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Distributed for Athabasca University Press

“My Own Portrait in Writing”

Self-Fashioning in the Letters of Vincent van Gogh

A reading of Van Gogh’s collected correspondence by way of a set of ideas about dialogue and self-fashioning derived especially from Mikhail Bakhtin. Patrick Grant’s central claim is that Van Gogh’s letters raise from within themselves questions and issues to which they also respond dialogically, thereby thematizing the process of self-fashioning within their own discourse. The manner in which they do so is a marker of the specifically literary dimension of Van Gogh’s writing. Complementing Grant’s earlier critical analysis, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh: A Critical Study (AU Press, 2014), this study brings Van Gogh’s collected correspondence fully into the domain of modern literary studies, both critical and theoretical—as is long overdue.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction: The Dialogical Structure of Self-Fashioning

1 The Painterly Writer

2  Binaries, Contradictions, and “Arguments on Both Sides”

3  Reading Van Gogh’s Letter-Sketches

4 Imagination and the Limits of Self-Fashioning

Conclusion: Envoi

Notes; Index

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