Word and Picture in Walter Scott

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Title: Word and Picture in Walter Scott
Authors: Fermanis, Porscha
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/12908
Date: Jul-2021
Online since: 2022-06-15T08:40:33Z
Abstract: IN THE INTRODUCTORY NARRATIVE to The Bride of Lammermoor (1819), the sign-painter turned portrait-painter Dick Tinto accuses his friend Peter Pattieson, the fictional author of the novel, of overusing dialogue or, as Tinto more colloquially puts it, ‘the gob box’, as a means of representing character in his novels (BL, 21).1 Mounting a heated defence of the classical idea ut pictura poesis, Tinto dismisses Pattieson’s counter-argument that painting appeals to the eye whereas language addresses the ear, maintaining that words, ‘if properly employed’, have the ability to allow us to see or reconstruct images (BL, 22). Once widely endorsed, Tinto’s ‘picture theory’ of representation was increasingly disputed by eighteenth century British aestheticians.2 In Plastics (1712), Lord Shaftesbury rejects ut pictura poesis, considering comparisons between painting and poetry to be ‘constrained, lame, or defective’.3 Edmund Burke, too, claims in his Philosophic Enquiry (1757) that words, on the whole, do not generate images, drawing a distinction between painting’s imitative capacity to show objects in space and poetry’s figurative ability to designate them in time.4
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Journal: Essays in Criticism
Volume: 71
Issue: 3
Start page: 283
End page: 305
Keywords: Tinto's picture theory17th century aestheticsPhenomenology in literature
DOI: 10.1093/escrit/cgab011
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
ISSN: 0014-0856
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ie/
Appears in Collections:English, Drama & Film Research Collection

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