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Unveiling creative subplots through the non-traditional application of diagrammatic iconicity

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Abstract

In literary terms, diagrammatic iconicity has generally been understood to refer to a patterned series of linguistic or syntactic textual connections. But taking a broader view of diagrammatic iconicity reveals previously invisible creative subtexts. In Kingsley Amis&#8217;s novel <i>The Green Man</i> (1969), critics have failed to see that Amis once again offers a fictional portrait of a former publisher. In his first novel, <i>Lucky Jim</i> (1954) L.S Caton was based on R.A. Caton, the operator of the small press that published Amis&#8217;s own <i>Bright November</i> (1947). Caton would return for cameos in each of the next six novels, until he was killed off in <i>The Anti-Death League</i> (1966). Perhaps critics simply forgot about Amis&#8217;s habit of venting lingering irritation with previous publishers, but the depiction of Victor Gollancz in <i>The Green Man</i>, his ninth novel, has gone unnoticed. Gollancz&#8217;s presence in the text clearly conveys the importance of artistic freedom, which only becomes apparent when iconic principles are applied.

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