Can Paintings Talk? An Ekphrastic Polemic in Post-Stalin Russia

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Abstract

Ivan Shevtsov “novel-pamphlet” Tlia (“The Louse” or “The Aphid”, 1964) is known as a “pasquinade” (A. Siniavski) from a reactionary Stalinist writer angry at the mild softening of the official cultural line during the Thaw period. The former is undoubtedly a correct reading; the work is anyway worth reading for its peculiar use of ékphrasis (set in the milieu of figurative artists, the novel can be read as a gallery of imaginary paintings) and, moreover, because what is debated there is the possibility of ékphrasis itself, the ability of a painting to be the carrier of a content that can be expressed by words – this is the final aim of the polemics Shevtsov engages with Ilia Ehrenburg’s Thaw.Even if Shevtsov’s position cannot be vindicated, his work can be a useful tool for putting our own received ideas about art to the test of a totally alien position.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteFictional Artworks: Literary Ekphrasis and the Invention of Images
Pagine87-111
Numero di pagine25
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

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