TitleLooking through words
NameJacob, Nellickal Abraham (author), Galperin, William (chair), Flint, Kate (internal member), Siegel, Jonah (internal member), Heffernan, James A. W. (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
Visual perception in literature,
English literature--19th century--History and criticism
Description“Looking Through Words” explores the intersection of the literary and the visual in
the nineteenth century—a period distinguished by an unprecedented investment in new visual technologies that created and fed the demand for mechanically produced images in an increasingly lucrative visual culture. But alongside this exponential increase in specular technologies, which seemed to release the image from intentional control, the nineteenth century was also witness to a range of intellectual developments that relocated the idea of sight to an increasingly psychologized register of mental images. Literature in the nineteenth-century represents an important venue for the elaboration
and mediation of the high stakes involved in this partitioning of the visual image. Even while marking its distance from the exponential growth in technologies of commercial reproduction, literature finds itself frequently engaged with the idea of visual image. My dissertation is about the enduring drive within the literary to re-visit this breach in the idea of the visual. It tracks four different literary engagements with the modalities of this internal division over the course of the nineteenth century. While the first chapter examines the unique word-picture experiments of Blake’s illuminated poetry, the second analyzes Shelley’s ekphrastic poem “On the Medusa of Leonardo Da Vinci” and places it
against the broader canvas of Romantic ekphrastic poetry. The third chapter places Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray alongside nineteenth-century photography and explores the novel’s discursive engagement with the legal debates on copyright and authorship occasioned by the advent of photography. My final chapter extends this analysis of literature and photography through an examination of the magic-picture tradition—a literary sub-genre consisting primarily of short fictional texts preoccupied with paintings or photographs that behave out of character. In all four chapters the visual is the site of a conceptual turbulence that occasions a re-negotiation of the modalities through which real and imagined images inhabit literary forms.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Nellickal Abraham Jacob
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.