History modes of expression can vary widely in their substance and function. Because they are narratives, they can be spoken, or written, a fixed or moving image, or a gesture, a myth, a legend, a fable, a tale, a novella, a history, an epic, a mime, a stained glass window, a film, a comic, a postcard, a performance, a street theatre, a conversation or a painting.1 Because they are the result of the content/story and narrating/narration decisions of their author, all history modes of expression are, therefore, prefigured like any textual history. They are also subject to the epistemological decisions of their authors/creators. As expressive forms, modes of expression can both refer and also exemplify meaning. Thus, a mode of expression such as the painting by Frdric Bazille of his studio Studio in the Rue La Condamine (1870) expresses its predicate metaphorically rather than literally. Where the painting exemplifies in its colour, brush strokes and composition (grouping and distance between figures) the working friendships between painters Bazille, Manet, Monet, Renoir and the writer Zola who are in the picture, it also expresses metaphorically their camaraderie and common concerns. The painting not only ‘portrays realistically’ (as much as any painting can ‘portray’ ‘realistically’) but also metaphorically.2 This is an important feature not merely of paintings and other visual forms, but also of written texts (which also use their own kinds of colour, spacing, composition, etc.).
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- History as Expression
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number