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Ekphrastic Conceptualism in Postmodern British and American Novels

Don DeLillo, Paul Auster and Tom McCarthy


Jarosław Hetman

The relationship between the arts has fascinated people for centuries. Discussing the ancient notion of ekphrasis, this study examines the interpenetration of literary and non-literary art. Traditionally, ekphrasis is defined as a rhetorical device for the poetic description of a painting or a sculpture that has been steadily gaining attention in literary studies since the mid-twentieth century. Taking a close look at the works of Don DeLillo, Paul Auster and Tom McCarthy, the author demonstrates how ekphrasis is useful for reading contemporary novels that feature non-representative, conceptual works of art.
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Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hetman, Jarosław, 1984-    Ekphrastic conceptualism in postmodern British and American novels : Don DeLillo, Paul Auster and Tom McCarthy / Jarosław Hetman.      pages cm  ISBN 978-3-631-65931-1  1. Ekphrasis. 2. DeLillo, Don–Criticism and interpretation. 3. Auster, Paul, 1947–Criticism and interpretation. 4. McCarthy, Tom, 1969 May 22–Criticism and interpretation. 5. Postmodernism (Literature)–United States. 6. Postmodernism (Literature)–Great Britain. I. Title.  PN56.E45H48 2015  809–dc23                                                  2015028178

This publication was financially supported by the Faculty of Languages and the Department of English, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. Reviewers: Professor Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich Professor Jadwiga Maszewska

ISSN 2193-4207 ISBN 978-3-631-65931-1 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-05329-6 (E-Book) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-05329-6 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2015 All rights reserved. Peter Lang Edition is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH.

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