Elizabeth Bowen and the art of visuality

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Waldron, Michael John
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University College Cork
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This thesis is the first sustained assessment of Elizabeth Bowen’s writing from a visual perspective. By first compiling a visual biography of the author, I argue that Bowen’s responsiveness to art, her relationships with artists, and her knowledge of modern and traditional aesthetics are formative influences on her work. Investigating her assertion that she was a “visual writer,” my discussion develops into an examination of her technique of “verbal painting” through which she reinvents traditional visual modes as a personal modernist idiom. Close textual analysis of Bowen’s fictions forms the dominant methodology of this thesis and facilitates my delineation of her engagement with the Futurist and Surrealist aesthetics in addition to broader aspects of her visuality, including her treatment of the “vividly visual” dream-state to the distinct ocularcentricity of her writing. Ultimately, this thesis seeks to advance our knowledge of Bowen’s visual method and to offer a new approach in which to nuance our understanding of her modernism
Elizabeth Bowen , Anglo-Irish literature , Futurism , Visuality , Visual literature , Modernist literature , Modernism , Verbal painting , Twentieth-century literature
Waldron, M. J. 2016. Elizabeth Bowen and the art of visuality. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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