Triptych & Mirrors, portraits, and the Venus effect, the absent art of Triptych

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2012
Thesis identifier
  • T13182
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • In our predominantly visual culture, the rich formal analogies between word and image have been obscured, and this raises several pressing questions concerning the role of vision and sight within literature. This paper seeks to explore a creative approach to this critical and philosophical concern by engaging with a series of conflicting and complementary verbal and visual testimonies regarding relationships, paintings, and memories. More specifically, the creative element of the paper explores ideas of exile, isolation, and trauma within this context of visual/verbal relations, and this facilitates a discussion of how illusions and distortions of sight function within the fabric of a piece of creative writing. The novella is supplemented by a critical essay which investigates some nuances of visual perception as seen throughout European literary history, from Balzac and Tolstoy to Proust and Sebald. This culminates in an exploration of modern ekphrasis in terms of the relationship between reality and the imagination, our verbal methods and forms of recording perceived visual truth, and the implications of conflicting verbal accounts of visual truth. Moreover, the essay posits an inter-representational manner of reading in which the conflicting agendas of the visual and verbal are seen as a structural tension crucial to the design of prose fiction. Both novella and essay challenge the reader to think critically and creatively about visual and verbal structures within fiction, the interplay of visual and verbal testimony, and the nuances of ekphrasis in a culture of ubiquitous visual representation.
Resource Type
Alternative Title
  • Triptych and Mirrors, portraits, and the Venus effect, the absent art of Triptych
Date Created
  • 2012
Former identifier
  • 947528