museum of society and economy, hereafter GWM). Isotype began as the Vienna method of pictorial statistics, a means of making statistical information and comparison legible to non-expert and even semiliterate audiences through the use of pictures. Later, it became Isotype, an acronym for International System of Typographic Picture Education....

    • Chapter 7 Colette: An Eye For Textiles
      (pp. 115-130)
      Anne Freadman

      A major part of Colette’s writing career was devoted toles arts du spectacle,musical performances and the cinema in the period before the First World War, the theatre for decades after that, public gatherings and events in the streets of Paris and, importantly during the 1920s, vestimentary fashion. It is to this last category that I attend here. In exploring fashion Colette brings all her observational talents to bear on the transformation of women in modernity. Many people have pointed out over the years that Colette was not a ‘feminist’, in the sense of being militant, or even particularly...

    • Chapter 8 Stars as Sculpture in the 1920s Fan-Magazine Interview
      (pp. 131-148)
      Michael Williams

      The first two decades of the twentieth century witnessed the consolidation of the star system and the refinement of the discourse through which film stars were produced and consumed. As part of the project culturally to elevate both stars and the cinema itself, this discourse was frequently informed by the aesthetics of fine art, and particularly classicism, as a means of valorizing screen idols as quasi-mythical figures and to provide fans with the frameworks to appreciate them thus. What interests me about classicism is its ambiguous and context-specific nature. I use it as a complex term that references, in particular,...

  10. III Visual negotiations and adaptations
    • Chapter 9 Victor Hugo and Painting: The Exceptional Case of the Orientales
      (pp. 151-170)
      Karen Quandt

      Victor Hugo did not have much to say on the subject of painting, but hisOrientales(1829), in their attention to the visual and the image, afford us ample reason to stop and wonder about this omission. At a time when Hugo was actively collaborating and corresponding with painters and sculptors, the state of the visual arts was of distinct concern in literary circles.² For Emile Deschamps, an enthusiastic member of and fervent spokesperson for Hugo’s ‘Cénacle’, both painting and music were essential for a modern poetic sensibility that heightened the workings of the imagination:

      Or, la poésie n’est pas...

    • Visions and Re-visions: Zola, Cardinal and L’Œuvre
      (pp. 171-186)
      Kate Griffiths

      Adaptations, whatever their medium, are frequently criticized for their revisions to an original author’s work. Pierre Cardinal’s 1967 television production of Emile Zola’s 1886 novelL’OEuvreappears to open itself to such criticism since it offers a clearly cropped vision of Zola’s panoramic novel surveying the art and society of late nineteenth-century France. However, Cardinal harmonizes with Zola’s textual vision in three key respects. First, the intimacy of the television aesthetic in general, and that of Cardinal’s adaptation in particular, bring the viewer closer to Zola’s intention to provide, in an intimate close-up, a dissection of his characters. Secondly, whilst...

    • Chapter 11 Donner à voir: Poetic Language and Visual Representation according to Paul Éluard
      (pp. 187-200)
      Peter Hawkins

      Paul Éluard is probably the best known and most widely read of the poets associated with the surrealist movement. He was an early supporter of Dada and one of the founder members of the surrealist movement in the early 1920s. Although less well known in the English-speaking world than the painters of the movement, his influence was considerable, not least on the British supporters of the movement such as Roland Penrose, with whom he collaborated on the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition. In general he left the theorizing of the movement to André Breton, but his version of surrealism is...

    • Chapter 12 ‘La lettre au cinéma n’est pas une excellente solution’: A Heteromedial Analysis of Chantal Akerman’s Proust Adaptation
      (pp. 201-216)
      Jørgen Bruhn

      When probing the intricate relation between the visual and the verbal, often translated into the registers of the image and the text, it is salient to discuss the work of Marcel Proust. In this chapter I pursue what I call a ‘heteromedial’ point of view in order to focus on one of the fascinating relationships connecting Marcel Proust and the arts, namely the relation between his writings and later cinematic adaptations of his work. I begin by making a brief sketch of the reception of Proust in an interart/intermedial perspective, which will lead me to consider the relation of Proust’s...

  11. Translation sources
    (pp. 217-220)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 221-232)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 233-237)