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Modern In(ter)vention: Reading the Visual

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In Walter Sickert: A Conversation, Virginia Woolf creates a modern aesthetic that focuses on a concept of vision that simultaneously sees actual paintings and envisions their larger aesthetic context. Using the classical notion of "ekphrasis" and contemporary Bloomsbury aesthetic views, Woolf examines Sickert's paintings as an imaginative inquiry in which, through a kind of visualization, she creates or recreates an aesthetic experience for the reader. In doing so, she simultaneously undermines the credibility and didacticism of both classical ekphrasis and Bloomsbury formalism, and develops an open-ended aesthetic that presents the potential of the modern moment--its diversity, its confusion and contradiction, and its marvelous promise.

Keywords: Bloomsbury Group;; Ekphrasis;; Modernism;; Sickert, Walter Richard, 1860-1942;; Visual rhetoric; Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941;

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003


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