Dilection: On the phenomenology of child drawing and the genesis of poetic expression

Thomas Gould

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In light of a contemporary reinvigoration of the discourse of drawing, this article reconsiders the frontier between writing and drawing as expressive comportments, specifically through the theoretical discourse of child drawing. Through discussions of the psychologist Georges-Henri Luquet, the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and the poet Francis Ponge, the article argues that, between the poles of attention and expression, the discourse of child drawing demonstrates the importance of an affective notion of selection. Developing a theory of ‘graphic infancy,’ it discusses the role played by an embodied, selective disposition towards the phenomenal world—of which the linguistic field is a part—in the development of artistic and poetic expressiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-183
Number of pages22
JournalSubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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