The clear cut distinction between texts literature and images art has been challenged by a culture saturated with television and by an increased emphasis on interdisciplinary studies From the viewpoint of our present culture, the author suggests, we can now see how some of the great writers and artists of the past overstepped the boundaries of the media in which they worked The Mottled Screen studies as an example of this process a great literary work that cannot be confined to language alone, even though it consists exclusively of words Proust s Remembrance of Things Past.The author of Reading Rembrandt Beyond the Word Image Opposition, a widely acclaimed study of Rembrandt s discursive, rhetorical, and narrative painting, now offers a symmetrical counterpart to that study with this sustained visual reading of Proust s masterpiece, pointing out its visual strategies of representation, fantasy, and poetic thought She focuses on the narrative and descriptive passages, examining how they make us see, arguing that this visual writing is by no means a derivative writing that uses visual imagery as an inspiration or model Instead, it is the writing of a true vision.Beginning with the attempts to emulate painting, the book develops a Proust la Chardin, working around Chardin s painting The Skate, but only after first reading Chardin through Proust Viewing a Chardin with anxieties and emulation, Proust writes in Chardin s mood when he sets up the mottled screen as the metaphor of reading Chardin s appeal to a wavering, roving eye is matched by Proust s uncertain perceptions, and the nervous quality of The Skate is matched by the famous passages recording Proust s disgust at the debris of the breakfast table.The second part of the book is devoted to Proust s use of optical instruments such as the magnifying glass, the eyeglass, the telescope to produce or enhance the visions that constitute the raw material of his poetic imagination These optical instruments guide the probing of the paradoxes of seeing close up or at a distance, the latter flattening out, the former blinding.The final part reads the specifically photographic writing that permeates Remembrance as a highly original and astonishing contemporary, almost postmodern, poetics The photographic shows in the way Proust s narrator frames what he sees, contrasts light and dark, zooms in and out, and represents contact sheets of snapshots rapidly taken so as to capture the most fleeting sensations and visions. Best Read Books The Mottled Screen: Reading Proust Visually By Mieke Bal – heartforum.co.uk
Mieke Bal is a Dutch literary theorist, cultural and art historian.Areas of interest range from biblical and classical antiquity to 17th century and contemporary art and modern literature, feminism and migratory culture Her many publications include A Mieke Bal Reader 2006 , Travelling Concepts in the Humanities 2002 and Narratology 4th edition 2017 Her view of interdisciplinary analysis in the Humanities and Social Sciences is expressed in the profile of what she has termed cultural analysis , the basis of ASCA See the video clip on the right side of this page, where I explain the approach.Mieke is also a video artist, her internationally exhibited documentaries on migration include Separations, State of Suspension, Becoming Vera and the installation Nothing is Missing and are part of the Cinema Suitcase collective With Michelle Williams Gamaker she made the feature film A Long History of Madness, a theoretical fiction about madness, and related exhibitions 2012 Her following project Madame B Explorations in Emotional Capitalism, also with Michelle, is exhibited worldwide She just finished a feature film and 5 screen installation on Ren Descartes and his infelicitously ending friendship with Queen Kristina of Sweden.Occasionally she acts as an independent curator Her co curated exhibition 2MOVE travelled to four countries She is currently preparing an exhibition for the Munch museum in Oslo.
- 300 pages
- The Mottled Screen: Reading Proust Visually
- Mieke Bal
- 11 February 2019 Mieke Bal