2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

To Gaze Upon God: Visual Abstraction in "The Symphony", From Melville's Moby-Dick
Tom G. Franken
Dr. Sarah Mohler, Faculty Mentor

The relationship which exists between reader visualization and the realization of meaning within a text is inevitably circular. Reader visualization is necessarily determined by cultural background, literary knowledge, and personal experience, and therefore, how we imagine is inseparable from how we understand (Laslo). In this paper, I will test these issues by exploring how two peripheral pieces (Sam Franciss Whiteness of the Whale and J.M.W. Turners Whalers) have come to influence my visualization and interpretation of Herman Melvilles Moby Dick, particularly my reading of The Symphony, the novels ultimate chapter before the battle with eponymous whale. My goal is not merely to find parallels between pieces through analysis, but to propose that it is possible to read Melvilles novels through the abstract paintings of Francis and Turner and in turn to reveal deeper levels of understanding in Moby Dick.

Keywords: Moby Dick, Visualization, Adaptations, Sam Francis, JMW Turner, Janos Laslo, abstract painting, literary theory

Topic(s):Moby Dick: From Page to Stage and Screen

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 201-2
Location: MG 1098
Time: 0:15

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