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Analysing the eye with a view to the past : exploring image and imagination in 19th century Northwest coast diaries Lane, Lorenzo


This paper explores how “History” is represented within the diaries of the 19th century Northwest Coast translator Arthur Wellington Clah. Through exploring and deconstructing the language used to compose the diaries, this paper demonstrates how a new methodology can be employed for the purpose of understanding how a representation of the world can be reconstructed. Through understanding the “grammar of experience” this work attempts to uncover the structuring principles used to give order to the world. This analysis shows how representation can be translated into the visual field, with events within the written text being decomposed into images whose “meaning” and structure can be described in terms of elements within an artistic composition. This work looks at how an indigenous diarist of the Tsimshian people in British Columbia develops and represents his own sense of what “History” is, through hybridising two systems of ordering reality. This paper shall explore the ways in which different structuring principles interact and shape the vision of the world and go on to shape the represented world within the text.

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