Thematized iconicity and iconic devices in the modern novel
The following paper offers case studies of forms of thematized iconicity in the modern realist novel. Taking its cue from Eco and Sebeok’s <i>The Sign of Three</i> (1983), it explores some of the ingenious, yet plausible, ways in which acoustic and visual iconicity have played a substantial role in modern fiction. Examples of acoustic iconicity and indexicality are explored in David Lodge’s <i>Deaf Sentence</i> (2008), whereas visual iconicity is shown to be of overarching importance in Umberto Eco’s <i>The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana</i> (English translation: 2005). Emphasis is placed on the importance of a self-deprecating satirical perspective in <i>Deaf Sentence</i> and on the way in which copious intertextual material and visual images are used to defamiliarize the historical context of Eco’s novel. Reader-response is considered in the case of narrated iconicity in both works. The paper is predicated on the working hypothesis that thematized iconicity deserves serious consideration as a literary topos in its own right.