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Title: 'Falling indelibly into the past' : ekphrastic encounters in contemporary writing
Author: Blunden, Victoria Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 1564
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis explores the image-text dynamic in contemporary writing through critical analysis of the ekphrastic encounter in the work of three writers - John Banville, Don DeLillo and W.G. Sebald - and through my own creative meditations on found photographs. It examines the function of described and reproduced visual forms in fiction, treating encounters with images as sites of complex dynamism that can be unravelled and illuminated through close reading. In the three chapters at the heart of the thesis I am concerned with tracing the shifts and subtleties of a specifically contemporary visual poetics. All three writers share the imperative to create a new set of relations between the verbal and the visual. Their fictions are informed by the history of the relationship between images and the written word, and thrive on the ambiguities and tensions of that evolving relation. In the creative chapters I explore the balance of power between word and image through ekphrastic writing on photographs that are reproduced in the text. My writing echoes the critical concerns of the thesis, setting the word-image dynamic in motion and experimenting with different modes and registers. Throughout the thesis I am concerned with marking out the central tensions of the ekphrastic encounter, examining how questions of representation, the visible and invisible, the sayable and the unsayable, the retrospective and the acutely innovative, are held in intricate balance by the verbal-visual dynamic, a balance captured in the peculiarly contradictory and suggestive phrase 'falling indelibly into the past'. Travelling in image-text encounters through the work of these three writers and through my own experiments in fiction I produce an illustrated analysis of a contemporary visual poetics, one that illuminates the extraordinary capacities of the written word.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available