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Phototextuality: photography, fiction, criticism

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Ever since the advent of the medium in the mid-nineteenth century, photography and literature have been involved in an almost constant dialogue and process of intersemiotic cross-fertilisation. The scholarly field that has recently begun to develop around the critical study of this kind of aesthetic border crossing - what will here be called 'phototextuality' - is as burgeoning as it is multidisciplinary, spanning over 150 years of literary, artistic, and cultural history. In this article - conceived as a 'state of the art' of contemporary phototextual practice - the author proposes to clarify our understanding of what a phototext is and does by focusing on three particular manifestations of the trend: namely, narrative photographs, photographically engaged fictions and a particularly stunning work of critical inquiry that embodies, as much as it examines, the image-text paradigm.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2009

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