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Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation
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Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  151 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
What precisely, W. J. T. Mitchell asks, are pictures (and theories of pictures) doing now, in the late twentieth century, when the power of the visual is said to be greater than ever before, and the "pictorial turn" supplants the "linguistic turn" in the study of culture? This book by one of America's leading theorists of visual representation offers a rich account of the ...more
Paperback, 462 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1994)
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Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
What's good in this book, is really good. Particularly, Mitchell's discussion of William Blake is astounding and I found myself captivated by it. Unfortunately, his language could go up for a "most unreadable theoretical discourse" award. I read this during grad school and it helped me to rethink several things about the relationship between the word and image (hence, the Blake piece), but ultimately I am having trouble remembering everything I read. The brilliant moments are brilliant, but the ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Mitchell, as I expected, did not disappoint me with regards to the quality of his work. The examples he provides are extensive and clear, though some references are a bit too complex for my taste and would need a lot more either research or background knowledge (his style is usually a bit simpler than this - at least from my previous experience). Nevertheless, for anyone interested in the relationship between language and pictures, or as the title says "verbal and visual representation", this bo ...more
Aug 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
Reading this book is like walking into the middle of a heady conversation between two hoity-toity art historians who don't stop to brief you on what they discussed so far. You have to catch up on your own and even though you expend a lot of effort trying to do so, the two art historians try their best to ignore you. They may even sneer at you for being so unrefined. Ultimately, you regret joining this duo and try to gracefully walk away to another group where a lively debate is raging on a more ...more
Jessica Zu
Only read the required chapters. A turning reading experience.
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William J Thomas Mitchell is a professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago. Editor of the journal Critical Inquiry.

His monographs, Iconology (1986) and Picture Theory (1994), focus on media theory and visual culture. He draws on ideas from Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx to demonstrate that, essentially, we must consider pictures to be living things. His collection of essays What
More about W.J.T. Mitchell

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