By David Bellos
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Extra info for Balzac Criticism in France, 1850-1900: The Making of a Reputation
1996. ” Pp. 89–112 in The Essential Gombrich: Selected Writings on Art and Culture, ed. Richard Woodfield. London: Phaidon. Keaveney, Raymond. 1991. ” P. viii in Crazy About Women, Paul Durcan. Dublin: The National Gallery of Ireland. Kennedy, Brian P. 1991. ” Pp. i–vii in Crazy About Women, Paul Durcan. Dublin: The National Gallery of Ireland. Lacan, Jacques.  1973. ” Pp. 96–107 in Le séminaire Livre XI: Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse. Paris: Seuil. Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim.
My specifically literary theoretical viewpoint is in line with the rhetorical device of ekphrasis, or the verbal representation of a visual representation,1 and, in this case, the ekphrastic phenomenon of poetic images turning into words as something that, in ways to be indicated, actually exceeds the ekphrastic function as an “opening” mechanism of sorts. For instead of freeing verbal entities from their imagistic goals, ekphrasis rather highlights the incongruence of the two aesthetic media and so, I will argue, resists being drafted in the service of any resistance movement blazing a trail towards emancipatory glory.
This is what Durcan’s apparatus testifies to: the madness of seeing, of women, of word and image. Last Twists and Turns of the Apparatus: Profane Illusions When the Spectator Turns Reader Called forth by image, words arise. Image is a place one enters. Like in Freudian free association, Durcan lets the erotic pervade his poems to a point of frisson (that of the bishop’s wife’s bosom, of their “intercourse” on Xmas night). This is a wording of the potentialities of image which is not an interpretation but rather a dis-course, an inter-course or a course, a becoming-conscious of the forces captured in the painting and liberated in the intercourse.