Randall, or The Painted Grape and Beyond Ekphrasis: The Role and Function of Artworks in the Novels of Don DeLillo

Gibbs, Jonathan (2013) Randall, or The Painted Grape and Beyond Ekphrasis: The Role and Function of Artworks in the Novels of Don DeLillo. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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    Abstract

    This thesis is presented in two sections: firstly, a novel, Randall, or The Painted Grape; and secondly, an essay, ‘Beyond Ekphrasis: The Role and Function of Artworks in the Novels of Don DeLillo’.
    Randall, or The Painted Grape is a novel about the Young British Artists. It takes the form of a fictitious biographical memoir of an artist, Randall, written by his friend Vincent, after Randall’s death. This memoir is interpolated with sections treating Vincent and Justine, Randall’s widow, following their discovery of a series of previously unknown paintings by Randall.
    ‘Beyond Ekphrasis: The Role and Function of Artworks in the Novels of Don DeLillo’ discusses critical approaches to the treatment of artworks in fiction. It considers existing theories of ekphrasis (the literary description of a work of art) and explores how far these theories, which most often treat poems addressing paintings and sculptures, can be applied to prose fiction, and to post-representational and conceptual art forms. Taking examples from three recent novels by Don DeLillo: Falling Man, Point Omega and The Body Artist, the essay looks at ways in which novelistic ekphrasis can engage with non-literary art forms that differ and go beyond those put forward by canonical theories of ekphrasis.
    These include: the treatment of the art encounter in an extended narrative; the ethics and etiquette of representation; the use of structural rather than descriptive mimesis; and the possibility of a non-paragonal, or non-confrontational, relationship between the treating and treated art forms. Finally, with reference to The Body Artist, the essay suggests the possibility of a ‘reverse ekphrasis’, by which the novel as a whole can be read as a representation of an artwork that is nowhere fully described in the text.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
    Depositing User: Brian Watkins
    Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 16:21
    Last Modified: 21 Jul 2014 16:21
    URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/49713
    DOI:

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