Photographic Transgressions in Carol Shields’s “Scenes”



Abstrakt

The general aim of this article is to discuss ways in which an acclaimed Canadian writer, Carol Shields, employs, and simultaneously subverts, photographic metaphors in her short story titled “Scenes.” Shields skillfully arranges a series of scenes from Frances’s — the protagonist’s — past into a concise biography. Owing to their affinity to photographs, the scenes from Frances’s life might be attributed the status of objective and honest representations of reality which function as truthful evidence of what happened. Importantly, however, while Shields’s story evokes the photographic associations, it simultaneously calls in question their documentary reliability. In other words, Frances’s fragmentary biography — shown in (verbally constructed) images or flashes — undermines the concepts of both, a photograph as a documentary inscription of the truth, and language as a fitting medium of describing this truth.


Key words: Photography, representation, biography, language.


ATWOOD, Margaret, 1969 : The Edible Woman. Toronto, McClelland and Stewart.

BEAUVOIR, Simone, de, 1989 : The Second Sex. Trans. H.M. PARSHLEY. New York, Vintage Books.

BEST, Victoria, 1997 : “Mastering the Image: Photography and the Elusive Gaze”. In : French Cultural Studies. World Wide Web: http://frc.sagepub.com (22.11.2007).

FABER, Michael, 2002 : The Crimson Petal and the White. Orlando, A Harvest Book.

GUBAR, Susan, 1985 : “The Blank Page and the Issues of Female Creativity”. In : SHOWALTER, Elaine, ed. : Feminist Criticism. Essays on Women, Literature, Theory. New York, Pantheon Books : 292—313.

HAVERTY RUGG, Linda, 1997 : Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

HUTCHEON, Linda, 2002 : The Politics of Postmodernism. London, Routledge.

MULVEY, Laura, 1999 : “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. In: THORNHAM, Sue, ed. : Feminist Film Theory. A Reader. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press : 58—69.

SHIELDS, Carol, 1990 : “Scenes”. In: ONDAATJE, Michael, ed. : The Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian Short Stories. London and Boston, Faber and Faber : 647—655.

STURKEN, Marita, CARTWRIGHT, Lisa, 2001 : Practices of Looking. An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford, Oxford University Press.


Szatanik, Z. (1). Photographic Transgressions in Carol Shields’s “Scenes”. Romanica Silesiana, 3(1). Pobrano z https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RS/article/view/5685

Zuzanna Szatanik  zuzanna.szatanik@us.edu.pl
University of Silesia