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Title: A Way of Seeing: Modernism, Illustration, and Postcolonial Literature
Authors: Hyde, Emily
Advisors: Gikandi, Simon
DiBattista, Maria
Contributors: English Department
Keywords: Illustration
Mid-century Literature
Postcolonial Literature
Subjects: Literature
British and Irish literature
Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: A Way of Seeing explores the illustrated text's disruptive otherness in the aftermath of high European modernism. The period between 1930 and 1960 in English literature bridges the exuberance of high modernism and the cosmopolitan gusto of the postcolonial novel, and yet it is often characterized as an empty interval, populated by belated modernists, retro realists, and unsophisticated colonial writers. A Way of Seeing rewrites the story of this mid-century period by studying the mutual estrangement between verbal and graphic images on the pages of the illustrated text. The vexed visuality of these texts is the ground upon which mid-century writers figure the difficulty of orienting the self outwards, towards the world. The writers in this study--Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, George Lamming, Denis Williams, V.S. Naipaul, and Chinua Achebe--all include illustrations in order to complicate the representational codes they inherit. In A Way of Seeing, illustration is both a formal device and a theoretical tool used to pry open the overlapping rhetoric of realist, documentary, modernist, and postcolonial representational strategies at midcentury. My focus on the phenomenology of illustration and material, archival form reveals that mid-century literature found its own distinctive balance between modernism's legacies and realism's imperatives. Illustration raises the question of priority; it interrupts and juxtaposes competing representational claims on the same page. It turns the visual image into a field of conflict between orders of representation and between histories of seeing and being seen. The importance given to the visual image in mid-century British and Anglophone literature is a crucial legacy of high modernism, one that indicates new ways of understanding the globalization of the novel in English by the end of the twentieth century.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:English

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