Special Issue Image [&] Narrative: Imagining the Author: The Development of Particularity (Deadline: June 1st, 2009)
In his analysis of the history of mathematics, Gaston Bachelard calls for a reversal of perspectives on the complexity of reasoning: "[…] the simple is in fact always simplified: it can only be thought of correctly when appearing to be the product of a process of simplification." (L'Épistémologie non cartésienne.) Likewise, in literature and in the visual arts, the particularity of authors, what one has come to call their "little music", what makes them irreducible to others, is not only the fruit of their genius, but also a meticulous construction, the product of a particularising process, constructions based on what Claude Lévi-Strauss designates as signifying structural choices (La Voie des masques). The particular is thus actually particularised. Its elaboration, inherent to the poetics of the subject, is effectuated at the level of the imagination, or as Jean Burgos explains, in a matrix where the division between the unconscious and the conscious has neither value, nor sense. (Pour une poétique de l'imaginaire).
In this process the author appropriates the anthropological image/imagination as his own, to put it in the service of what Clement Rosset calls his idiocy (in the etymological sense of the word, in Le Réel – Traité de l' idiotie). It is in this way that symbols and myths, which tend to be seen as universals, become deformed, intertwined, reconfigured in order to produce particular idiomyths, turning language into a "strange language" (Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve), whose idiolectical components take over the usual meanings. This tendency can be observed in all linguistic or graphical codes, in particular in generic codes or cinematographic ones, which are willingly overturned in favour expressing one's creative imagination.
In the preface to the "Ne Varietur" edition of his complete works, Victor Hugo asserted: "Everyone who writes, writes just one book: that book is themselves." The singularising work of artists hence clearly participates in the narcissistic construction of their identities. In this way, it becomes important to attend to of all dimensions of the work where the authors present themselves, to all occasions in which they let themselves be heard or in which they affirm their authority. From this point of view, the critical discourse which spreads over interviews, letters, essays and which seems to be merely an aside to the fiction, acquires an interest which transcends the simple confrontation of displayed artistic principles and artistic practices. These findings can unlock the articulation of image in writing (literary, filmic, graphic), revealing the intimate stakes and profound intentions that mould it.
This issue of Image [&] Narrative will illustrate some of the procedures in which authors in literature, painting, cinema and graphic novels build their particularity and construe a personal image. We encourage contributions which offer a theoretical in-depth investigation of the phenomenon or which confront the visual dimensions of the artwork.
The issue is due for July 2009.