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HUMANITIES 151 methodology, is thus considered apolitical in its rhetoric, but very political in trying to maintain art history as a sacrosanct preserve. If there ever was a revolution from below, which I doubt, the rise of theory in art history cannot be described as such. The debate is more a contest over academic territory between traditional scholars who see art history as circumscribed and those, like the contributors to this volume, who see it as interdisciplinary.-The Subjects ofArt History demonstrates clearly that 'self-reflexive' art history has established its legitimacy. These essays provide an excellentoverview ofits theory and practice. (MITCHELL FRANK) Martin Heusser, Claus Cliiver, Leo Hoek, and Lauren Weingarden, editors. The Pictured Word: Word and Image Interactions 2 Rodopi. 356. us $97.00, $28.00 The twenty-five essays in this collection examine, both theoretically and practically, the complex interactions that occur when visual and verbal media are placed in close proximity to each other. Such a broad definition of word and image studies enables an extensive exploration of an interdisciplinaryhermeneutic thathas gained increasing criticalattentioninthelast decade. Spanning a time period that extends from the sixth century to the present, these essays are international in conception and multi-generic in scope. Their range of study ineludes the Genji scrolls of medieval Japan, the mosaics 'at St Mark's, Venice, an artist's garden in Scotland, architectural inscriptions in Oslo, Norway, nineteenth-century political cartoons, fifteenth -century woodblocks,French-Canadianvideo art, holopoetry, medical cartoons, postage stamps, and mixed-media painting and poetry. As this brief, and by no means exhaustive, summation of contents indicates, the collection is a rich resource for students of visual/verbal relations, whether their primary field of study is literature, art history, semiotics, or cultural criticism. The numerous black-and-white illustrations which accompany the essays, all well integrated with the text and finely reproduced, demonstrate the manifold ways in which the medium is indeed the message. Drawing on theoretical frameworks ranging from Peirce's semiotics to Foucault's discourse analysis, the essays in this collection demonstrate how visual images can be read as meaning-making 'texts' whose signification derives from both formal features and contextual environment. Most immediately and obviously, context includes an associated verbal text, but it also, more broadly, incorporates the cultural specifics oftime and place that ' influence production and reception. Divided into seven thematic sections, the collection begins with 'Reflections on Theory and Methodology.' Arguing that the pictorialarts do not simplyfunction to illustrate Iiterature, and that comparative studies are limited, editor Weingarden's essay in this section shows how discursive analysis opens interart analysis. 'Historical 152 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 criticism,' she concludes, ~complements critical interpretation,' and this culturally aware approach is shared by most of the contributors in the volume_ In the following sections - IOn Intertextual Relations,' 'Semiotics, Painting, and Poetry/ 'On Monuments,' 'Cartoons and Caricature,' 'WordImage Interactions in Far-Eastern Practices,' and 'Beyond Conventional Boundaries' - the essays show the impact that specific cultural conditions have on the signifying practices and effects ofword and image interactions. The divergence of picture and word in nineteenth-century Japanese 'yellow-cover' fiction, for example, is shown to be a deliberately subversive strategy with a cultural critical message, while the literary monument that emerged in post-revolutionary France is shown to be part of a range of cultural products that venerated both writers and their work at the end of the nineteenth century. While there are no overt connections between essays, fascinating links do occur, as in the similar arguments made about calligraphy as part of a work's signifying structure in an essay on late Chinese poet-calligrapher painters and another on a twentieth-century cartoon-book version of Wilde's Salome. Such connections, however, are left to the reader. There is no introductory essay to the volume to provide an overview of the collection's issues, methodologies, and topics, or make links between pieces. Indeed, the book's origin as selected proceedings from the Third Annual International Conference on Word and Image, held in Ottawa in 1993, is all too evident throughout (though never acknowledged). Some essays remain very short, as suitable for oral presentation, and would have benefited from the extended...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 151-152
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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