This essay considers the role of layout in intermedial photo-texts, arguing that the scrapbooking of visual material and printed text constitutes an integral aspect to these texts' rhetoric and semantics. Through a close reading of novels by W. G. Sebald and Monika Maron, I show how photographic inserts can be used to connect distant or incommensurate spaces: the represented space inside the photograph; the space of representation (of the photograph itself); and the extratextual space of the reader. However, the establishment of such a connection crucially depends on the imagination of the beholder of photographs, and the more skeptical photographic readings in Maron's novel illustrate that photos can also be used to block off incommensurate times and spaces. The meaningful layout pattern established by both authors is broken up in the English translation of their works, and the essay closes by considering the problematic nature of translated photo-texts.
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Research Article| March 01 2008
Silke Horstkotte; Photo-Text Topographies: Photography and the Representation of Space in W. G. Sebald and Monika Maron. Poetics Today 1 March 2008; 29 (1): 49–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2007-017
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