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Garrett Stewart

Portrait of Garrett Stewart standing in doorway.
James O. Freedman Professor of Letters
352 EPB
Curriculum Vitae:

Research Area(s)

Research Interests

Victorian Fiction; Narrative Theory; Textual Poetics; Visuality Studies

Garrett Stewart has taught fiction, film, and textual  theory at the University of Iowa since 1993. Pursuing always a methodology of close-grained verbal or visual analysis—in books on language in Dickens (1974), the death scene in British Fiction (1984), the phonetic undertow of literary writing from Shakespeare to Woolf (1990), and the “Dear Reader” address of Victorian novels (1996)—Stewart was led by that last topic to a subsequent study of the scene of reading in painting, from saints with books in illuminated manuscripts through Rembrandt to Picasso and Francis Bacon. In approaches to the moving rather than the still image, his 1999 investigation into the “photogrammar” of traditional cinema was brought up to date in 2007 by a sequel volume on the new digital conditions of screen narrative, Framed Time: Toward a Postfilmic Cinema. In 2009, Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction, awarded the Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative, named in its subtitle the method of this and the previous film book, searching out the “microplots” of narrative development in the inflections of technique, audiovisual or linguistic. Since then, concentrating on the conceptual violence done to rather than in books, Bookwork: Medium to Object to Concept to Art (2011) follows up on the 2-D image of reading with a close look at the ironies of illegibility in conceptual book sculpture, whether in found, altered, or fabricated volumes, engaging again with the digital epoch on another front: its rapid transformation of the reading experience. His dozen monographs since then, including an interactive e-book on moving-image art in museum display, have continued to probe the medial infrastructure of film and literature, ranging from an account of “surveillancinema” to his latest cross-over study, The Metanarrative Hall of Mirrors: Reflex Action in Fiction and Film (2022). He was elected in 2010 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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