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Visual and Literary Narratives of Dissent: Unframing Women and Representation

Citation: Macedo, Ana Gabriela (2015) Visual and Literary Narratives of Dissent: Unframing Women and Representation. In: IMLR Seminar, 10 December 2014, Senate House, University of London. (Submitted)

Is the analysis of Visual Culture comprehended by a comparatist methodology? Is the grammar of representation, visual and literary, truly comparable? Anchored in these interrogations my paper aims to challenge a static notion of comparativism, and instead endorse a broader framework which allows us to compare different types of narratives, namely visual and literary, through identical theoretical strategies. In the first section of this paper I want to reflect upon the concepts of “frame” and “framing” as key topoi in the grammar of representation, crucial elements to the understanding of the set of relations images establish with each other and with their specific contexts, as well as the new set of meanings/dialogues added when these frames “dissolve”. I will start with a reflection on the concepts of “framing” and “unframing” in the context of Feminism, both as a critique to the cultural representation of women and as an emancipatory movement. In the second section, I will revisit Isak Dinesen’s tale, “The Blank Page” (1955) as a disquieting narrative about erasure of identity and silence, and a powerful gendered commentary on the making of History/ Herstory. In a third section l will discuss a visual composition by the Portuguese artist Paula Rego, “Oratório” (2011), where a set of opposites (compassion and revulsion, courage and despondency, the sublime and abjection), create a dialogue with each other in a theatrical revisitation of veiled memories, tacit silences and subliminal discourses in a stern vindication to inscribe voice and to reclaim the power of discourse over silence and erasure. As I will try to demonstrate both narratives, the visual and the literary, transgressively challenge fixed codes of representation while “unframing” women and proposing a powerful gendered commentary on the silences of History.

Additional Information: This paper is being submitted for consideration for publication in the Journal of Romance Studies
Creators: Macedo, Ana Gabriela and
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Divisions: Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing
  • 2015 (submitted)


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