Literature is largely invisible, unlike film which relies so heavily on visual images. One way to grasp the aesthetic power that comes from this invisibility is to look at adaptations, to watch as characters migrate from book to film and struggle to adjust to the bright new environment. Using the most visually distracting things available—ugly monsters, including the painting in Dorian Gray, Quasimodo in Notre-Dame de Paris, and Mr. Hyde from Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde—I show how invisibility helps us relate intellectually to objects and characters which might otherwise get trapped at the level of mere appearance. And I explore the possibility that eyes can work differently in literary texts, that they are enabled to see things—immaterial things, divine things—which our eyes never could.


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pp. 463-482
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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