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(Schriftenreihe Literaturwissenschaft; 96)


Nataliya Gorbina
The Ekphrastic Gaze in British Postmodern Fiction


From the appreciation of female beauty as Botticellian to the acknowledgement of the Van-Goghian pathos of Provençal landscapes, the ekphrastic gaze of a British postmodern observer offers a socioculturally conditioned vision of artistically/aesthetically modified reality. Looking at over thirty works including Julian Barnes's Metroland (1980), John Fowles's The Magus (1965), and Michael Frayn's Headlong (1999), this book addresses the phenomenon of the 'ekphrastic gaze' and provides a comprehensive survey of its poetics and politics in British postmodern fiction.

Drawing upon a combination of theories and approaches from Literary Studies, Art Studies, Cultural Studies, and the Social Sciences, this study investigates the ways in which the ekphrastic gaze contributes to the (de-/re-)construction of a broad variety of iconographical and iconological meanings within the all-encompassing shift from modernism/modernity towards postmodernism/postmodernity in British fiction. It introduces the concept of the postmodern chronotope of the (pseudo-)connoisseurial quest and the character type of the (Pseudo-)Connoisseur that this chronotope relies on; delineates the functions of the ekphrastic gaze as a deconstructionist reading tool; and, last but not least, sheds light on the meta-ekphrastic interplay between the fictional ekphrastic discourse and the metanarratives of Art History, Art Theory, and Aesthetics through the recycling of socioculturally prevalent and authoritative formulae of artistic/aesthetic perception.


ISBN 978-3-86821-922-7, 192 S., kt., € 29,50 (2021)


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