Vision and form in John Updike’s short fiction

2014-09-05T15:13:21Z (GMT) by Kangqin Li
This thesis studies the visual aesthetics of the twentieth-century American writer John Updike's short fiction. Exploring the related issues of form and vision, temporality and visuality, the thesis seeks to combine two analyses: a study of visuality in the short fiction of Updike, and a re-consideration of the short story as a genre. I shall argue that the two levels of analysis are interrelated, for it is at the point of the epistemological uncertainty in the act of ‘seeing’ that Updike offers something unusual to the short story form; it is also around this stubborn issue of the relationship between vision and knowledge that contemporary short story criticism seems to fall short. The thesis unfolds first with a negotiation for an understanding of the short story’s special narrative space and then with a formalist analysis of Updike’s short fiction and its respective involvement with three visual media: painting, photography and cinema. Exploring the complex interrelationship between ‘seeing’ and ‘reading’ through the lens of Updike’s visually rich texts, the thesis aims to come to a better knowledge of vision and form in the short story.




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