ekphrasis, Norminton, Arts and Wonders, mimesis, plagiarism, kaleidoscope principle, adventure novel about the artist.


The article reveals some features of postmodern aesthetics that were borrowed by modern literature from romantics, and are now undergoing a period of criticism. It is shown how a fiction reflects the continuity between contemporary literature and previous literary phenomena, which consists in the perception, transformation, and critical rethinking of aesthetic ideas and concepts. For this purpose, the genesis of Norminton’s novel Arts and Wonders was traced and a literary technique such as ekphrasis, that means a verbal description of a painting, was researched. An analysis of the two most significant ekphrasises – Vertumn and The Librarian – showed that the author of the novel raises the problem of copy or plagiarism, which today has gained particular relevance both in the world of art and in the academic environment. It was showed that Norminton solves this issue by referring to the traditional concept of mimesis. Despite the declaration of the need to imitate nature, Arts and Wonders demonstrates that the contemporary author asserts his right to free creative imagination, including the interpretation of historical facts and figures. The literary text refers to the artifacts which are presented in the arsenal of culture that are freely combined according to a kaleidoscope principle.

Raising the question of the dialectical unity of such aesthetic categories as “beauty” and “ugliness”, Norminton enters into a polemic with the forerunner of postmodernism – romanticism. At the same time, the writer also poses questions about the correlation in the artist’s work of parts and the whole, about the need to achieve a balance of proportions between the elements that make up a work of art.
Determining the genre originality of the novel, the author of the article concludes that it is a complex synthetic form that combines the features of picaresque novel, a biographical novel, a travel book, a historical novel, an artist's novel, and a Bildungsroman, which as a result forms a new genre variety – an adventure novel about the artist.

Author Biography

Liudmyla Harmash , H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University

Doctor of Science in Philology, Professor



How to Cite

Harmash , L. . (2020). EKPHRASIS IN ARTS AND WONDERS BY GREGORY NORMINTON: GIUSEPPE ARCIMBOIDO AND TOMMASO GRILLI. Philological Treatises, 12(1), 49–60. Retrieved from https://tractatus.sumdu.edu.ua/index.php/journal/article/view/891