Saturday, June 4, 2011

Guest Post for the 'Big Idea' Feature at Whatever

A guest post I wrote for the 'Big Idea' feature at John Scalzi's popular Whatever blog has now gone up. It is on the advantages of illustrated books as a format, and it includes some detailed discussion of the 'Synaesthetic Paradise' diptych from Five Wounds, which I use as a case study to explain the relationship between text and image in the novel.

There is actually some additional discussion of this pair of images here, and there will be more to come shortly.

Below is an excerpt from the post at Whatever:

According to an old set of critical prejudices, the adult pleasures of true literature are entirely separate from the infantile sugar rush of pictures, and the presence of the latter in a book is therefore a kind of an implicit admission of failure on the writer’s part. The very word ‘illustration’ is part of the problem here, since it implies redundancy and subordination. Illustrations understood in this pejorative sense are somehow both more direct and more naïve than language. They cannot be paraphrased, but nor can they dissemble. They do not require interpretation, and they cannot contain a subtext. They are, by definition, un-literary.

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