Iconoclastic Considerations

Comment to Calamity Jane's
July 2, 2003

Don't quite know how this one would fit into your typology.... the narrator contemplating a possible painting-to-be as a type of "projective ekphrasis" There is an example in Joyce Cary's The Horse's Mouth.

I wonder if one might capture the deontological aspects of your typology but considering a "table of attitudes" (degree of control over, fascination with, etc) in a table where the attitudes would be correlated to the status of the object of ekphrasis (exists, doesn't exist, might exist).

It seems your project might be facilitated by a consideration of Lubomír Doležel's possible worlds narratology. It seems that ekphrasis calls out for a treatment in terms of the intersection of Doležel's four modal systems:

alethic (possible, impossible, necessary)
deontic (permitted, prohibited, obligatory)
axiological (good, bad, indifferent)
epistemic (known, unknown, believed)

I like to recast the epistemic in terms of "known, knowable, unknowable". It seems to bridge considerations of ekphrasis with questions of iconoclasm. Which leads me to ask if the proposed listing of ekphrastic conventions is also an entry point into cultural values pertaining to visual-verbal translations....
It appears to me now that that trailing phrase about cultural values is about the verbal-visual relations as structured as permissible and possible. A society that construes the relation between verbal and visual renditions as impossible is also likely to interdict other crossings. [see McLuhan's eye-ear dichotomies tied to his Catholicism …] There are other types of iconoclasm besides an outright destruction of images; making them impermeable to words is likewise a smashing.

And so for day 1775