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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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