Jean-Luc Nancy on thinking and touching art
Johanna Malt

11 Ekphrasis/exscription: Jean-Luc Nancy on thinking and touching art Johanna Malt The central paradox of ekphrasis, at least if we approach it in what W. J. T. Mitchell calls the indifferent mode, is that writing a visual image into language is also writing it out.1 In the incorporation into language, the work of visual art is evoked, made present in a transposed, translated, re-processed form, but in its visual essence it is also excluded. The visual image becomes an absence around which another system – that of language – temporarily organizes itself. Indeed

in Ekphrastic encounters
New interdisciplinary essays on literature and the visual arts

This book offers a comprehensive reassessment of ekphrasis: the verbal representation of visual art. In the past twenty-five years numerous books and articles have appeared covering different aspects of ekphrasis, with scholars arguing that it is a fundamental means by which literary artists have explored the nature of aesthetic experience. However, many critics continue to rely upon the traditional conception of ekphrasis as a form of paragone (competition) between word and image. This interdisciplinary collection seeks to complicate this critical paradigm, and proposes a more reciprocal model of ekphrasis that involves an encounter or exchange between visual and textual cultures. This critical and theoretical shift demands a new form of ekphrastic poetics, which is less concerned with representational and institutional struggles, and more concerned with ideas of ethics, affect, and intersubjectivity. The book brings together leading scholars working in the fields of literary studies, art history, modern languages, and comparative literature, and offers a fresh exploration of ekphrastic texts from the Renaissance to the present day. The chapters in the book are critically and methodologically wide-ranging; yet they share an interest in challenging the paragonal model of ekphrasis that has been prevalent since the early 1990s, and establishing a new set of theoretical frameworks for exploring the ekphrastic encounter.

Ekphrasis and historical materiality in Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece
Rachel Eisendrath

1 ‘Lamentable objects’: ekphrasis and historical materiality in Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece Rachel Eisendrath Behold the angel Gabriel in Pietro Aretino’s 1537 ekphrasis of Titian’s (now lost) painting of the annunciation: He, filling everything with light and shining in the inn with a marvelous new radiance, bows so sweetly with a gesture of reverence that we are forced to believe that he presented himself before Mary in this way. He has heavenly majesty in his face and his cheeks tremble in the tenderness composed of milk and blood, which the blending

in Ekphrastic encounters
Ekphrastic encounters in Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy
Richard Meek

early modern ‘metadrama’, and celebrated for its visually striking dramatic emblems, the play is also noteworthy for its interest in ekphrasis, and thus offers an especially fruitful case study for reconsidering the relationship between narrative, dramatic, and pictorial art.3 Kyd’s interest in mimetic interplay is extended in the so-called ‘Painter scene’ that appears in the 1602 quarto. This is the most obviously ekphrastic moment in the play, in which its protagonist, Hieronimo, encounters a Painter and commissions a visual artwork based on his plight. Critics of

in Ekphrastic encounters
Ekphrasis, readers, ‘iconotexts’
Claus Clüver

12 On gazers’ encounters with visual art: ekphrasis, readers, ‘iconotexts’1 Claus Clüver Some twenty years ago, responding to the recent books on ekphrasis by Murray Krieger and James Heffernan, I presented a long conference paper entitled ‘Ekphrasis Reconsidered: On Verbal Representations of Non-Verbal Texts’ in which I proposed a rather radical revision of the concept of ‘ekphrasis’ underlying those earlier studies.2 Although reducing a concept to a single phrase without further commentary and explanation is always likely to lead to misunderstandings, it is

in Ekphrastic encounters
Ekphrasis and Laocoön digressions in the novel
Catriona MacLeod

5 Blind spots of narration? Ekphrasis and Laocoön digressions in the novel Catriona MacLeod Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Laocoön essay of 1766 has long been understood as a pivotal moment in the classical demarcation of the spatializing properties of plastic arts, its dwelling in and on ‘the frozen moment’, versus the temporal or narrative properties of literature.1 In a departure from long-standing theories of equivalence or convertibility between visual and verbal arts (such as the soonto-be-eclipsed ut pictura poesis tradition), Lessing insisted, via a

in Ekphrastic encounters
Stanley Spencer’s ‘ordinary’ ekphrases
Liliane Louvel

coupled with an aesthetic one. To put this another way, it is a means of finding a common ground that exists between language and the visual – or what Ernest Gilman termed ‘a commonplace middleground’.7 It is the locus of the ekphrastic encounter, construed as the place where, thanks to ekphrasis, within ekphrasis itself, a hybrid way of coupling language with the visual is performed. The ekphrastic encounter has developed and found its favoured place within literature, whether in poetry, fiction, or drama. It is a moment of encounter between language and the visual

in Ekphrastic encounters
Ekphrasis and mortality in Andrew Marvell
Keith McDonald

3 ‘Art indeed is long, but life is short’: ekphrasis and mortality in Andrew Marvell Keith McDonald Andrew Marvell, the seventeenth-century poet, politician, and prose satirist, demonstrates throughout his work a profound connection with the full range of visual arts.1 Amid scenes of extreme political upheaval in the mid-seventeenth century and new dawns of scientific, technological, and astrological discovery, the visual remains at the heart of his poetic imagination. His verse combines these various cultural phenomena, often rapt with the self-conscious irony

in Ekphrastic encounters
Abstract only
Peter Barry

9.  Poems and pictures This chapter concerns poems which are about an art object. It may be a vase, a piece of sculpture, or, more frequently, a painting or photo­graph, hence the chapter title. This kind of work is now usually called ekphrastic poetry. The word ‘ekphrasis’ is derived from Greek roots, ek, meaning ‘out’, and phrasis, meaning ‘speech’, and hence denotes an act of description, a ‘speaking out’ or speaking plain. It is given to this kind of writing because these poems often begin with something like a description of the object, before going on to

in Reading poetry
Raymond Pettibon’s drawing-writing
Tilo Reifenstein

10 The graphics of ekphrastic writing: Raymond Pettibon’s drawing-writing Tilo Reifenstein Ekphrastic discourse is commonly posited on an underlying, rarely questioned supposition, that of a categorical difference between verbal and – I am tempted to say so-called – sensuous representation. Ekphrasis, whether in James Heffernan’s oft-quoted dictum ‘the verbal representation of a visual representation’, John B. Bender’s ‘literary descriptions of real or imagined works of visual art’, Leo Spitzer’s ‘the reproduction, through the medium of words, of sensuously

in Ekphrastic encounters