The given paper is a case study of intermedial elements used to build distinct cultural identities and the image of selfhood in W.S.Maugham’s novel The Moon and Sixpence (1919) set in England, France and Polynesia. The peculiarities of intermedial language used by the writer to enlarge the contextual field of his literary artefact are demonstrated through specific examples, primarily the analysis of available ekphratic depictions. These ekphratic fragmentation-type enlargements of the context of the novel serve the purpose of building, justifying, and showcasing the conflicts between cultures, mentalities, and arts. Thus, through the depiction of pictorial arts and the turbulent life of a self-made painter at the turn of the centuries, as seen through the eyes of a fictional popular writer, Maugham collides painting and writing as arts, English and French/Polynesian cultures, Apollonian and Dionysian as creative processes, modern and primaeval as the origins of art, as well as sets success and creative search for self-expression as artistic drivers. Altogether, these conflicts, binaries and oppositions set on the pages of the novel question the selfhoods of key characters, a painter and a writer, and serve the purpose of building two diverse cultural identities and mentalities – Englishness and non-Englishness, own and strange, acceptable and weird, accomplished commercially and accomplished spiritually. The paper concludes that intermedial elements are actively used by the writer to deepen the conflicts and enlarge the contextual field of the novel so that to reflect on the English mentality and French/Polynesian as a different and alien element.
Mykyta Isagulov, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
About the Presenter(s)
Mykyta Isagulov is a doctoral student at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. His research interests lie in the fields of intermediality, intertextuality and art synthesis, specifically the intermedial elements in British modernist literature.
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