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UAL Research Online

The Girl No One Knew: photographs, narratives, and secrets in modern fiction

Hart, Janice (2004) The Girl No One Knew: photographs, narratives, and secrets in modern fiction. Mosaic a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, volume (number). pp. 111-126. ISSN 00271276

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Hart, Janice

The research field is the intersection between photography and modern fiction.

The research, which resulted in a published paper, an international conference presentation (‘The Photograph’, University of Manitoba) public symposium paper (‘Out of the Box’, Tate Modern) and scholarly symposium paper (Leeds Humanities Research Institute) analysed works of modern fiction in which textual descriptions of photographs are used to structure narratives.

Particular attention is given to Penelope Lively’s 'The Photograph'. It is argued that an incriminating photograph discovered by chance at the start of the narrative comes to dominates the novel and that the narrative is predicated on the main character (depicted in the photograph) finally becoming reincorporated into the lives of the other characters. Theoretically two themes prevail in the research. First (based on Kermode), that secrets within literature are not always hidden. Second (based on Bakhtin) that photographs might function as ‘organising centres’ for the fundamental narrative events of a novel so that a small detail (the clandestine linked hands described by Lively) might act as a vanishing point (or chronotype) through which all of what happens in the novel can be traced back. The argument is made that The Photograph is a fictional world holding photographs, narratives and secrets in a tight, mutually dependent dynamic.

Reference was also made to writers who also used photographs in ways similar to Lively such as Carol Shields, Donna Tartt and Kate Atkinson. As the symposium at Leeds the works of other writers were drawn into the presentation including Peter Dickinson and Nina Raine.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Research Centres/Networks > Photography & the Archive Research Centre (PARC)
Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Date: 1 December 2004
Digital Object Identifier: pdf
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2009 15:49
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2010 10:04
Item ID: 1717
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1717

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