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Janine Dove-Rumé
Michel Naumann
Tri Tran

III. Littérature nord-américaine

Anamorphoses in Α.S. Byatt’s Novels

Marie-Claire Merel


This essay studies examples of transpositions from the visual arts to the literary text in A. S. Byatt’s Frederica quartet, focusing on two characters' visions, the heroine’s younger brother Marcus and the religious community leader Josh. The descriptions of their visual games and hallucinations may be analysed as 'verbal anamorphoses': the first part of the study is devoted to optical anamorphoses, while the second dwells on examples of catoptric anamorphoses.

Texte intégral

1The Frederica quartet, published between 1978 and 2003, offers a wide range of pictorial descriptions: in the second volume, Still Life, some descriptions are hybrid forms of the hypotyposis and the ekphrasis, discursive doubles translated from Van Gogh’s painting ‘Still Life with coffee pot ’, one of the art works quoted and transferred into linguistic messages in this novel whose title claims a special relation between the visual arts and literature. In the first and final volumes of Byatt’s quartet, The Virgin in the Garden and A Whistling Woman, two secondary characters revolving around the heroine, Frederica’s younger brother Marcus and the member of a religious community, Josh, often go through visual experiences which alter the appearance of objects and landscapes surrounding them: the passages in which the visions due to their deforming perception are described show analogies with the distorting process at play in the optical experiment called the anamorphosis: in Greek, ana’ means to change, and morphe’, the shape or form. The definition of anamorphosis is the following:

  • 1 Laurent Mannoni, Werner Nekes, Marina Warner, Eyes, Lies and Illusions London 2004, p. 195.

The transformation or distorted representation according to a specific set of rules. The figure only assumes its correct proportions and becomes legible when the distortion is resolved, either by changing the viewpoint or by using a reflective geometric body or a prismatic lens.1

2This paper focuses on this particular example of transposition from the visual arts to the literary text, in the perspective of a more global approach, trying to set up a typology of mirror-games in Byatt’s writings.



3At the beginning of The Virgin in the Garden, Marcus’s perspective on his environment is shown as being unconventional:

  • 2 A. S. Byatt, The Virgin in the Garden, London, 1978, p. 30.

He had played a game called spreading himself. This began with a deliberate extension of his field of vision, until by some sleight of perception he was looking out at once from the four field-corners, the high ends of the goal-posts, the running wire top of the fence.2

4The words ‘played’ and ‘game’ stress the fact that Marcus, a lonely child endowed with great intellectual power, enjoys himself by doing some visual trick, or’ sleight’, which consists in trying to obtain a simultaneity of viewpoints; Marcus willingly toys with perspective so as to transform matter into an illusion: we should bear in mind that the word ‘illusion’ comes from ‘ludere’, to ‘play’ in Latin. Thus, the boy can look from several perspectives of the pitch, like different facets. The opening sentence in the following paragraph, ‘He learned early to be grateful for geometry’ emphasizes the comparison we may draw between his way of constructing his environment and the cubist works of Picasso, a painter quoted in Byatt’s fourth volume: this simultaneity of viewpoints reminds us of the succession of planes in a cubist painting where the beholder can see them all at once. The young boy’s gaze deconstructs traditional perspective and recreates another space composed of geometrical volumes.

  • 3 Murray Krieger, Ekphrasis, Baltimore and London, J. Hopkins UP, 1992, p. 6.

5A long passage, part of which is quoted here, may be analyzed as a hybrid form of the hypotyposis, a scene described in such a lively way that you can almost picture it, and the ekphrasis, which, according to M. Krieger, ‘attempts to imitate in words an object of the plastic arts’.3

  • 4 VG, p. 119-120.

Allensbury’s shop window was, in its way, a work of art. It is not possible, with meat, to create the symmetry, the delicate variation of colour and form that a fishmonger can make on marble or ice with a wheel, or an abstract rose, of his proffered goods. But Allenbury’s window had a compensating variety. [...] From a glittering steel bar on elegantly curved hooks hung the chickens, with plump naked breasts and limbs, and softly feathered stretched necks. [...] Beneath them the display counter was lined and fringed with emerald green artificial grass. On this miniature meadow capered various folklorique figures and mythical creatures. [...] On the next layer, white marble below the brilliant green, were enamelled dishes of more recondite goods, alternating in colour and texture. [...] In front of these, cuts and joints. A Bath chap, sliced and pushed into a regular cone, coated with golden crumbs, glistening in its cellophane wrapper, a neat, impersonal object. Lambs cutlets in neat lines, a repeating pattern, pink flesh, white fat, opalescent bone, parallel lines, identical uneven blocks, achieving a kind of abstract regularity through the repetition.4

6The local butcher’s window is shown as a well-ordered still life; indeed, the vivid description is introduced by the sentence ‘What he saw was turning geometry’, echoing the sentence previously quoted. The description is so detailed and elaborate that the reader can summon a virtual image of this discursive painting, a celebration of rural Yorkshire in the fifties. Then, in a passage I want to underline, Marcus follows his mother inside the shop:

  • 5 VG, p. 121.

On each side of the door hung, straining from a hook through the tendon, half a carcase of beef. Marcus walked in with his mother as it were through this creature, which must have been splayed across the doorway that morning, headless neck down, and slowly sliced down the spine with blows of a hatchet. He had seen that done. He saw now the bulging flesh in its stained and clinging muslin coverings, and saw also the cold structure: chain of vertebrae, fan of ribs, taut sheen of inner skin between veiled bone and bone. Beyond this was a row of pale pig corpses and stiffly extended lambs.5

7Read as an ekphrasis, this extract may be the verbal translation of a painting by Rembrandt, The Carcass of Beef, an oil dated 1655 belonging to a set of two works devoted to the study of animal anatomy. It shows a flayed ox hanging the way it is described in Byatt’s novel, headless, upside down, split along its spine. The woman who is looking at the corpse is half hidden and placed in the background, behind the animal, whereas Marcus is facing it, like the beholder standing in front of Rembrandt’s painting. The meat shown on the canvas is enhanced by the play on light which illuminates it in the foreground, contrasted with the dark background. The flesh is the focal point of the painting as it is in this scene of the novel when the boy tries to apply his trick of shifting his perspective on things:

  • 6 VG, p. 122.

Marcus stared. He arranged. He rearranged. He looked from side to side. The meat surged.6

8He cannot turn the flesh into geometrical patterns which would make it something abstract, feeling assailed by what he sees, he tries to readjust his vision by sweeping his gaze from side to side, but when he looks at it again, the meat is still there, a metaphor for death in its physicality as in the Dutch painter’s work. Marcus’s sensation is expressed through an image here, in a powerful and direct way, as if projected to us. However, it is mediated through another system of representation, the visual arts.

9The following quote suggests that Marcus tries to adopt, in his optical game, an oblique perspective:

  • 7 VG, p. 80.

You see – it was important to see only obliquely – out of the edge of the eye – in the head – the kind of thing it was, the area it was in, but never to look directly, to look away on purpose, and wait for it to rise to form.7

10This is the process he goes through when altering his vision on things around him. And he does so by choosing an oblique perspective which enables him to make sense out of the form. This choice of an unconventional angle reminds us of the anamorphosis as defined in the Webster dictionary:

A distorted or monstrous projection or representation of an image on a plane or curved surface, which, when viewed from a certain point,[...], appears regular and in proportion; a deformation of an image.

11The anamorphosis presents a deformation which can be corrected, and the image restored, by several means, one of which, in the case of the optical anamorphosis, by looking at the object from an extreme angle. In other cases, a medium, like a cone or a mirror, is needed, but the beholder’s eye may also be instrumentalized as with Marcus’s anamorphical gaze: viewed from a traditional frontal perspective, the object becomes monstrous and repulsive. In the novel, Marcus runs out and almost faints with fright.


12The vision of the skinned animal occurs again in the second volume, when the boy dreams of his father carving a Sunday roast:

  • 8 A. S. Byatt, Still Life, London, 1995, p. 40.

That night, in Stephanie’s house, Marcus dreamed he had gone home and Bill was carving a meal to welcome him. The meat was cylindrical and bloody, and still had the furry skin on. Also, he saw at one end, pads and claws. [...] There they were at the table, his mother in a hat like a helmet, his father carving the bloody paw which was all the food on offer. As he carved, it contracted painfully, still alive, apparently.8

13The vision of the meat hanging at the butcher’s in the first volume reappears in the second volume as the dismembered part of the animal body, a repulsive vision of a living paw and Sunday roast, a monstrous thing produced by the degeneration of the form. The boy’s vision can be related to an anamorphosis in so far as it presents a distorted image of the family Sunday roast, a thing which is submitted to the torsion or twisting of the original form. Marcus, who has left his home to live with his sister, goes through a process of representation which transforms the object in a mental image leading him to lose his bearings:

  • 9 SL, p. 38.

The word ‘home’ in fact raised in his mind as they spoke their tedious sentences a mental image which it did not even occur to him to describe to Mr Rose. […] He saw a house, the house, almost the house a child draws in its infant school, [...] Jonly this house was also a crudely three-dimensional flimsy box, barely containing something very large and very much alive, covered with rusty pelt, so that every aperture bulged with glowing fur, was pushed outwards, cracking, and a claw showed here on a sill, and a ripple of muscle there. And the thing growled and howled to itself in the centre of its blind struggle.9

  • 10 P. Hamon, Du Descriptif, Paris, 1993, p. 73

14The text oscillates between the field of literary images, with a rhetorical figure, and that of psychoanalysis, with a mental image. The description provides the mindscape of the boy’s subconscious: the hallucination is turned into such a a lively pictorial description that it becomes a hypotyposis according to Fontanier’s definition, a way of describing things so vividly that they can almost be seen visually, as if they were painted. Philippe Hamon states this10 rhetorical form is what makes things ‘present’. This passage no longer refers to a dream, it shows the way the boy perceives things when he is awake. Hallucinations can be experienced by someone suffering from delirium, and they may affect all senses as opposed to Marcus whose visual activity only is affected:

  • 11 SL, p. 127.

I think it must have been a pram. I remember a square of light – and a kind of black ribbed frame on three sides – and something – may be more than one thing – wavering or flickering in the light, across the light, across the square of light. [...] I mean, it seemed to have been like that forever – and it was going to go on being like that forever. I can’t explain.11

15Remembering one of his first images urges the introverted teenager to utter a few words; the outside image is framed by the rims of the hood. The play on light and shadow reminds us of a painting framed by the rims of the hood from under which the child can hardly see the outside world:

  • 12 SL, p. 127.

‘I used to put you to sleep under the ash tree.’ [...]
‘Maybe it was the tree’, said Marcus. ‘Maybe it was just out of focus’.

16As a child, Marcus couldn’t readjust his perspective and focus on the central element, the tree; the phrase ‘out of focus’ underlines the disorder in his perception, the fact that there were no delineating lines to enable him to identify the object he was gazing at. The tree can be reconstructed as a mental representation when his mother and sister give him some more explanations which help him give the object a definite form. This ephemeral image of a part of the outside world is restored as a whole when Marcus, now a teenager, goes back to the place:

  • 13 SL, p. 290.

He tried to keep still. He considered the tree. [...] He looked up the trunk which rose, scarred, cracked, knobby, and yet essentially direct into the air, a deliquescent trunk which forked and forked again into many repeated trunks, reaching or travelling up. This solid fountain had multiple crowns of thick secondary limbs, dividing into long twigs, fine twigs, leaflets, leaves, shoots. Its history travelled with it, solidified in the immobile bole, healed wounds, split skins, broken limbs, new angles and turns.
He touched its thick hide, neither flesh-warm nor stone-cold. [...] Water rose uninterrupted from dark roots to dancing green. The water rose, not through suction, nor from pressure, but because it was an uninterrupted cohesive column, drawn up from base to crown. For a moment he saw the geometric fountain of rising water, a twisting and branching rope, the inner figure – no, an inner figure, there must be many – of its life and shape.

  • 14 C. Gandelman, Le Regard dans le texte, quoted by L. Louvel, p. 171.

17In the first paragraph, Marcus’s gaze perceives the outlines, the colours and surfaces of every part of the tree with what C. Gandelman terms a ‘tactile eye’.14

  • 15 J. Baltrusaitis, Anamorphoses, Paris, 1984.

18In the second paragraph, the character moves closer to the object so that he can now touch it, and his vision alters when he is so close, his lateral vision turns it into an anamorphic object. Marcus sees an other form as the tree is submitted to a deformation and metamorphoses into a column of water, from solid to liquid substance. Seeing from too close changes the vision, which results in a ‘perceptual disorder’ according to L. Louvel’s words. The boy’s vision is blurred and twisted and an other form rises, which cannot be seen from a conventional perspective, which has to be decyphered according to a depraved perspective’ in the words of J. Baltrusaitis.15

  • 16 J. D. Guelfi, Psychiatrie, Paris, 1987, p. 68.

19The eye can see a form which hides and reveals simultaneously, in this passage the human eye is instrumentalised as in the case of the optical anamorphosis. What the boy experiences may be defined as a psychosensory hallucination among which visual hallucinations are classified, ‘usually close to the images of dreams’.16 In Byatt’s quartet, Marcus is shown as a character whose mind has a capacity to produce a rich array of mental images, often constructed by staring hard at things and turning them into geometric shapes that belong to his order of things; this order can be linked to the oblique vision adopted with optical anamorphoses, producing fascinating strange things.



20The phrase ‘pensée déréelle’ used in psychiatry to refer to the way a schizophrenic person thinks, disconnected from his environment, may apply to Josh Lamb/Ramsden whose behaviour is described in reports by a psychiatrist in Byatt’s fourth novel. Josh’s visions evoke, in the following passage, a specular fear of himself, separated from the subject looking at himself:

  • 17 A. S. Byatt, A Whistling Woman, p. 77.

He was born, not Josh Lamb, but Joshua Ramsden. Born in Darlington, 1928. His father was an elementary school teacher and a methodist lay preacher, Joseph Ramsden. Joseph Ramsden was hanged in Durham goal in 1939 (May) for the murder of his wife, Nellie, and his daughter, Ruth, aged six. Krabbe’s notes say he claimed to have seen an angel who told him to smother his family, that they might not see the coming holocaust. He appears to have compared himself to Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and to Jephthah, sacrificing his daughter. He refused to plead insanity.17

21His son, who chooses to be called Josh Lamb, has a split personality: according to Lacan ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’ constitutes a turning-point after which the subject’s relation to himself is mediated through a totalizing image that has come from outside. The self becomes a unified concept as opposed to a body in bits and pieces. In the mirror stage, the formation of the first self is based on the first totalized image of the body.

22As a child, Josh was nearly killed by his father, and this episode has become a ‘censored chapter’ of his personal story. The vision of the kind of death he should have been submitted to is shown in a significant ekphrastic description when his school teacher shows Rembrandt’s work to the class:

  • 18 WW, p. 105.

Later, he knew that it was Rembrandt’s version of the Sacrifice of Isaac. The angel leans out of black thunderclouds. Its right hand grasps Abraham’s strong wrist. The curved knife, sharpened horribly clean, hangs forever in free fall across the landscape. Abraham’s bearded face, intent on what he has set out to do, startled in his nerves by the apparition, is turned up to the angel, away from the boy. The boy, naked except for a loincloth, lies back on the firewood. He has no face. Abraham’s left hand, brown skin on white, is clamped like a sucker, over the whole upper head of the boy. The head is forced back, smothered, so that the man cannot see the boy’s face and the boy cannot see the knife. What can be seen is the stretched white throat. Murder and pity. The boy, Josh Lamb, seeing this picture, was filled with that overwhelming and appalling pity with which the man now regarded the distant boy. He stared, and then all his muscles clamped into spasm, he vomited, he foamed, his bowels gave way, he went into the dark, which was not peace.18

23This fit is caused by a vision in which the child sees the reproduction of Rembrandt’s engraving as if it were a mirror reflecting the double of the I, that of the boy who was spared from infanticide like the child from the Bible Isaac whose father’s faith was tested by God. The boy Josh keeps staring at the picture, dumbfounded in front of the work before fainting.

  • 19 P. Cabanne, Vermeer, Paris, 2004, p. 65.

24But the child’s first name, Josh, evokes another biblical character, Moses’s successor, who led the Hebrew people to the territory of Canaan. Above all, this figure is linked to stories of feats, among which how he managed to stop the sun’s path – light is essential for Josh who thinks revelations are made to him by the divine order. The play on light and shadow is significant in the engraving which shows a contrast between the ray of light surrounding the angel as opposed to the darkness in which Abraham’s face is set, his eyes like two black spots suggesting blind faith in his god, and the ‘drama of light and darkness sublimated by his tormented and passionate soul’19.

25The way Josh reads the picture is significant: to him, Isaac is faceless, and he sees this void, this absence of identity as being the focal point of the pictorial art work. Isaac can thus be endowed with an other face and identity, those of the child beholding the engraving. Josh can see the ‘other’, the word used by Lacan to refer to the Freudian Unconscious. A form of hallucination seizes Josh who becomes the lamb of the sacrifice, as shown by the family name he chooses for himself, the very word used in the Bible to refer to the victim:

  • 20 The Holy Bible, Genesis, 22, 8.

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.20

26This hallucinatory episode may be analysed as a specular hallucination in which he can see himself as if he were reflected in a mirror, the pictorial art work serving as a mirror in this ekphrastic description. Thus, the pictorial mirror causes a psychic dissociation which threatens the integrity of the I of the character whose totality is lost, becoming the “corps morcelé” in Lacanian terms. In this specular hallucination, Josh thinks he can see his specular double in Isaac and he goes through an inverted mirror-stage: instead of acquiring the totality of an exterior form, he loses it and slides back into the chaos of the body in bits and pieces. The image is the agent of his dislocation and the birth of a schizophrenic self. Josh is simultaneously his self and the other in the pictorial art work, and he can foresee his future when confronted by the representation of his own death. Rembrandt’s picture becomes a sort of vanitas, a medium, he only can decypher, later, as an adult: retrospectively, it tells the story of a child who escaped infanticide, in anticipation, it is an omen of a sacrificial death that has been postponed but is visually announced by the woodfire in the foreground of the picture.

  • 21 P. Julien, Pour lire Lacan, Paris, 1995, p. 100.

27In this specular relation, confronted to the pictorial work which serves as a reflective surface, Josh can see his double who’s at the same time his self and an other, the stranger who belongs to the past: he re-lives a fragment of his forgotten life, the picture is the agent for an operation of transfer which is 'the presence of the past in the present’. Here, in Pierre Julien’s words, ‘a fragment comes back like a specular reflectison of the forgotten past.'21


28The television set that Josh’s community owns is placed in an attic room whose decoration reminds the reader of the setting chosen for Frederica’s programme, entitled Through the Looking-Glass: it also duplicates and multiplies the mirror Alice goes through:

  • 22 A S. Byatt, A Whistling Woman, p. 398.

The room was a box of mirrors – lined with mirrors, and mirrors behind mirrors, crazily reflecting each other. There was a television, showing white noise.22

29The low attic room looks like a mosaic of mirrors receding behind others, it is a box in which the religious group members watch the box which fascinates them. At that final stage in the narrative, Josh can perceive his image as a 'mise en abyme', endlessly duplicated. This device reminds us of the definition of the catoptric anamorphosis, when using reflective devices like cones, pyramids, prisms and cylinders.

  • 23 WW, p. 310.

30The isolation from the outer world, which also characterizes the schizophrenic person, is shown physically and geographically by the fact that Josh and his group live in a secluded house located on the moors of North Yorkshire. Estranged from any kind of social life, the only link is provided by pictures on the screen; yet, Josh often stares at a blank screen and practices a spiritual exercise, “in which he poured the blood into the glass tank of the box, and the snowflakes soaked it up, and dispersed it, as though it had never been.”23

31The TV room becomes the space of the schizophrenic, a room where the numerous mirrors multiple optical games, and the self is an illusion done with mirrors. Josh moves into a universe of fantasy in which he loses his self which he sees as an other:

  • 24 WW, p. 400.

Joshua Ramsden looked at the mirrors and the light, and the mirrors and the blood and the Light. He moved and spoke in a howling chorus of invisible voices. He heard his father, explaining that the pure fields of white light were just beyond the dissolution, that he had always known that, and had acted in wisdom, as Joshua must now do, having failed to die at the proper time.24

32The other Josh has become no longer answers the surname of 'Lamb' but an other name, an other representation in the linguistic system, 'Ramsden', suggesting the name of the animal whose sacrifice replaces Isaac’s:

  • 25 The Holy Bible, Genesis, 22, 13.

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.25

33With Rembrandt’s engraving, Josh sees a double vison of his life past and future, so the ekphrasis works as an analepsis and prolepsis in the narrative, it duplicates the story of his childhood and announces the death of the adult. Quoting M. Foucault, we could say that the character 'has been alienated in analogy'. A victim of hallucinations, convinced that he is the recipient of the divine message, his troubles remind us of those described in his memoirs by Schreber who thought his hallucinations were signs that he was chosen as God’s messenger. Josh slides into mental disorder and brings chaos to the community:

It turned out that Need-fires had been lit, to purify the place. Need-fires, ideally, begin with sparks ignited from wood on wood – impregnated cloth is attached to a wooden frame, through which infected cattle – or in this case, sinful people – are herded.

  • 26 WW, p. 404.
  • 27 G. Didi-Huberman, Devant l’image, Paris, Ed. Minuit, 1990, p. 306.

34Initially the ritual was used for cattle, here it is distorted and transformed into human sacrifice like the biblical scene illustrated by Rembrandt. Yet, the mode of sacrifice has been inverted: Isaac was spared and the blood of the ram was shed, whereas in Ramsden’s community human sacrifice replaces the slaughter of animals. Three people die, among them Josh, whose body 'was found amongst a heap of shattered and melted glass – mirrors, a television'26. He dies as if he were burned at the stake, a purification by fire, a catharsis among tangible signs of his disorder, splinters of the two glass boxes that disturbed his relation with the outer world. The TV screen and the endless mirror-games on the walls reflect his logic of illusion and fragmentation, the fabrication produced by mental disorder: Josh was 'chaos made flesh'27 He dies in the midst of the specular device which split him up by duplicating his image endlessly, showing him, beneath the profusion of images, vacuum, vanity and death.

35One of the mirror-games at play in Byatt’s novels consists in translating a work of the visual arts into another sign system, language. By this operation of mediation, Byatt alters the original pictorial work and creates an other, its literary reflection, thus urging her reader to see and think, and reflect on systems of representation.




The Virgin in the Garden, London, Vintage, 1994.
Still Life,
London, Vintage, 1995.
Babel Tower,
London, Vintage, 1997.
A Whistling Woman,
London, Vintage, 2003.


BALTRUSAITIS J., Anamorphoses, les perspectives dépravées, Paris, Flammarion, 1996.

CABANNE P., Vermeer, Paris, Editions du Terrail, 2004.

FOUCAULT M., Les Mots et les Choses, Paris, Gallimard, 1966.

GUELFI J. D., Psychiatrie, Paris, Puf, 1987.

HAMON P., Du Descriptif, Paris, Seuil, 1993.

DIDI-HUBERMAN G., Devant l’image, Paris, Les Editions de Minuit, 1990.

JULIEN P., Pour lire Lacan, Paris, Seuil, 1995.

KRIEGER Murray, Ekphrasis, Baltimore and London, John Hopkins UP, 1992.

LOUVEL L., L’Oeil du texte, Toulouse, Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 1998.

LOUVEL L. Texte/Image, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes 2002.

WARNER M., Eyes, Lies and Illusions, (Introd.), London, Hayward Gallery, 2005.


1 Laurent Mannoni, Werner Nekes, Marina Warner, Eyes, Lies and Illusions London 2004, p. 195.

2 A. S. Byatt, The Virgin in the Garden, London, 1978, p. 30.

3 Murray Krieger, Ekphrasis, Baltimore and London, J. Hopkins UP, 1992, p. 6.

4 VG, p. 119-120.

5 VG, p. 121.

6 VG, p. 122.

7 VG, p. 80.

8 A. S. Byatt, Still Life, London, 1995, p. 40.

9 SL, p. 38.

10 P. Hamon, Du Descriptif, Paris, 1993, p. 73

11 SL, p. 127.

12 SL, p. 127.

13 SL, p. 290.

14 C. Gandelman, Le Regard dans le texte, quoted by L. Louvel, p. 171.

15 J. Baltrusaitis, Anamorphoses, Paris, 1984.

16 J. D. Guelfi, Psychiatrie, Paris, 1987, p. 68.

17 A. S. Byatt, A Whistling Woman, p. 77.

18 WW, p. 105.

19 P. Cabanne, Vermeer, Paris, 2004, p. 65.

20 The Holy Bible, Genesis, 22, 8.

21 P. Julien, Pour lire Lacan, Paris, 1995, p. 100.

22 A S. Byatt, A Whistling Woman, p. 398.

23 WW, p. 310.

24 WW, p. 400.

25 The Holy Bible, Genesis, 22, 13.

26 WW, p. 404.

27 G. Didi-Huberman, Devant l’image, Paris, Ed. Minuit, 1990, p. 306.


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