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Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture

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Edited By Izabella Kimak and Julia Nikiel

The essays included in this book offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and computer games, which reflect current social and political developments since the beginning of this century. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays probe the many ways in which repression and expression are the primary keywords for understanding contemporary American life and culture.

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Portraits Painterly and Poetic: John Ashbery and Gerhard Richter (Paulina Ambroży)

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Paulina Ambroży

Portraits Painterly and Poetic: John Ashbery and Gerhard Richter

Abstract: The article undertakes a comparative study of visual and literary poetics in relation to the genre of modern portraiture. The discussion focuses on the tension between specularity and non-representation in the works of John Ashbery and Gerhard Richter.

Keywords: poetic and painterly self-portraits, subjectivity and representation, ekphrasis, John Ashbery, Gerhard Richter

The primary intention of this study is to discuss the postmodernist approaches to the self-portrait genre in a comparative study of painterly and poetic media. I would like to argue that, in the explorations of the limits and possibilities of the visual and verbal media as tools of self-representation, both poets and painters question the very notion of the autonomous subject, showing the impossibility of finding the coherent and stable truth of the self. Instead, this truth becomes a series of constructed but ultimately untenable fictions, self-identifications and partial narratives, continuously displaced, elusive and relational, held in the interstices of cross-polluting images and discourses.

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