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Title: The visual image in Epiphanic Short History
Author: Correia, Alda Maria
Keywords: Epiphany
Short story
Visual image
Issue Date: 2000
Citation: pp. 273-278
Abstract: The visual image is a fundamental component of epiphany, stressing its immediacy and vividness, corresponding to the enargeia of the traditional ekphrasis and also playing with cultural and social meanings. Morris Beja in his seminal book Epiphany in the Modern Novel, draws our attention to the distinction made by Joyce between the epiphany originated in a common object, in a discourse or gesture and the one arising in “a memorable phase of the mind itself”. This type materializes in the “dream-epiphany” and in the epiphany based in memory. On the other hand, Robert Langbaum in his study of the epiphanic mode, suggests that the category of “visionary epiphany” could account for the modern effect of an internally glowing vision like Blake’s “The Tyger”, which projects the vitality of a real tyger. The short story, whose length renders it a fitting genre for the use of different types of epiphany, has dealt with the impact of the visual image in this technique, to convey different effects and different aesthetic aims. This paper will present some examples of this occurrence in short stories of authors in whose work epiphany is a fundamental concept and literary technique: Walter Pater, Joseph Conrad, K. Mansfield, Clarice Lispector. Pater’s “imaginary portraits” concentrate on “priviledged moments” of the lives of the characters depicting their impressions through pictorial language; Conrad tries to show “moments of awakening” that can be remembered by the eye; Mansfield suggests that epiphany, the “glimpse”, should replace plot as an internal ordering principle of her impressionist short-stories; in C. Lispector the visualization of some situations is so aggressive that it causes nausea and a radical revelation on the protagonist’s.
Appears in Collections:FCSH: DLCLM - Capítulo de livros internacionais

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