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Into the Future

David Trotter: The Novel, 22 March 2007

The Novel: Vol. I: History, Geography and Culture 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 916 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04947 5
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The Novel: Vol. II: Forms and Themes 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 950 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04948 3
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... rather than the historical dimension of the novel’s expedient fictionality. Franco Moretti and Mieke Bal both challenge the distinction theorists have drawn between narrative and description. Description usually features as the impediment to, or antithesis of, narrative. For Moretti and Bal, it is, rather, a mode of ...

Don’t you cut your lunch up when you’re ready to eat it?

Linda Nochlin: Louise Bourgeois, 4 April 2002

Louise Bourgeois’s ‘Spider’: The Architecture of Art-Writing 
by Mieke Bal.
Chicago, 134 pp., £19, November 2001, 0 226 03575 1
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... Analogy, interpretation, ‘leaps of all kinds’. These words might be said to set the stage for Mieke Bal’s Louise Bourgeois’s ‘Spider’: The Architecture of Art-Writing, which first saw the light as an article in the special issue of the Oxford Art Journal focused on Bourgeois. It is devoted to a single work, but an extraordinarily ...

Models and Props

Nicholas Penny: Caravaggio in the Studio, 10 August 2000

Caravaggio 
by Catherine Puglisi.
Phaidon, 448 pp., £24.95, May 2000, 0 7148 3966 3
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Caravaggio’s Secrets 
by Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit.
MIT, 118 pp., £18.50, September 1998, 0 262 02449 7
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by Peter Robb.
Bloomsbury, 567 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 7475 4599 5
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Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History 
by Mieke Bal.
Chicago, 305 pp., £28.50, October 1999, 0 226 03556 5
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Doubting Thomas: A Novel About Caravaggio 
by Atle Naess, translated by Anne Born.
Owen, 159 pp., £14.95, June 2000, 0 7206 1082 6
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Caravaggio: A Life 
by Helen Langdon.
Pimlico, 447 pp., £15, November 1999, 9780712665827
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... the illustrious dead in order to demonstrate that museums aren’t merely cemeteries. Mieke Bal introduces us to some contemporary artists who have made use of Caravaggio or have claimed a relation with him. Jeanette Christensen, for example, in a work of 1995 placed a laser copy of a detail from Caravaggio’s Thomas showing ...

Why always Dorothea?

John Mullan: How caricature can be sharp perception, 5 May 2005

The One v. the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel 
by Alex Woloch.
Princeton, 391 pp., £13.95, February 2005, 0 691 11314 9
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... He quotes, with I think unintended comic effect, the wonderfully solemn perplexity of Mieke Bal in Narratology (1985), faced by this troubling illusion of a human presence in texts: ‘That no one has yet succeeded in constructing a complete and coherent theory of character is probably precisely because of this human aspect. The character is ...

How awful

Emily Witt: Claire Messud’s Spinster, 23 May 2013

The Woman Upstairs 
by Claire Messud.
Virago, 304 pp., £14.99, May 2013, 978 1 84408 731 0
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... and the tropes of gender, whatever the fuck they are, and Roland Barthes and Judith Butler and Mieke Bal – I could do that, they taught us how to do it, that’s what art school seemed mostly to be for, but I couldn’t do it with a straight face … and that’s why I went to get my master’s in Education and appeared to myself and to the world to ...

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