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Keynote – James Elkins – Models for Word and Image: From Rodenbach to Fernandez Mallo

Models for Word and Image: From Rodenbach to Fernandez Mallo

The prevalence of Sebald in studies of fictional narratives that incorporate images has led to a lack of theorization of other practices. Sebald’s practice is generally to anchor the image in its surrounding text in such a way that the reader is led up to, into, and past the image with minimal interruption in the flow of reading. In that way his narratives can explore continuous paths of memory on which images are passing waystations. It is also possible to permit images to slow the narrative, or to draw readers repeatedly back to the images, or to use images to cast doubt on the narrator or the narration. I will compare Sebald’s practices to what can be found in Georges Rodenbach, Breton, Tan Lin, Anne Carson, Christian Bök, Fernandez Mallo, Philipp Weiss, and others, in order to suggest that Sebald is only one example of a long discontinuous history of writing on images.

James Elkins is C. Chadbourne Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism (1989). BA, cum laude, 1977, Cornell University; MFA and MA, 1983, and PhD with honors, 1989, University of Chicago. Books: Pictures and Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings; Chinese Landscape Painting as Western Art History; Pictures of the Body: Pain and Metamorphosis; The Domain of Images; How to Use Your Eyes; What Painting Is; The Poetics of Perspective; The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing; Why are our Pictures Puzzles?; On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them; What Happened to Art Criticism?; Six Stories from the End of Representation; Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction; What Photography Is; Art Critiques: A Guide.

December 14, 2019 3:50 pm 5:00 pm


December 14, 2019
3:50 pm – 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Ilse van Rijn (chair)

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Museumplein 10
Amsterdam, 1071DJ Netherlands
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