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Ekphrastic encountersNew interdisciplinary essays on literature and the visual arts$
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David Kennedy and Richard Meek

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526125798

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526125798.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 16 January 2022

Mirroring naturalism in word and image: a critical exchange between Émile Zola and Édouard Manet

Mirroring naturalism in word and image: a critical exchange between Émile Zola and Édouard Manet

Chapter:
(p.144) 7 Mirroring naturalism in word and image: a critical exchange between Émile Zola and Édouard Manet
Source:
Ekphrastic encounters
Author(s):
Lauren S. Weingarden
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526125798.003.0008

This chapter explores how Émile Zola’s ekphrastic writings about Édouard Manet’s paintings functioned as a template on which the writer imposed his evolving theories of the naturalist novel. It argues that, while Zola championed Manet in his critical reviews of the artist’s works, he did so in the name of naturalism and the scientific objectivity and analysis naturalism promoted. Moreover, it seems likely that Manet would have read Zola’s 1868 preface to Thérèse Raquin where the author first mandated his naturalist theories. The chapter asks what Manet would have thought about Zola’s subjugation of painting to writing and his refusal of meaningful content in his art. It proposes that Manet painted Zola’s portrait in 1868 as a retort to the critic’s misinterpretation of the painter’s artistic method. Manet’s portrait of Zola also reveals how the artist, in turn, appropriated the writer and his writing to his own artistic agenda, the subsequent manifestations of which culminate in Manet’s final masterpiece, A Bar at the Folies Bergère (1882).

Keywords:   ekphrasis, iconotext, Zola, Manet, Baudelaire, modernity, naturalism, word and image, art criticism, exchange

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