Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Subjectivity and symbolism : a reconsideration of the figure in the art and poetry of David Jones (1895-1974)
Author: Douglas, Melissa Claire
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2005
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
Since the birth of David Jones scholarship in the 1930s, research into the Anglo-Welsh artist has often overlooked the motif of the human figure, focussing instead upon the visual lure of landscape and still life, or the complex strands of religious, mythological and nationalistic concerns woven into Jones’s poetic oeuvre. Readings of the figure have been clouded by misleading generalisations and long-standing assumptions about the subject’s form, function and identity. Conscious of the artist’s participation in the First World War, his battle with psychological illness, and his acute sense of personal isolation, scholars have invariably dismissed drawings and watercolours of the figure - in particular those of the female - as self-indulgent, regarding them as therapeutic in function and stylistically insignificant. Excessively reliant upon the Aristotelian notion of gender principles and Freudian methods of psychoanalysis, interpretations of those characters portrayed in Jones’s poetry have been equally limiting and reductive. In response to the oversights and inadequacies of existing criticism, this thesis redirects critical attention onto the motif of the figure, exploring both its physical capacity to trace the growth and maturation of Jones’s style, and the specific ways in which the figure reflects and is conditioned by the intricacies of the artist’s biography and ideology. After an extensive examination of Jones scholarship to date, a comprehensive survey of the figure is presented, charting the development of both male and female figures in strictly formal terms, highlighting stylistic trends in their textual and visual representation, and drawing parallels with the work of other artists and poets within Jones’s cultural milieu. Considering the painter-poet’s apparent contempt for self-expression in the creation of the artistic product, the thesis then proceeds to examine the figure as a symbolic motif. With reference to the artist’s interpretation of Roman Catholic doctrine, and his apparently uneasy and ambiguous relationship with the nude, consistent attempts on behalf of the artist to deny any emotional or subjective identification with the figure are discussed. Such distinct feelings of ambivalence towards the figure are then pursued further in the final stages of the thesis, where a selection of preliminary sketches of the female body are closely analysed in the light of post-Freudian psychoanalytic theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available