A colleague recently enquired, with a hint of exasperation, why books exploring the relationship between literature and the visual arts invariably begin with an apology, a defence of intermedia investigation, when the principle behind such enquiry is so self-evident. In all eras, he remarked, both writer and artist create their work from within the same cultural setting and hence inevitably express to a larger or lesser extent the dominant concerns of their time.


Literary Work Creative Artist Temporary Expectation Contemporary Concern Dominant Concern 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    The quotations are from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notebooks (London, 1954), 2:211, andGoogle Scholar
  2. Joseph Warton, An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (London, 1806), 1:52. The widespread use of the phrase in the Renaissance is discussed inGoogle Scholar
  3. Joel E. Spingarn, A History of Literary Criticism in the Renaissance (New York, 1920), p. 42. See alsoGoogle Scholar
  4. Rensselaer W. Lee, Ut Pictura Poesis: the humanistic theory of painting (New York, 1967).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations: the circulation of social energy in Renaissance England (Berkeley, 1988), p. 86, andGoogle Scholar
  6. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (London, 1970), p. xi.Google Scholar
  7. Wendy Steiner, The Colors of Rhetoric: problems in the relation between modern literature and painting (Chicago, 1982), has seen in semiotic theory renewed justification for comparisons between art and literature in the modern period; but the principle clearly needs to be extended to include past eras too.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy (Oxford, 1972), p. 40. His approach developed further in his Patterns of Intention: on the historical explanation of pictures (New Haven, 1985). See alsoGoogle Scholar
  9. Norman Bryson, Vision and Painting: the logic of gaze (New Haven, 1983), especially pp. xii-xiii, and his introduction to Calligram: essays in New Art History from Prance (Cambridge, 1988), p. xxv, as well asCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Donald Preziosi, Rethinking Art History (New Haven, 1989), especially pp. 48–50, the useful collections of essays inGoogle Scholar
  11. A. L. Rees and Frances Borzello (eds), The New Art History (London, 1986), andGoogle Scholar
  12. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (eds), The Language of Art History (Cambridge, 1993).Google Scholar
  13. 7.
    The jacket quotation is from Alan Brien of the Sunday Telegraph. John Galbraith’s essay is reprinted in Philip C. Kolin and J. Madison David (eds), Critical Essays on Edward Albee (Boston, 1986).Google Scholar
  14. 8.
    Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Harmondsworth, 1986), p. 113.Google Scholar
  15. 10.
    Cf. Peter Nicholls, Modernisms: a literary guide (Berkeley, 1995) and the valuable collection of essays inGoogle Scholar
  16. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane (eds), Modernism: a guide to European Literature, 1890–1930 (London, 1991).Google Scholar
  17. Raymond Williams, The Politics of Modernism, published posthumously (London, 1989), like most Marxist criticism, attributes all developments in the period — literary, artistic and philosophical — to exclusively economic or socioeconomic causes.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Murray Roston 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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