Skip to main content
Colourworks: Chromatic Innovation in Modern French Poetry and Art Writing

Colourworks: Chromatic Innovation in Modern French Poetry and Art Writing

Current price: $34.95
Publication Date: March 23rd, 2023
Bloomsbury Visual Arts
The MIT Press Bookstore
1 on hand, as of Apr 22 10:29am
On Our Shelves Now


As joint winner of the Gapper Book Prize, 2021, this new edition of Susan Harrow's award-winning study of modern French poetry and art writing offers a bold approach to studying the relationship between text and image. Exploring key questions such as how modern writers write colour, and to what extent critical thought on colour in visual media can illuminate the textual life of colour, Susan Harrow argues that colour is integral to the exploration of ethics, ekphrasis, objects, bodies, landscape and interiority in painting and poetry.

The question of colour, in a variety of disciplines and media, has provoked debate from Aristotle to Goethe, and from Baudelaire to Derek Jarman. If the past twenty years have witnessed a 'colour turn' in contemporary cultural studies and screen research, colour values in literary and textual media are often elided or, simply, overlooked. Colourworks tackles this lacuna in the study of modern poetry and art writing in French, revealing the integral role of colour in the work of three iconic French writers in the modern tradition: St phane Mallarm , Paul Val ry and Yves Bonnefoy. This book spans the broad modern period from the 1860s to the early twenty-first century in taking an exploratory approach to the visuality of the verbal medium through an adventurous reading of text and image.

Harrow uncovers how colour moves and morphs in texts as it challenges the traditionalist containments of chromatic symbolism. Beyond its primary area of investigation in modern poetry and art writing in French, this richly colour-illustrated study has significant interdisciplinary implications-conceptual, methodological, and practical-for the study of visuality in humanities research, from literature studies to material and visual culture studies.

About the Author

Susan Harrow is Ashley Watkins Professor of French at the University of Bristol, UK. Her research explores the interrelation of French literary modernism and visual culture. Among her monograph publications are The Material, the Real and the Fractured Self (2004) and Zola, the Body Modern? (2010). She was made Officier in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 2011 for services to French culture.