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19 Intermedial Iconicity in Fiction – Tema con variazioni [2003]

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[Bridging two scholarly sub-disciplines, namely intermediality studies and iconicity studies, the essay focusses on the following ‘theme’: forms and functions of imitating (features of) other media in fiction through iconic similarity. The ‘variations’ of this theme are intermedial iconicity a) in pictorialized fiction (with an excerpt from Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree as an example), b) in filmicized fiction (with the concluding passage of David Lodge’s Changing Places as an illustration) and c) in musicalized fiction (exemplified with Nancy Huston‘s Les Variations Goldberg). The iconic devices used in the first case are the intertextual imitation of an ekphrastic discourse as well as diagrammatic iconicity (all of which function here as an enhancement of the visual experientiality of the text), and in the second case they include the imitation of a film script and thus again intertextual iconicity with intermedial implications, but also diagrammatic iconicity (with the function of metamedially discussing and illustrating the respective positions of the media of print fiction and film in comparison to each other). The third ‘variation’ is again based on diagrammatic iconicity, this time occurring as the formal imitation of the variations in Bach’s Goldberg Variationen in a cyclical series of interior monologues. Among the manifold functions of this intermedial iconicity are a homage to Bach, the experimentation with alternatives to traditional storytelling and the investigation of the links between music and the unconscious. In its ‘coda’, the essay addresses methodological problems of, as well as justifications for, the scholarly discussion of intermedial iconicity.] 



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