What happens in the brain when you read ekphrastic and pictorial poetry? Ekphrasis is a verbal representation of a visual, iconic and static representation, whereas pictorialism is a phenomenon that occurs when the reality of the fictive world, either psychological or physical, in the text is represented as image. Both are intermedial concepts; in various ways and to various degrees, ekphrastic and pictorial texts refer to and represent static, visual, iconic media such as painting, photography and sculpture. The question is what kind of mental imagery these types of texts are able to conjure up before the inner eye of the reader. How does the brain treat verbal visual descriptions? What do real images and mental images have in common?
Emma Tornborg attempts to answer these and other relevant questions, and in the process intermedial and cognitive theories are approached. Furthermore, she explores how temporality is affected when an image is transformed into words, which leads to the question of how different media represent time.
EMMA TORNBORG is a lecturer and researcher in comparative literature at the Department of Film and Literature, Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden. This is her PhD thesis.
What Literature Can Make Us See: Poetry, Intermediality, Mental Imagery
160 pages | October 2014
Format 145×218 mm | Paperback
Cover design Lena Halldenius
Cover illustration Hedvig Halldenius