As joint winner of the Gapper Book Prize, 2021, this new edition of Susan Harrow's award-winning study of modern French poetry and art writing offers a bold approach to studying the relationship between text and image. Exploring key questions such as how modern writers write colour, and to what extent critical thought on colour in visual media can illuminate the textual life of colour, Susan Harrow argues that colour is integral to the exploration of ethics, ekphrasis, objects, bodies, landscape and interiority in painting and poetry.
The question of colour, in a variety of disciplines and media, has provoked debate from Aristotle to Goethe, and from Baudelaire to Derek Jarman. If the past twenty years have witnessed a 'colour turn' in contemporary cultural studies and screen research, colour values in literary and textual media are often elided or, simply, overlooked. Colourworks tackles this lacuna in the study of modern poetry and art writing in French, revealing the integral role of colour in the work of three iconic French writers in the modern tradition: Stephane Mallarme, Paul Valery and Yves Bonnefoy. This book spans the broad modern period from the 1860s to the early twenty-first century in taking an exploratory approach to the visuality of the verbal medium through an adventurous reading of text and image.
Harrow uncovers how colour moves and morphs in texts as it challenges the traditionalist containments of chromatic symbolism. Beyond its primary area of investigation in modern poetry and art writing in French, this richly colour-illustrated study has significant interdisciplinary implications-conceptual, methodological, and practical-for the study of visuality in humanities research, from literature studies to material and visual culture studies.