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Beyond Words

Pictures, Parables, Paradoxes


Edited By András Benedek and Kristóf Nyíri

Human thinking depends not only on words but also on visual imagery. Visual argumentation directly exploits the logic of the pictorial, while verbal arguments, too, draw on figurative language, and thus ultimately on images. In the centuries of handwritten documents and the printed book, our educational culture has been a predominantly verbal one. Today the challenge of the pictorial is explicit and conspicuous. In the digital world, we are experiencing an unprecedented wealth of images, animations and videos. But how should visual content be combined with traditional texts? This volume strives to present a broad humanities background showing how going beyond the word was always an issue in, and by now has become an inevitable challenge to, pedagogy and philosophy.
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“More Than One Way at Once” Simultaneous Viewpoints in Text and Image


Lieven Vandelanotte

“More Than One Way at Once”

Simultaneous Viewpoints in Text and Image

1.Lessons from Visual Art in Rethinking Textual Viewpoint

Viewpoint is inherently multimodal: beyond viewpoint in language, we also embody viewpoint in terms of our vision, gesture, body posture, direction of gaze, mental simulation, and so on. In view of these interconnections, cognitive linguists are particularly open to taking lessons from these various domains to learn more about viewpoint as a cognitive phenomenon.1 In a modest way, this paper aims to contribute to this burgeoning field in moving from some preliminary observations on new ways of seeing in visual art to a consideration of how different viewpoints are being made simultaneously present in a recent contemporary novel.

A striking example in contemporary art of an artist who has sought to make viewers look better and see more by experimenting with viewpoint is David Hockney. Among the influences that inspired his rethinking of viewpoint, he cites Picasso’s Cubist merging of viewpoints – allowing the viewer to see different views of a person depicted all at once – as well as more historical developments which eschew the Brunelleschi type of perspective with its single vanishing point: the more psychological perspective in Egyptian painting, in which bigger size does not mean “nearer” but “more important”, experiments with reverse perspective in which the viewer is the vanishing point (as in some Hogarth prints), and perhaps most importantly Chinese scrolls, in which viewpoint shifts...

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