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The Mind’s Eye: Perspectives on Word and Image
UCL Department of English Fourth Annual Postgraduate Conference
Friday, 17 February 2006

Panel 1A: The Book as a Physical Object
Verity Hunt, University of Reading
Verity Hunt is a PhD student at the University of Reading where she is a member of the Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, & Media. Her research focus is the relationship between mid/late 19th century movable books and visual cultures of Modernity. Her interests include: the Great Exhibition and Crystal Palace, optical toys, the publisher Ernest Nister, and 19th century discourses on sensory perception. Chair: Rosie Goodwin

Ernest Nister, Bookseller Impresario: The Wonderful Show of Words and Changing Pictures in Movable Books
The bookseller Ernest Nister‘s late nineteenth century movable books are often held up as some of the most beautiful examples of the genre. The books feature moving pictures on pull tabs and wheels and often compare themselves to the optical entertainments of the period: peep-shows, magic lanterns, and panoramas, to align their experimental design with technological innovation. The books play in a sense of wonder in their child readers, anticipated from a slippage in meaning between their words and changing pictures. Indeed the demands of the books‘ novelty format as a technology of wonder are underlined by the appearance of Nister as an intermediary character in their main narratives. The bookseller appears in various guises from Showman to Santa — distinct from the books‘ writers and illustrators — as an impresario gatekeeper to its wonders. Nister is presented as an enigmatic children‘s friend, answering and empathising with their dreams and desires through his novelty books in a way other adults are unable to. Indeed as a manipulator of narratives made magical by his innovative design, Nister is constructed as a master of childhood itself, his stories are set up as having the power to make time stand still, drawing out childhood as a suspended state. However, an interesting power play may be read between the reader and Nister in the texts. While the child readers‘ ‗purses‘ or spending power afford them some authority over the bookseller and his extraordinary books, it is their hands-on interaction that operates the movables facilitating the wonder. Despite his magical associations Mr Nister‘s ‗Christmas land‘ is ‗a little west of Temple Bar, near the roaring Strand‘, real enough to visit with your pocket money. The reader is reminded of the commercial labours of the bookseller and his team, always working to produce the next book in sharp contrast to the children whose ‗lives with flowers are laden … days are full of joy‘.

Matthew Sperling, Oxford University
Matthew Sperling is a doctoral candidate at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he is writing a thesis on British Late-Modernist poetry. He has written reviews for a number of journals and his poetry has been published in a 14-page selection in Tower Poets (ed. Peter McDonald) and Auspices, a collaborative poem-print with artist Elizabeth Hancock, issued from the Tradeskin Press.

‘The Making of the Book’: Roy Fisher, the Circle Press and the Poetics of Book Art
Roy Fisher has always been an ekphrastic poet, working on the margins of the visual arts. His nine collaborations with the Circle Press and artist Ron King between 1972 and 2001 represent a sustained investigation of the various ways in which text and image can be integrated, breaking the mould of the codex or folio edition, as the book becomes a sculptural object. For example: the three-dimensional pop-up designs of Bluebeard’s Castle (1973), representing stages in a progression through the castle (portcullis, armoury, etc), with text relineated and arranged by the material unit of the pop-up page, each ‗stanza‘ literally a room. Or ‗alphabet books‘ such as The Half-Year Letters (1983), an ingenious french-folded concertina design where the threedimensional, monolithic alphabet is in dialogue with a more fluid text. The project of these art books is to complicate their own bibliographic and lexical codes (in the radical etymological sense, from com ‗together‘ + plicare, ‗to fold‘). That is, their folds and reduplications give a material form to the processes by which meanings are produced, and their textual content is motivated by a poetics of the material object. The status of the book is always up for grabs: from the discovery, in Top Down, Bottom Up (1990), of how to draw on both sides of the page at the same time, using wire-press printing to

2 emboss an inverted reproduction of the recto image on the verso, to the developments of The Left-Handed Punch (1987) and Anansi Company (1992), in which the book first becomes a four-dimensional theatre space, in which a new version of Punch and Judy is played out by twelve articulated puppet designs, and then a location for characters and images that are self-contained, discrete and removable from the book, in the form of thirteen handmade wire and card rod-puppets. Finally, in Tabernacle (2001), a seven-drawer black wooden cabinet that stands foursquare like a sculpture, the conception of the book and the material history of print are fully undone and reconstituted. My paper will analyse the ways in which the King-Fisher art books work out a radically material and socialised poetics of the book; how their emphasis on collaboration, between artist and poet, image and text, and also book and reader — the construction of meaning becoming an open-ended and co-implicated process — continuously challenges hierarchies and fixities in our conception of authorship and the text/image relationship, and how they re-think the status of text through the construction of the book as material object.

Dennis Duncan, Birkbeck College, University of London
Dennis Duncan is currently working on his PhD in the English Department at Birkbeck, focusing on issues of translation in the work of Harry Matthews.

Making Sense in Calvino’s Castle of Crossed Destinies
Italo Calvino‘s The Castle of Crossed Destinies inverts the usual relationship of text and illustration in that the images are primary, and the text derived from them. Calvino writes that [t]his book is made first of pictures … and secondly of written words. Through the sequence of the pictures, stories are told, which the written word tries to reconstruct and interpret. The stories were written by arranging a deck of tarot on a table and attempting to treat each row of cards as if it formed the illustration sequence for a folk tale — Calvino‘s task then being to write the tales. The published work includes reproductions of the tarot in the margin, alongside the sections they inspired. This paper firstly analyses the way in which the cards are ‗read‘. Though, as Barthes states, ‗all images are polysemous‘, it would be wrong to imagine that any card could mean anything. For the ludic exercise to be deemed valid, a code — pre-existing, and familiar to the reader as well as Calvino — must relate the image to its textual interpretation. This relationship is analogous to Eco‘s description of the correlation of expression and content within a signifying system. I will then refer to another concept from Eco — that of the open text. Some critics have cited The Castle of Crossed Destinies as an example of on open text. I think this is a mistake, arising from a confusion of the two distinct layers involved in the work — image and text. The array of cards, in itself, does indeed offer a daunting multiplicity of interpretations. It is Calvino, however, and not the reader, who ‗reads‘ the cards. We read the text. The work, therefore, is no more open than Calvino‘s earlier collection of folktales, Fiabe Italiane.

Panel 1B: Theory & Developing a Critical Language for Word and Image
Chair: Emma Tinker

Derek Beaulieu, Alberta, Canada
Derek Beaulieu did his BA and MA in English at the University of Calgary. He has published a number of books and contributed to numerous anthologies and journals. Derek is also the editor of No Press (Calgary).

An Afterward after Words: Notes toward a Concrete Poetic
In this paper I propose that despite over a century of poetic innovation since Stéphane Mallarmé‘s ―Un Coup de Dès Jamais n‘Abolira le Hasard‖ (1896) and almost 50 years since the publication of Eugen Gomringer‘s manifesto ―Concrete Poetry‖ (1956), there is still no accepted critical vocabulary for concrete poetry. Concrete poetry is often contextualized historically and is categorized as a subgenre of radicalized praxis from its predominantly modernist period in the 1950s through to the present. By reiterating this historical precedent—a stridently modernist activity—criticism on concrete poetry more often than not reifies the idea that this form is still in its infancy, requiring a citation of poetic precedent in order to justify its existence. Readings based upon libidinal economies, political structures (and the refusal to reinforce these structures) and rhizomatic readings are as valid to concrete poetry—if not more so because of its attempt to shatter the chain of signification—as they are in other forms of postmodern poetry. I suggest that concrete poetry can also be closely read in conjunction with Sianne Ngai‘s idea of a poetics of disgust as an ‗inarticulate mark‘ and George Bataille and Steve McCaffery‘s theorizing of restricted and general economies of language. By applying these theories, as well as Deleuze and Guattari‘s notion of a rhizomatic (as opposed to hierarchical) writing, we can approach a way of reading concrete poetry that moves past advertising and capitalist sloganeering into a more radical praxis.


Leslee Wright, University of Nebraska
Leslee Wright has an MFA in creative writing, and is currently a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Nebraska. Her thesis, which she hopes to submit soon, is on ‘Re-imagining Genre: Comics, Literature, and Textual Form’.

Adapting a Critical Vocabulary for Comics
As the first chapter of my in-progress dissertation, titled Re-imagining Genre: Comics, Literature, and Textual Form, my paper approaches the comics form as a literary medium that straddles the opposition between high culture and popular culture texts, and aims to lay a theoretical foundation for discussing comics in the context of literary studies. A small number of historiographical and memoir comics, such as Art Spiegleman‘s Maus and Marjane Satrapi‘s Persepolis, are recognized as texts worthy of critical literary analysis; nevertheless, it remains difficult to locate a definite space for comics within literary studies, largely because the characteristics of popular comic genres are perceived as limitations inherent to the form itself. My research, which is rooted in cultural studies theory and semiotics, recognizes and outlines a number of cultural constraints and connotations that have kept comics located on the fringes of literary study, and subsequently proposes that these connotations have led to inadequacies in the critical language surrounding the comics form. Because of these inadequacies, and because comics are an aggregate of images and words that borrow from other visual practices freely, which include but are not limited to typography, lettering, architecture, set design, and so forth, the development of a critical vocabulary for discussing literary genres of comics is both a difficult and necessary task. My project moves toward the development of such a vocabulary, using a synthesized approach that bridges the visual, the narratological and the communicative aspects of the form; for just as serious readers of comics must adapt a position which allows them to create a ―whole‖ from a variety of visual and textual elements, the ideal critical vocabulary must do the same.

Panel 2A: Book Illustration
Pat Naylor, Queen Mary, University of London

Chair: Lisa Migo

Pat Naylor studied fine art at Preston Poly, followed by the study of illustration at the Royal College of Art. She worked in the music industry until, seduced by pictures of beautiful manuscript illuminations, she opted for a BA in medieval history at Queen Mary College, University of London, followed by an MA in medieval studies at UCL. She is currently in her second year of a PhD at Queen Mary and is studying two manuscripts that belonged to the Percy family, the earls of Northumberland; specifically, the artwork added in the sixteenth century and the life of the fifth and sixth earls who probably commissioned the artwork.

An Early Sixteenth Century Illustration Cycle for John Lydgate’s Siege of Thebes: Exemplars, Influences and Practice
This paper examines the work of artists in a manuscript owned by the Percy family, the earls of Northumberland. At the core of BL, Royal 18 D II are two Lydgate texts: Troy Book and Siege of Thebes; both were copied into the manuscript in the mid fifteenth century but the illustration cycles remained incomplete. In the early sixteenth century later generations of the Percy family commissioned a number of Flemish artists to finish the illustration programme of Troy Book and add all the illustrations to Siege of Thebes. The manuscript offers a unique chance to explore the response of artists to the text of Lydgate‘s Siege of Thebes as it is the only manuscript with an illustrative cycle for Lydgate‘s translation. It is possible, therefore, that the artists had to work without an exemplar on a text where the thirteen illustration spaces had already been laid out and given rubrics. While the Flemish artists were probably aware of Roman de Thebes, Lydgate‘s translation may not have been familiar to them, particularly the very English ‗preambile of John Lydgate‘ where the story is allied to Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales. I will look at what guidance the artists took from the rubrics and how closely they followed the immediate text, showing how this can help distinguish the different hands involved. This has an impact on ideas of medieval workshop practice, as it appears to reveal artists collaborating on a single picture while one artist has overall responsibility for the planning of the picture. I will propose visual source material for the Siege of Thebes illustrations and show how these, along with the contents of the pictures and their style, can provide evidence towards identification of the anonymous artists responsible for the work, and also reveal a network of artistic influences and contacts.


Therie Hendry-Seabrook, University of Sussex
Therie Hendry-Seabrook is an associate tutor in the English Department at the University of Sussex, where she studied for her BA, MA and DPhil degrees. Her research focused on the mediatory qualities of image and text in mid-Victorian ‘Punch’, especially with regard to their potential for transforming topical discourses and, thus, their ultimate reception by the journal’s middle-class readership. She is currently interested in applying this approach to discourse to a study of the parodic interplay between ‘Punch’ and its rivals.

Image and Text: Collaboration or Manipulation? Negotiating Cartoons in Victorian Punch
The abundance of periodicals circulating in the nineteenth century suggests that they afforded one of the principal media through which ordinary people engaged with the cultural debates of the day. Recent scholarship about the periodical press has acknowledged the difficulties attendant on our understanding of that engagement, given journalistic formats which commingled different topics and different modes of expression — articles, poems, stories, advertisements and, of course, illustrations — within their covers, thereby offering a broad contextual field for negotiation. The extreme popularity and longevity of the illustrated journal Punch suggests that contemporary readers nevertheless found this journal‘s mediation of topical issues both accessible and negotiable. Yet the journal‘s satirical humour did not encourage a reductive reading. Rather, as I argue, the complex interplay between the cartoon images, their textual captions and their relation to the overall layout was the result of an agential mediation on the part of the journal which actually offered a plurality of interpretations, some of which were transgressive and challenging, but all of which were insinuated into the reader‘s experience. The paper focuses on that interplay, suggesting ways in which we can engage with text and image together whilst also acknowledging the problematic collaboration between textual intentions and their artistic rendition and referring to the evidence of an unpublished diary of a Punch staff member to open up some of the deliberative processes behind that collaboration. However, I go on to suggest that it is actually at the interstices of the image-text constructions and interactions that the greatest complexity of cultural discourse can be accessed and interrogated because it is precisely at this point that meaning becomes most vulnerable to definition. At this juncture, Punch can infiltrate alternative readings and manipulate the interpretation of cultural concerns.

Jarrod Waetjen, George Mason University
Jarrod Waetjen is a PhD student at George Mason University and a professor of English at Gibbs College in Virginia. His research interests include visual studies and the American short story.

Absurdities in a Manufactured Reality: Vonnegut’s Short Story Illustrations in the Saturday Evening Post
Drawing on theories of strategic marketing, visual studies and semiotics, this presentation examines the role illustration plays in the short stories Kurt Vonnegut published in the Saturday Evening Post. This analysis serves three purposes: First, as the entire collection of Vonnegut‘s short works are held in two anthologies: Welcome to the Monkey House (1950) and Bagombo Snuff Box (1999), most scholars addressing these works have only encountered them as collected texts. Repositioning these stories as text/image combos provides opportunities for interpretation previously unavailable to the critics who chiefly contested the works on their literary merit. It is also a chance to explore the socio-economic work that these illustrations perform when coupled with literary texts. Second, the presentation will situate these works in their original context, an American journal known as much for its ultra-conservative politics and allegiance to white, middle-class America, as its popular stories and lavish illustration. Finally, informed by Roland Barthes‘ ―Rhetoric of the Image,‖ this analysis will present a ―re-reading‖ of Vonnegut‘s works, one that is more closely aligned with advertising analysis than literary criticism. Indeed, in the context of Post, word and images combine to create a specific message, and function to draw the attention of a distracted reader. Drawing on the marketing theories of Jim Aitchison, Richard Maddock and Richard Fulton, this reading suggests that the illustrations that accompany Vonnegut‘s texts are ―bent images‖ – subtly disturbing illustrations that serve to upset the patriarchal, hetero-normative, racist assumptions of the Post’s demographic. After the image captures the audience‘s attention, Vonnegut‘s stories resolve the conflict, returning the reader back to the comforts of their utopian middle class. In order to illustrate this point (as well as adhere to the time limit), this analysis will only address six illustrated stories out of the eleven that Vonnegut published in the Post: ―Custom-Made Bride,‖ ―The Boy Who Hated Girls,‖ ―The No-Talent Kid,‖ ―The Kid Nobody Could Handle,‖ ―Runaways,‖ and ―This Son of Mine…‖.


Panel 2B: Ekphrasis
Sylvia Karastathi, University of Cambridge

Chair: Juliette Atkinson

Sylvia Karastathi graduated from the Department of English Language and Literature of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2003 and did an MA in Modern Literature and Culture at the University of York, UK where she worked primarily on issues of visual culture in film and painting. She is currently in the beginning of a PhD in the English Faculty of the University of Cambridge examining the embrace of visual arts in the work of contemporary women novelists informed by text and image debates and the notion of feminist aesthetics.

A. S. Byatt’s Possession and Pre-Raphaelite Aesthetics
The cover of the first edition of Possession in 1990 features Edward Burne-Jones‘s The Beguiling of Merlin, a Pre-Raphaelite painting that current studies approach as the visualisation of a contest between word and image. A. S. Byatt‘s sensitivity and interest in visual images is a well-known aspect of her writing, but how does it function in a book about books, literary theory and language? Taking the Pre-Raphaelite visual clue as a point of departure and using insights offered in W. J. T. Mitchell‘s Picture Theory, I wish to explore Byatt‘s use of images and description in the construction of her heroes and address the role the visual elements play in critiquing the poststructuralist and feminist standpoints of the characters. Although her characters inhabit ―the non-material‖ space of language and words, they are often defined through their association with objects and images, colours and textures. It seems that ―possession‖ apart from literary, sexual and economic is also very much material and rendered best through vision. Byatt‘s omniscient narrative voice sets her characters in a detailed, visually vivid background: we know what they wear, what their houses look like, what objects accompany their lives—information that they would not immediately offer themselves. In this attention to the material and the visually described, we can read Byatt‘s resistance to the elusiveness of language, her wish to hold on to the real that manifests itself through vision. The materiality of language manifested in the typed word, in letter writing, and in the books and letters themselves that are sought after as precious possessions, parallels the pre-Raphaelite obsession with painting the verbal. By writing the visual, Byatt creates a fictional world where words and images coexist and often compete in a game of domination.

James Clements, University of Cambridge
James Clements is working on his PhD thesis on Ethics and Mysticism in Post-War British Fiction at the University of Cambridge. He completed his MA at UCL and his BA at the University of Toronto.

Panegyric Blue: Mysticism through Ekphrasis in Patrick White’s Riders in the Chariot
This paper investigates two ways in which Patrick White¹s 1961 novel Riders in the Chariot evokes the concept of the natural sign (a sign that resembles its referent) in relation to the problem of portraying of the divine. I will first concentrate on the painterly techniques used by White's character Alf Dubbo in his visual depiction of his mystical glimpses of a heavenly chariot. I will discuss the direct influence of French Symbolist theory (that of Odilon Redon, in particular), and the concepts of dissemblance and anagogical interpretation, as described in the critical work of Georges Didi-Huberman. I will pay particular attention to the possibility of a painting evoking the divine without being Œread¹ like a text. I will then shift my focus to White¹s written description of Dubbo¹s chariot painting, in order to understand how his use of ekphrasis, which unites the temporal literary form with the spatial visual medium, serves to encourage the illusion of the reconciliation of the paradox of fixity and flow and, by extension, of the divine in the physical world. This will be considered in relation to the influence of the mystery of Incarnation on religious art and writing.


Marie Bouchet, University of Bordeaux
Marie Bouchet’s PhD thesis was on Vladimir Nabokov. She was given special authorization to study Nabokov’s manuscripts by the writer’s son, and therefore worked extensively in the Library of Congress and New York Public Library. She teaches English and American literature, translation and linguistics at the University of Bordeaux.

Image and Word Crossbreeding: Nabokov’s Subversive Use of the Ekphrasis
Descriptions provide the ideal place for text and image to meet, as they are the prototype of textual images: they are a sort of oxymoron colliding two semiotic modes, the scriptural and the pictorial. In Nabokov‘s fiction, the interaction of the visual and the textual is all the more central as his prose abounds in references to pictorial arts (painting, sculpture, photography, cinema, and even advertising). He repeatedly resorted to the technique of the ekphrasis to weave these images into his words, but gave a subversive turn to the venerable tradition. He teased the reader by describing real paintings that are actually invented, or by making us believe actual canvases to be fakes. The reader‘s role in the deciphering of the ekphrasis should be underscored: indeed it is he who has to perceive the trompe-l’œil in words, navigate between text and image, and replace the canvases within the correct frames of reality or fiction they come from. On a metatextual or meta-artistic level, the vertigo of reality and semblance that dominates nabokovian ekphrases enables the writer to underline the tensions between the real and the fictional, and to remind us of how relative truth is in creation. Moreover, the descriptions of works of art offer a mise en abyme of the creative act itself, and, in Nabokov‘s fiction, they enhance the role of the signifier, which constitutes the very medium for image and word cross-breeding. My paper, which will include showing the visual art Nabokov refers to, thus offers to develop an analysis of the use of the ekphrasis technique by Nabokov, in order to tackle fundamental issues regarding the status of representation itself. By describing representations, Nabokov duplicates the representative process and thus calls attention to its fundamentally paradoxical nature (it re-presents something that is not present), common to both word and image.

Panel 3A: Experiments on the Page
Julia Jordan, University College London

Chair: Kim Howey

Julia Jordan is in the final year of her PhD at UCL. She is writing on chance in the mid-twentieth century novel and its appearance in the work of various writers, including Henry Green, Samuel Beckett, and B.S. Johnson.

‘The Motl’y Emblem of My Work!’ Chance and the Visual in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy
Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne‘s famously haphazard and disordered masterpiece, is perhaps the most famous example of a novel that defies the conventional boundaries between text and the visual. Tristram Shandy contains missing chapters that turn up at the end of the book, missing or blank pages, an entirely black page, squiggly lines to represent the narrative haphazardness of the novel, and one page that has been beautifully marbled for no seeming reason whatever. This myriad of typographical or visual devices is matched by a philosophical and thematic obsession with chance and contingency, with the whole novel interpretable as a satire on the normal narrative workings of cause and effect. Chance is the demonic spirit of the book, stymieing the narrating order and frustrating the characters at every turn. Sterne shows that to represent the chaotic randomness of experience is at odds with the physical fact of the book, and his attempts to slip out of the clutches of predictability is thus closely linked with Tristram Shandy‘s subversion of the conventions of printing and the very ‗boundness‘ of the book. It is this obeisance to life as it is lived, rather than a selective, sequential linear narrative, that makes Tristram Shandy, in Virginia Woolf‘s description of Sterne in The Common Reader, ‗as close to life as we can be‘. This paper will offer a new reading of the relationship between the textual and the visual in Tristram Shandy, by linking the novel‘s characteristic visual outbursts and typographical devices with its preoccupation with chance. I will argue that it is, in fact, the preoccupation that calls forth the innovation, or, that anxiety about chance actually constitutes a significant impetus for Stern‘s joyous typographical trickery.


Adrian Paterson, Oxford University
Since completing an MPhil in Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, Adrian Paterson has been concentrating on the intimate but fraught relationship between words and music. His work investigates questions of orality and performance in poetry, but also considers musical settings, and particularly the formal and symbolic links between music and literature. Currently at Worcester College, Oxford, his DPhil delves into the little known field of W. B. Yeats’s consistent preoccupation with music. He has written the chapter on Yeats (‘Words for Music Perhaps: Yeats, Music, and the Irish Tradition’) in Helen Thompson’s Having Our Own Field Day: Essays on the Irish Canon (2006), and is working towards a comprehensive study of Irish writers and music. Forthcoming publications include ‘Coffined Music: Chamber Music and the Blank Page’ in Joyce’s Poems Reconsidered, edited by Marc Connor.

Not of One Bird But of Many: Musical Notation and Typography in Modernist Poetry
When Stephane Mallarmé, in Un coup de dés, redistributed the lyric poem‘s customary one-third proportion of black type around the remainder of the page, he was following, as he said, a musical imperative. He had created ‗une partition‘, a musical score, in words: a visual representation of music, yes, but as much a verbal expression of the conventions of written music, something that sought at once to harness the possibility of performance, while remaining resolutely unperformed and unperformable. Music affected the formation of modernist poetry not only by its sound but by its patterns of notation, generating a spatial freedom and a revolutionary typography that allowed a new kind of poetic thinking. This paper seeks to trace the specific effects of musical notation on the loosening of both verbal and visual language in poetry. Taking Mallarmé as a starting point, it follows Ezra Pound‘s Imagist experiments in spaced typography to separate out the rhythmic units of poetry, and explains how his study of the manuscripts of troubadour poetry and even the notation of Chinese poetry led to his use of actual musical notation in the Cantos, and of musical notation as a structural principle, culminating in a brief analysis of two late Cantos as a musical score. What the example of music made possible was polyphony, the sound of several voices singing at once, ‗not of one bird but of many‘, as Pound put it. This for both Mallarmé and Pound demanded a new way of describing time in poetry, describing simultaneity, and this led not only to creative typography but a new conception of poetry‘s organization. It was musical notation, finally, that forced upon the poet a rediscovery of the possibilities of the page, and a reanimation of the relationship between words, music, and visual possibility.

Federico Sabatini, University of Turin
Federico Sabatini is completing a PhD dissertation in Comparative Literature at Turin University (Italy). The main topic of his research is the Perception of Space as it is presented and achieved in literary texts. He especially focuses on the works of James Joyce (he has taken part in a number of conferences including the last international Joyce Symposium held in Dublin) in light of other literary methods and techniques, such as Robert Musil’s and Jean Genet’s, and in relation to some philosophical interpretations (Giordano Bruno, Gaston Bachelard, Maurice Merleau-Ponty).

‘To Give Relief to the Langscape’: Verbally Visual Space in James Joyce
The pun ―langscape‖ that I use in the title derives from the fourth book of Finnegans Wake, in which James Joyce combines the words language and landscape in order to suggest a new kind of landscape, which is made possible with words and through words. A verbal landscape as visible as the painterly or the cinematographic one. The ambivalence of the term ―relief‖ refers both to the concept of volume (something that arises from a flat surface) and to the sense of comfort the author feels when he realises the plastic potential of a language able to construct a sculptural effect. Landscape becomes in Joyce a three-dimensional space in which author, characters, and readers can interact. He uses painterly, sculptural, and above all cinematographic techniques and generates a dynamic spatial effect on the readers, who, in their turn, are made able to perceive such a langscape as if it would arise, in motion, from the surface of the written page. My paper aims to explore the subtle relationship between word and image and their overlapping in Joyce‘s early works up to the ultimate point when, in Finnegans Wake, the author sets up his notion of a ―graphplot‖. I will analyse some passages which show how the author uses cinematic devices such as panning or specific montage and thus creates a virtually visible space. In order to explain the aforementioned relationship, I will also consider the views on optic shared by Walter Benjamin (―telescoping the microscopic object‖), Roland Barthes (―The Effect of Real‖) and the ―spatial form‖ critics who underline the (mis)connection of space and time by emphasizing the simultaneity of calligrammes and concrete poems in modernist literature.


Panel 3B: Incorporating the Image
Caroline Webber, University of Liverpool

Chair: Miranda El-Rayess

Caroline Webber completed an MA in renaissance and Romantic Literature (specialising in Gothic literature). She then went on to research Gaston de Blondeville as a part-time research postgraduate at the University of Liverpool. She is in her final year. Her work focuses on the editorial and publication history of the novel, and the production of an editorial version of the text.

Gaston de Blondeville: Non-Illustrated Illuminations
The novel, Gaston de Blondeville, or, The Court of Henry III Keeping Festival in Ardenne by Ann Radcliffe was published posthumously in 1826. It was published in four volumes, along with a memoir of her life written by T.N. Talfourd, a lengthy metrical poem, and several other shorter poems, and without any visual images. Gaston de Blondeville tells the story of the rise and fall of a young knight in the service of King Henry III. Whilst King Henry‘s court is visiting Kenilworth Castle, in Warwickshire, the King is approached by a stranger who accuses the favoured knight Gaston of the murder of his kinsman. This story is purportedly a translation of an illuminated manuscript, contained within a frame narrative. The ‗translation‘ contains detailed descriptions of the images and illuminations the ‗translator‘ has seen on the first page of each section of the manuscript: in essence, words have been used to replace the illustrations, and the text becomes a non-illustrated illuminated manuscript. This paper will be presented in three main parts, and will explore the effect the replacement of illustrations and visual images with written descriptions has on the reader’s engagement and understanding of the text, and Radcliffe’s understanding of an illuminated manuscript and how this has been conveyed to the reader; the broader relationship between the replaced images and their role and purpose within the intricate frame narrative structure; and, the physical presentation of the posthumous text as set for the first publication and the illustrations used in subsequent editions.

Oliver Tearle, Loughborough University
Oliver Tearle is a research student at Loughborough University, and is studying for a PhD on Dickens and theories of laughter. His other interests include comic fiction, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis. He has written for both the British Association for Victorian Studies and the Modern Language Review.

Dickens and the ‘Rapid Diorama’ Effect: Some Words on Pictures from Italy
Dickens‘s writing is peculiarly obsessed with the visual, with caricatures and images represented by the written word. But his work also shares a close relationship with the illustrations which accompanied his novels and stories, illustrations drawn by, among others, Hablot K. Browne and George Cruikshank. There is a strange crossover in Dickens between the ways in which words represent images, and the ways images represent words. What I intend to show, however, is how Dickens‘s collection of travel writing, Pictures from Italy (1846), presents a further crumbling of the boundaries between word and image. Unlike Dickens‘s novels that preceded and succeeded it, Pictures from Italy has no illustrations. There are no pictures in Pictures. The book seems to be compensating for this absence by presenting a plethora of visual scenes and images: these range from the repeated mention of the words ‗picture‘ and ‗picturesque‘ (a word which relates both to a landscape or visual scene, and to the language used to describe that scene), to talk of ‗phantasmagoria‘ and ‗magic-lanterns‘, to the ‗rapid diorama‘ with which the book concludes. I intend to show, through a close reading of several passages from this work, how we might begin to view Dickens‘s travel writing—and, indeed, all his writing—as a kind of ‗rapid diorama‘. This new critical practice, I suggest, involves engaging—after Barthes‘s writing on texts and photography in Camera Lucida, and after Derrida‘s musings on the undecidability of texts and images, notably in The Post Card—with the potential within Victorian (and other) texts for the ‗rapid diorama‘ effect. Such an effect would view certain writing as a textual creation of photographic and cinematic images before the advent of cinema and television, and would show how texts create or suggest images through layout, repetition, and other linguistic features and devices.

Julie Taylor, University of York
Julie Taylor is enrolled on the Modern Literature and Culture M.A. at the University of York after obtaining an undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature at Somerville College, Oxford University. Her interests are primarily in modernist women’s writing and contemporary feminist theory. She is writing her masters thesis on Djuna Barnes—work she wishes to pursue at doctoral level.

‘Making Raids into the Lands of Others’: Virginia Woolf and the Visual Arts
My paper will deal with the influence of the visual arts, particularly the Post-Impressionist movement, on the work of Virginia Woolf. I will consider Woolf‘s close links to the artistic world and, more specifically, the aesthetic and theoretical concerns she shared with both the artists themselves and with the critics who addressed Post-Impressionism, such as Roger Fry and Clive Bell.

9 I will compare the Post-Impressionists‘ break with Impressionism to Woolf‘s attitudes towards nineteenth century literary Realism and look at the similarities in ideas relating to the artistic process and its relation to conscious and unconscious modes of thought. My paper will consider how Woolf writes about visual form, shape, and colour in her work and will look at this in relation to concepts originating in the visual arts, such as Significant Form and the expressionistic use of colour. I will also consider the influence of cinematic expressionism. In looking at her interest in the ‗silent‘ qualities of the visual, I will address the question of what possibilities painting and cinema offered in terms of an escape from language, and will consider the social, political and stylistic implications of such a break, particularly in relation to Woolf‘s engagement with feminist issues. However, I will also make a case for Woolf‘s belief in the unique force offered by language. By looking at Woolf‘s views on how different art forms might inform each other, I will consider the implications of such interdisciplinary ‗borrowing‘. My paper will also address the important issue of the fundamental differences between the two forms, and will ask how useful such comparisons can be.

Panel 4A: Paintings and Museums
Jane Partner, University of Cambridge

Chair: Rosie Goodwin

Jane Partner studied English Literature at Cambridge, and Art History at the Courtauld Institute. She recently completed a PhD at King's College, Cambridge entitled 'Poetry and Vision in England, 1650–1670', and is now continuing interdisciplinary research as well as developing her skills as a practising painter.

‘Poetic Picture, Painted Poetry’: Image and Truth in the Restoration ‘Advice to a Painter’ Poems
During the Restoration, a genre of satires that offers to direct a painter in the depiction of contemporary political events expanded to become the largest body of English poetry that treats the visual arts. Composed by Andrew Marvell (1621–1678), as well as by a multitude of other named and unknown writers, these poems set up a range of uneasy relationships between words and images: for whilst these poets ostensibly sought to instruct the supposedly intellectually inferior discipline of painting, they endeavoured at the same time to appropriate that rival medium‘s potentially dangerous power to represent and to persuade. This paper examines the diverse beliefs about sight, cognition and visual representation that made the ‗Advice to a Painter‘ trope become such a fiercely contested poetic means to express political opinions. According to the heritage of iconoclasm left by the Reformation, images had long been mistrusted in England as dangerously compelling. Yet as is demonstrated in later-seventeenth-century art theory, the subsequent influence of Continental aesthetics meant that this same potent influence of vision over the passions could be reinterpreted as a positive force for moral instruction and political persuasion. In addition to playing out this tension, the ‗Advice to a Painter‘ poems also demonstrate how images could be conceived as representing two antagonistic forms of truth: either as idealised mental conceptions, which represent things as they ought to be, or as closely observed visual perceptions made from a radically critical viewpoint. Literary portraits of contemporary political figures were informed by all these contradictory paradigms, and thus in depicting authority, poets also examined the contending authority of visual and verbal depictions.

Kate Hext, University of Exeter
Kate Hext read Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University and is currently researching her PhD in Exeter University’s School of English. The focus of her work is to present a reappraisal of Walter Pater’s philosophy and aesthetics.

Painting and Literary Art in the Aestheticism Movement
The Aestheticism Movement initiated a momentous phase in the relationship between painting and the written word in the late nineteenth century. Inspired by the energy of Renaissance painting and Impressionism‘s affirmation of formalism, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, and Arthur Symons—Aestheticism‘s main protagonists— sought to bring these qualities to heighten the aspirations of ‗literary art‘. My paper explores how and to what effect Pater, Wilde, and Symons achieved this in the cultural context of the fin de siècle. I seek to address the genealogy and implications of their aesthetic with reference to the personal friendships between Pater and Simeon Soloman, and Wilde and Whistler. Their fusions of the visual and the literary have both immediate and theoretical effects. In the first case, cultivation of the visual sense creates the vivid mind-images evident in such pieces as Wilde‘s Picture of Dorian Gray and Pater‘s poetical Mona Lisa in The Renaissance. Despite contemporary technologies that made book illustration possible, the aesthetes chose to translate famous and powerful images into subjective mental images

10 through their words. For they do not merely describe visual art; their ambitions were not so modest. In their various ways, they translate painting into words so that the reader must recreate each painting in the subjective mind‘s eye; to transcend the merely intellectual act of reading, into the rapt contemplation of the visual sense. The theoretical effects, discussed by Pater and Wilde in their critical works, is to dissolve fixed boundaries between the arts. The way that they achieve this radicalises Ruskin‘s ut pictura poesis into an aspirational theory that ‗all the arts are one‘ and sets the terms of Modernism in literature. My presentation uses slides including da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa, Whistler‘s Nocturnes and Van Gogh‘s Street Café at Night.

Sylvia Lahav
Since 1987, Sylvia Lahav has worked in the field of museum education as curator of adult learning at Tate, as senior education officer at the National Gallery, and currently as organiser of the adult programme at the National Portrait Gallery. She has lectured in Italy, France, Finland, and Slovakia and has written many academic papers on museum-related issues.

The Writing’s on the Wall
In line with exceptional increases in visitor numbers to many of the UK‘s major museums and galleries of art, government commitment to the continuation of free entrance and a growing awareness that ‗access for all‘ is a fundamental requirement for all museum strategy and policy-making, has developed a dramatic increase in levels of ‗interpretation‘. Where once curators wrote the bare necessity of captions and accompanying texts for the works they chose to display, now dedicated persons, if not whole departments, are devoted to the task of interpreting. Interpretation is the museum‘s favoured child, to hold within its reach the power to provide the necessary understanding of what we see, by what we read, for all who visit. Multi-cultural, multi-perspectival and multi-functional, new interpretation strategies are confident that they, and only they, can make art accessible to all. But what exactly is this increase in text-based interpretative material adding to the experience of looking at art? Is it simply providing a quick exchange of word for image, reducing the complexity of looking at art, to bite-size ‗understanding‘, encouraging those who come to museums to treat their visit more like reading a magazine or short pamphlet than embracing an experience that involves looking and concentrating? Is the current emphasis on written interpretation based on democratic elitist attitudes and abhorrence of white cube arrogance or cleverly disguised equally elitist attitudes which designate museum professionals as the sole ‗interpreters‘ of cultural experience? This paper will examine the necessity and desirability of increasingly dominant text based interpretative materials in museums of art and ask questions about an apparent growing acceptance that visual images must be interpreted, translated or explained by persons with superior knowledge or clearer ways of seeing, if museums are to be acknowledge as democratic and accessible for all.

Panel 4B: Feminist Readings
Sarah Bonner, Manchester University

Chair: Lisa Migo

Sarah Bonner obtained her BA and MPhil in Art History at the University of Liverpool. She has been a lecturer in Art History at both St. Martin’s College, Lancastar, and the Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Carlisle, for the past five years, teaching historical and contextual studies across a wide range of disciplines. Since 2004 Sarah has been studying for a PhD at the University of Manchester. Her thesis examines the recent resurgence in the use of themes and tropes from fairy tales in contemporary visual culture in Europe and America. She argues that this resurgence is linked to an interest in rethinking gendered identity.

Re-Inventing / Re-Claiming Red Riding Hood
Approaching the question ‗In what ways have texts and images responded to one another?‘ this paper proposes an investigation into the visual responses to the Grimm Brothers‘ fairy tale ‗Little Red Riding Hood‘. Taking this as a starting point, I will discuss how the vital and repetitive use of symbols has settled, through extensive textual and visual dissemination, into the collective consciousness of the Western world. In addition, the recent visual revisions that are challenging the established fairy tale tradition will also be explored. Visual illustrations of fairy tales have served to reinforce the tales‘ moralistic message, and have captured the main thrust of the texts through carefully selected and repeated images. More recently, there has been a shift in visual responses to the Grimm‘s fairy tales from a tendency to comply with the basic parameters of the myths to an attitude of parody or critique. Increasingly fairy tales are being visually appropriated in order to subvert the nineteenth-century cultural values expounded in the Grimm‘s tales, reflecting a shift in cultural attitude. The visual responses to ‗Little Red Riding Hood‘ explore the relationship between girl and beast interrogating the implicated behaviour patterns presented by the symbols of traditional texts.

11 In the case of ‗Little Red Riding Hood‘, it is the red cape and the wolf that instantly identify the tale to the reader/viewer. Artists such as Paula Rego and Kiki Smith have responded to the text as well as to recent cultural pressures, commenting on gender roles through visual subversions of the traditional fairy tale. These artists‘ responses to ‗Little Red Riding Hood‘ create a dialogue of identity and discrimination, engaging the Grimm‘s concept that appearances aren‘t always what they seem.

Silke Binias, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Silke Binias studied English and German in Duisburg and Belfast (1995–2000), and has worked since 2000 as a part-time lecturer in the English department of the Universität Duisburg-Essen. She is currently awaiting the oral exam for her doctorate. Her main areas of research are: Romantic and Victorian Literature; Images of Women in English Literature from the Renaissance to the 21st Century; Euro-American Relations in the Arts; Representations of War and Genocide in the Arts; The Construction and Determination of Cultural Identities; and Movie Analysis and Cultural Semiotics.

Beauty and the Beast: Rossetti’s Double Victorian Lilith and Contradictory Text-Image Relations
Established ekphrastic interpretations of D.G. Rossetti's two representations of Lilith, the painting ―Lady Lilith‖ and the sonnet inscribed onto its frame, declare that the text descriptively amplifies the femme fatale in the picture. This paper, though, deals with the isotopic clash between text and image. The text-image relations here are not complementary. They are contradictory. It will be argued that Rossetti's double work of art shows the process of constructing gender stereotypes in the context of the motif of the fatal woman precisely because it is based on the different semantic and semiotic implications of the visual and the verbal portrait of Lilith. Read as the monologue interieur of an art spectator, the poem turns an iconic representation of feminine beauty into symbolic cultural codes of fatal femininity. In applying Barthes’ theory of myths, the text is seen as selling culturally specific connotations of “Body's Beauty” as denotative meanings to demonise female sexuality. Thus, the two Liliths are a critical comment on what, in the twentieth century, was labeled spectatorship theory and, in particular, on Berger's “surveyed female” and Mulvey’s concept of the patriarchal gaze in art. Rossetti's Lilith portrayals make explicit a biased response to images of women. They also exemplify that meaning does not reside within images but is constructed at the moment of consumption. In employing contradictory textimage relations, my findings strongly disagree with traditional feminist readings. What was said to be a stellar example of poetic and artistic misogyny in fact pre-empts feminists accusing Rossetti of endorsing the objectification of women, male voyeurism and its chauvinist mechanics. The poem explicitly turns a canvas into a projection surface for male interpretations. Hence, Rossetti in a sense undertakes the Victorian ancestor of images-of-women criticism.

Sue Smith, University of Leicester
Sue Smith studied her first degree at De Montfort University in the Humanities: History of Art and Design. She completed an MA in Humanities at the University of Leicester and is currently in the English Department studying her PhD. Her work looks at Science Fiction Literature and Film from a feminist perspective.

Mary Kelly’s ‘Post-Partum Document’ 1978: Feminist Literary Theory Meets the Visual Arts
During the late 1960s and early 1970s a historical shift occurred in the visual arts. It was a moment when Conceptual Art emerged during the economic and political upheavals that began to shift focus away from class politics to eventually give way to issues surrounding gender and race. Consequently, artists began to reconsider their role within society and dominant ideas circulated within the art community began to be challenged. Following current trends in literary and cultural theory, artists and art groups (such as Art & Language), understood language to be invested with cultural power, and as a political strategy, it was time to relegate the problems of the visual to ‗the attention of conservative interests.‘ In short, painting and the practice of imagemaking gave way to concerns over how individuals and institutions were represented and constructed through language and the aim was to disrupt these representations through language itself. In this moment of concern over the institutionalisation of art, seeing art robbed of its potential for critical analysis, feminist artists began to incorporate theories about language to explore how gendered subjectivities are constructed within language. A major work by Mary Kelly titled ‗Post-Partum Document‘ (1978) is an example of such art work which prioritised language over painterly concerns in order to examine how the feminine is constructed through motherhood. In this interesting work, demonstrating how feminist artists used language to articulate and think through concerns specific to women and women‘s practices, this paper seeks to explain how and why language was so important to the visual arts during this time.

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