The author explores the nature of images by comparing them with words. He singles out four theorists -- Nelson Goodman, Ernst Gombrich, G.E. Lessing, and Edmund Burke -- to discuss the structural differences between text and image, eye and ear, nature and convention, and space and time.
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"[Mitchell] undertakes to explore the nature of images by comparing them with words, or, more precisely, by looking at them from the viewpoint of verbal language. . . . The most lucid exposition of the subject I have ever read".--Rudolf Arnheim, "Times Literary Supplement"
Representation as text, image and fetish: this is the tripartite distinction around which Mitchell's iconology of arts and literature revolves. There is an interesting similarity to be observed here with Peirce's semiotic classification of signs: his symbols hold the place of the text, his icons that of the image, and his indices that of the ...