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The Crossings of Art in Ireland


Edited By Ruben Moi, Brynhildur Boyce and Charles Armstrong

The essays in this volume explore interartistic connections in Irish literature, drama, film and the visual arts. Within modern and postmodern culture, innovation is often driven by surprising interrelations between the arts, and this book offers a discussion of this phenomenon and analyses a number of artworks that move across disciplines. Several contributors examine the concept of ekphrasis, looking at how Irish writers such as Seamus Heaney, John Banville, Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, Patrick Kavanagh, W.B. Yeats and Samuel Beckett have responded to the visual arts. Others explore interartistic ‘crossings’ in the drama of Brian Friel, in James Barry’s eighteenth-century Shakespeare paintings and in contemporary Irish film. Together, the essays present a fresh perspective on Irish artistic culture and open up new avenues for future study.
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Verse, Visuality and Vision: The Challenges of Ekphrasis in Ciaran Carson’s Poetry


The first things I remember are the colours of my bedroom wallpaper, and their chalky taste under my fingernails. It would, of course, be years before I learned what the shades were called, which leads me to my first paint box. Hooker’s Green, Vermillion, Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna: I knew stories must lie behind those names, and I resolved to discover them some day.1




Carson forefronts the fundamental tactile and narrative significance of colours to his poetic imagination in Shamrock Tea in 2001. This border-crossing book engages at length, among other aspects, with The Arnolfini Marriage, the Flemish painter Jan van Eyck’s famous portrait from 1434.2 By a stroke of the same brush, the 101 chapters in Carson’s choice of composition all take their titles from a comprehensive and detailed colour map from the first ‘Paris Green’ via ‘Blood Green’ and ‘Powder Pink’ and numerous other inventive colour assignations, to the penultimate ‘Bible Black’ and final ‘Blank’. Carson draws for this colouristic composition upon the Schilder-boeck of the sixteenth-century Flemish painter and biographer of the Netherlandish artists, Karel van Mander. A quote from van Mander’s painter book introduces in the epigraph the theme and composition of Shamrock Tea:

← 235 | 236 → He divided a panel into a hundred squares and marked them down, with numbered figures, in a small book, then painted these squares with various colours, various shades, greens, yellows, blues, flesh tints and other mixtures, giving the...

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