Ronja Tripp

Mirroring the Lamp

Literary Visuality, Strategies of Visualizations, and Scenes of Observation in Interwar Narratives



This study offers, firstly, a model for literary visuality and visualizations based on reception theory. It takes its cues from phenomenological reception aesthetics and combines the central notion of meaning being “imagistic in character” (Iser) with concepts from cultural theory (such as symbolic forms) as well as from recent picture theory, media studies, and cognitive narratology. Several concepts and analytical categories are developed and tested heuristically in the case studies, such as logic of disruption, scenes of observation, or narrative strategies of visualizations.

Secondly, the novels Vile Bodies (Waugh), Brighton Rock (Greene) and Burmese Days (Orwell) offer a complementary insight into interwar literary visuality. The novels are concerned with visuality both on a thematic and structural level. Additionally, the narrative strategies take readerly visualizations into account. Those strategies challenge not only practices of seeing or politics of visual concepts, but also evoke literary precursors and their visualizations. Hence, this study contributes to a yet unwritten history of literary visuality and suggests furthermore the notion of visual intertextuality.


ISBN 978-3-86821-485-7, kt., 312 S., € 34,50 (2013)

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