Pictures on the wall of my life : photographs to life writing to fiction, an ekphrastic journey

Rader Overman, Linda (2013) Pictures on the wall of my life : photographs to life writing to fiction, an ekphrastic journey. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This study investigates the practice of writing a novel with its starting point in family photographs. It consists of the novel itself in latest draft form as well as a theoretical commentary on the writing of it. The particular focus for discussion is how the visual informs the written text and how the visual and verbal together become ‘imagetext’.1 The novel is narrated in the first person by Lily Adams who learns from the many ancestral portraits in black and white that line the halls of her childhood home that what they embody is not visually representative of a past she has been encouraged to believe in, but rather of one she is now forced to question as the pictures speak to her, in their own voices, of a world re-focused through their own lens.
A critical commentary follows in three chapters: a chapter on ‘punctum’ discusses motivation and photography as a technical and creative driver for this work, and the following one on ‘ekphrasis’ makes literary connections between two main drafts, one in third person (see Appendix) and the other (latest) in first person, looking in detail at the way ‘ekphrasis’ or visual to verbal translation has developed in these two versions. The growth of the idea from earlier beginnings is traced and related to the notion of ekphrasis as it has shaped the later drafts. The concluding chapter on ‘ekphrastic realism’ draws these strands together by making an attempt to situate my novel within the canonical intersection of ekphrasis and magical realism. These make a contribution to an understanding of the concept of ekphrasis by way of ekphrastic writing, known merely as an obscure literary genre.

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Thesis (PhD)
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30 Oct 2014 09:30
Last Modified:
11 Jun 2019 01:42