"Painting and writing have much to tell each other"
On the Conceptualization of Personal Identity in Modernist Painting and Literature
There are only very few questions that have such a fundamental ontological relevance as has the question “Who am I?” Ordinary people, artists, and philosophers alike have been trying to come up with answers to this problem, which becomes particularly prominent in times of crisis. It is the scope of the present study to examine how painters and writers of Modernism, i.e. of an epoch that was explicitly understood by contemporaries as a central threshold in history, conceptualized the nature of the human being, thereby focussing especially on the breaking-up of the seemingly ‘unitary’ or ‘monadic’ character of the individual. Works by painters such as Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso are analysed alongside various works by Gertrude Stein, most centrally her monumental The Making of Americans, and Virginia Woolf in order to detect an intermedially comparable Modernist Menschenbild. This in turn, it is argued, is not so much the result of a wilful transposition d’art by either the painters or the writers, but rather the result of an artistic preference for poetically “opened forms,” a theory of which is proposed as a possible cultural-historical approach to Intermediality.
ISBN 978-3-86821-379-9, kt., 320 S., € 33,50 (2012)
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