Christopher D. Johnson

Associate Research Fellow - Bilderfahrzeuge Project

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7862 8755 
 johnson@bilderfahrzeuge.org
iconology.hypotheses.org

Research interests

The rhetorical tradition | Baroque lyric poetry | Renaissance intellectual history | Renaissance art history | Bildwissenschaft

 

Project

Rhetorical pictures in Early Modern Spain and the New World

My contribution to the picture vehicle project is a now analytic, now synoptic research of the rhetorical terms. A course in the comparative arts, above all poetry and painting, it examines how the rhetorical enterprise provides the theoretical and practical vocabulary to understand color , enargeia , compositio , ekphrasis , figura, paradigm, icon , etc. "Poésie" paintings or El Greco's "sign language" (cf. Wittkower) with Góngora's verses, Bosch's grotesques with Quevedo's Sueños , The emblems of Horozco y Covarrubias with the arcos triunfales of Nueva España (Mexico) designed by Sigüenza y Góngora and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, or the murals in the Casa del Deán in Puebla with Ovid's Metamorphoses . Further, I contend did while seeking texts and material objects Aimed to persuade, Their imagery oft cultivated at affectus of astonishment did appealed more to what Nicholas of Cusa called the intellectio than to reason or to feeling. The verbal and visual wit ( ingenium, ingenio ) of these documents and monuments made, that is, strong if not unique cognitive claims on, respectively, the reader and viewer. To put it in more Warburgian terms,

Rhetorical imagery in early-modern Spain and the New World

My contribution to the Bilderfahrzeuge project is a partly analytical, partly synoptic investigation of rhetorical terms that permeate the invention and interpretation of images and texts in early-modern Spain and the New World. My study, which is located in the field of the arts comparison, explores the materials and methods from comparative studies, art history and rhetoric, to the extent to which the company of rhetoric offers a theoretical and practical vocabulary in order to understand concepts such as color , enargeia , compositio , ekphrasis , figura , Paradigm, icon , and so on. Such a glossary helps us, For example Titian's "poésie" painting or El Greco's "sign language" (cf. Wittkower) with the verses of Góngoras, the grotesques of Bosch with the Sueños of Quevedo, the emblems of Horozco y Covarrubias with the arcos triunfales in Nueva España (Mexico) or the wall paintings in the Casa del Deán in Puebla with Ovid's metamorphoses . Furthermore, I intend to show that, although such texts and material objects are persuasive, their pictorial quality often also cultivates a pathos ( affectus ) of astonishment which belongs rather to the sphere which Nicholas of Cusa calls intellectio than in those of reason. The linguistic and pictorial joke ( ingenium, Ingenio ) of these documents and monuments cognitively stimulates readers and viewers in a strong, if not unique, way. To express it in Warburg's conceptuality: these images and texts circulate along the hiking routes that lead from Northern Europe and Italy to Spain, then to meander into the New World. They become rhetorical imagery for new, dynamic forms of subjectivity and objectivity, which often aroused dominant taste, cultural orthodoxy, and epistemological habits, but sometimes also directly or indirectly challenged them. Which lead from Northern Europe and Italy to Spain, then to meander into the New World. They become rhetorical imagery for new, dynamic forms of subjectivity and objectivity, which often aroused dominant taste, cultural orthodoxy, and epistemological habits, but sometimes also directly or indirectly challenged them. Which lead from Northern Europe and Italy to Spain, then to meander into the New World. They become rhetorical imagery for new, dynamic forms of subjectivity and objectivity, which often aroused dominant taste, cultural orthodoxy, and epistemological habits, but sometimes also directly or indirectly challenged them.

CURRICULUM VITAE

 

Academic background

1986-1991 St. John's College, Santa Fe, BA

1995-2001 New York University, Department of Comparative Literature, PhD

2002-2003 Harvard University, Literature Concentration, Lecturer in Literature

2003-2004  Northwestern University, Department of English, Assistant Professor of English

2004-2013 Harvard University, Department of Comparative Literature, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature

2013-2014 University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Visiting Associate Professor of Spanish

Fellowships

2015 American Academy in Berlin, Berlin Prize

2013-2104 Folder Shakespeare Library, Short-Term Fellowship

2008 Herzog August Library, Duke August Library Fellowship

Publications

Monographs

Memory, Metaphor, and Aby Warburg's Atlas of Images (Cornell University Press and Cornell University Library, 2012).

Hyperboles: The Rhetoric of Excess in Baroque Literature and Thought (Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature, with Harvard University Press, 2010).

Selected Poetry of Francisco de Quevedo: A Bilingual Edition , translator and editor (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Selected Articles

" Pathosformels : Warburg, Cassirer and the case Giordano Bruno," in ethos and  pathos of the sciences. Studies on the scientific persona between  1750 and 1930 , ed. Carlos Spoerhase, Dirk Werle, Ralf Klausnitzer, Munich, forthcoming 2014.

"Puntos errantes: la poética inmanente de Paradiso ," in Asedios a lo increado: Nuevas  aproximaciones a Lezama Lima , ed. Jorge Marturano, Marta Hernández-Salván, and Juan Pablo Lupi, Madrid, forthcoming 2014.

"N + 2: A Late Renaissance Poetics of Enumeration," Modern Language Notes (Comparative Literature Issue), 127.5 (2012), pp. 1096-1043.

& Quot; Baroque Poetry, & quot; in The New Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetry and Poetics , 4 th edition, ed. Roland Greene and Stephen Cushman, Princeton, 121-126.

"Making the 'round of knowledge' in Bacon's Wake: Naudé, Comenius, and Browne," Society  and Politics (Special issue: Disciplines and Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Thought ) 5.2 (2011), pp. 9-31.

"'El Homero español': Translation and Shipwreck," Translation and Literature 20.2 (2011), pp. 157-174.

"Coincidence of Opposites: Bruno, Calderón, and the Renaissance Drama of Ideas," Renaissance Drama (Special issue: Italy in the Drama of Europe ) 36/37 (2010), pp. 319-352.

"Periwigged Heralds": Epistemology and Intertextuality in Early American Cometography, "  Journal of the History of Ideas 65.3 (2004), pp. 399-419.

"Appropriating Troy: Ekphrasis in Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece ," in Fantasies of Troy: Classical valley and the Social Imaginary in Medieval and Early Modern Europe , ed Alan Shepard and Stephen D. Powell, Toronto., 2004.

"Intertextuality and Translation: Browne, Borges, and Quevedo," Translation and Literature,  11.2 (2002), pp. 174-194.