Ekphrasis through Otherness

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The transformation of imagery through postcolonial Ekphrastic blindness as a reflection of the westernization of poetry in Derek Walcott`s work.

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Ekphrasis through Otherness

  1. 1. “EKPHRASIS THROUGH OTHERNESS:THE TRANSFORMATION OF IMAGERY IN DEREK WALCOTT’S POETRY” Leandro Zago
  2. 2. • Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms: imagery, a rather vague critical term covering those uses of language in a literary work that evoke sense‐ impressions by literal or figurative reference to perceptible or ‘concrete’ objects, scenes, actions, or states, as distinct from the language of abstract argument or exposition. The imagery of a literary work thus comprises the set of images that it uses; these need not be mental ‘pictures’, but may appeal to senses other than sight. The term has often been applied particularly to the figurative language used in a work, especially to its metaphors and similes. Images suggesting further meanings and associations in ways that go beyond the fairly simple identifications of metaphor and simile are often called symbols. The critical emphasis on imagery in the mid‐ 20th century, both in New Criticism and in some influential studies of Shakespeare, tended to glorify the supposed concreteness of literary works by ignoring matters of structure, convention, and abstract argument: thus Shakespeares plays were read as clusters or patterns of ‘thematic imagery’ according to the predominance of particular kinds of image (of animals, of disease, etc.), without reference to the action or to the dramatic meaning of characters speeches. See also motif.
  3. 3. Imagery Imagery in postcolonial* poetry reading is usually aligned through the squint of cultural identity.*Postcolonial studies in this investigation will berestricted to the concept of otherness and the Caribbean culture.
  4. 4. Identifiable aspects of cultural identity, e.g., resembling physiological and moral generalizations of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, class,and nationality, may limit/restrain poetic imagery response construction in postcolonial poetry within the social realm only. Pablo Picasso. Girl Before a Mirror. 1932. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Arts, New York, NY, USA.
  5. 5. Holub (1984) pointed out: “The literary work is neither completely textnor completely the subjectivity of the reader, but a combination or mergerof the two” (84). The overall context of the proposed investigation concerns ekphrasis, and otherness.
  6. 6. DefinitionEkphrasis is a verbal representation of a visualrepresentation through language of senseexperience.Otherness is a culturist trap.
  7. 7. http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/0415270618/pdf/theme2.pdf
  8. 8. The Specific ContextThe specific context of this investigation is words generating images in Walcott’s collection of poems White Egrets.
  9. 9. “Who has removed the typewriter from my desk,so that I am a musician without his piano with emptiness ahead as clear and grotesque as another spring? My veins bud, and I am sofull of poems, a wastebasket of black wire” (White Egrets 47).
  10. 10. Review of LiteratureMitchell’s (1990) Iconology: Image, text, ideology; Ekphrasis and the Other, Chicago U. P.Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin (2000), Post- Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts;Hall, S. (1996) Who Needs Identity. Questions of Cultural Identity. Eds. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay. London: SAGE.• ___. (1989). Ethnicity: Identity and Difference. Radical America. Cheeken, Stephen. Writing for Art: The Aesthetics of Ekphrasis. Manchester U.P.; 1st edition (January 6, 2009);
  11. 11. ObjectivesThe overall objective of this investigation is an ekphrastic literary analysis of the interrelation between imagery and words in poetry.The specific objective is to investigate imagination (the manifestation of otherness in reading and understanding) tuning/aligning imagery in Walcott’s White Egrets.
  12. 12. Hypothesis• The hypothesis is that the images of the white egrets, of Saint Lucia, and of Walcott himself seem to be portrayed as “pieces of a puzzle” put together as one, in that the concepts of imagery, ekphrasis, and otherness converge therein. Nevertheless, this apparent connection brought into oneness is also multiplicity through which identities may manifest in “each piece”.
  13. 13. “Let the torn poems sail from you like aflock/of white egrets in a long last sigh ofrelief/watch these egrets/stalk the lawn in adishevelled troop, white banners/forlornlytrailing their flags; they are the bleachedregrets/of an old mans memoirs, theirunwritten stanzas./ Pages gusting like wingson the lawn, wide open secrets" (65).
  14. 14. Significance of the Research• The scientific significance of this research lies on the fact that reader’s response and visuality building imagery seem to be treated separately in the literary field.• MA research at PGI contemplating Ekphrasis and Walcott.• Personal.
  15. 15. PROCEDURES• This is a theoretical research;• Identification and definition the main hypothetical aspects which encompass this research;• Annotated reading of the selected poems in the search of images and motifs.
  16. 16. PROBABLE CONTENTS• Introduction;• Chapter 2- “For an ekphrastic poetry”;• Chapter 3: “The postcolonial camera: otherized distorted lens”;• Conclusion.
  17. 17. REFERENCES• Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin. (2000). Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts. London and New York: Routledge.• Baer, William. Conversations with Derek Walcott. University Press of Mississipi, 1996. USA.• Bosi, A. (1977). O ser e o tempo da poesia. São Paulo. Cultrix: Ed. Da Universidade de São Paulo.• Cheeken, Stephen. Writing for Art: The Aesthetics of Ekphrasis. Manchester U.P.; 1st edition (January 6, 2009).• Hall, S. (1996) Who Needs Identity. Questions of Cultural Identity. Eds. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay. London: SAGE.• ___. (1989). Ethnicity: Identity and Difference. Radical America: 23.4: 9-20.• Heffernan, James A. W. (2006). Cultivating picturacy: visual art and verbal interventions. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press.• Heffernan, James A. W. (1993). Museum of words: the poetics of ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery. London: The University of Chicago Press, Ltd.• Hollander, J. (1981). Rhymes Reason: A Guide to English Verse. New York: Yale University Press.• Holub, Robert C. (1984) Reception Theory: A Critical Introduction. London and New York: Methuen.• Kyle, K. (2009). Ezra Pound And The Rhetoric Of Science, 1901–1922. Howey University College London. Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy in European Studies, University College London.• Loizeaux, Elizabeth B. (2008). Twentieth-Century Poetry and the Visual Arts. Cambridge: University Press.• Meléndez, M. (2002). Mapping Colonial Spanish America: Places and Commonplaces of Identity, Culture and Experience. (Co-editor). Bucknell: University Press.• Mitchell, W. J. T. (1990). Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Univ. Of Chicago Press.• Mitchell, W.J.T. (1994). Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation. Univ. Of Chicago Press.• Mitchell, W. J. T. (1994). Ekphrasis and the Other, from PICTURE THEORY. The University of Chicago Press.• Paz, Octavio. (2003). El Arco y La Lira. Fondo de Cultura Económica. México: D.F.• Said, Edward W. (1978). Orientalism. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. Library. London: University College.• Walcott, Derek. (2010). White Egrets. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  18. 18. THANK YOU!

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