Writing for Art

Orpheus and Eurydice
Lord Leighton, Orpheus and Eurydice (c. 1864)

But give them me, the mouth, the eyes, the brow!
Let them once more absorb me! One look now
Will lap me round forever, not to pass
Out of its light, though darkness lie beyond:
Hold me but safe again within the bond
Of one immortal look! All woe that was,
Forgotten, and all terror that may be,
Defied, no past is mine, no future: look at me!

Robert Browning

Writing for art, or ekphrasis, as it may be termed, has held a special place within my thought since undertaking an undergraduate course led by the amazing Dr. Stephen Cheeke, whose first book on the subject, Writing for Art: The Aesthetics of Ekphrasis, was published in 2008 by Manchester University Press.

Can I follow in the footsteps of such a role model? It is not beyond the realms of possibility to apply for a post-doctoral project thinking about Marvell in this light. In the first instance, though, there is the smallest of chances that writing and art might permeate my professional life sooner rather than later in a different capacity, and how desperately do I both want and need this chance.

But give it me: the talk, the choice, the nod.
Let your decision absorb me! Let those Gods
Who sent me to Geneva not let me pass
Out of their sight, though darkness fell within.
Make me but safe again within my skin
With one immortal chance! All woe be glass
In shatters, and all terror that may befall,
Recoil. The past resigns, the future ‘waits your call.



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