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‘Dripping venison memory’: the radical ekphrasis of Max Porter’s The Death of Francis Bacon

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/11/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Textual Practice
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date13/11/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper explores the radical ekphrasis employed by Max Porter within his 2021 novella, The Death of Francis Bacon. Blurring prose, poetry and quasi-fictional biography, the text greatly elaborates upon more traditional and classical forms of ekphrasis, exploring all new methods of adopting the form. Alongside Porter's linguistic-aesthetic mosaic there is a theoretical acuity to his assimilation which resonates greatly with Gilles Deleuze's 1981 creative-critical study, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation. Porter demonstrates the great potentiality of his innovative expansion of the form as a means to enhance our understanding of an artwork and to give an intimate glimpse into the processes undertaken by the artist, testing the ground for literary methods which evoke Bacon’s iconic style of painting, as well as pondering how to capture a true sense of his philosophical impetus. Porter seems particularly interested in considering the process of readership itself; the very act of conjuring mental images while reading - particularly through literary metaphor - and how this experience can be manipulated in writing to reflect Bacon’s visual aesthetics.