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Abstract

The article explores the problem of literary pictorialism, i.e. literary representation of the visual arts, with respect to the term hypotyposis. It appears to have sunk in oblivion, although it can boast of no less respectable origin as ekphrasis, and is by no means synonymous with the latter. In this article the precise meaning of hypotyposis is made out by means of comparisons with terms like trompe-l’oeil, anamorphosis, mise-en-abîme, and palimpsest. On the whole, hypotyposis does not describe a work of art but constitutes its verbal variant, or a structural and thematic equivalent in which the plot brings forth animated allegory of the image. We should distinguish, the article argues, two types of hypotyposis, the mimetic and the diegetic. The mimetic hypotyposis animates the content (the what) of the work of art, i.e. what is presented, or, in other words, the components of the fi ctional world. The diegetic hypotyposis dynamizes the manner (the how) of the presentation, i.e. it activates the manner in which the fi ctional world is constituted and the philosophical or formal problems raised by the work’s representation. Finally, the article examines the differences between hypotyposis and the generally accepted meaning of ekphrasis.
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Abstract

This study is a research reconnaissance into the visual imagery in the poetry of Jan Kochanowski, Poland’s most talented poet before the Romantic Age. Although he was familiar with the technique of ekphrasis and took an interest in emblems, he seems to have been rather sparing in making use of visual potential of the poetic word. However, he does rely on the sense of sight in his epistemological refl ection concerning the problem of knowing God, aesthetics (the experience of beauty) and ethics (the visible order of the world as a guide to proper conduct). The eye also plays a major role in his descriptions of the human psychology, especially love. The sight has a special function in his Treny (Laments), a cycle of elegies written after the death of his baby daughter Urszula in 1579. While addressing the fundamental questions of life and death, Kochanowski draws on visual and aural imagery to convey the devastating pain felt by the father after the death of his beloved child and to question his earlier confi dence in man’s sovereign mind.
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