GAUGUIN'S NOA NOA: ASPECTS OF NARRATIVE IN TEXT AND IMAGE
Day, Amy Elizabeth
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Paul Gauguin's novel Noa Noa is a fictionalized account of his first Tahitian journey. The artist planned to combine his text with ten woodblock prints, now known as the Noa Noa Suite; and he began working on both the text and the images in 1893. The two works were never printed together in the same volume, and no information has been found concerning the placement of images with text. There has been no investigation of the relationship between these images and the written story they were meant to accompany. This thesis attempts to establish a functional relationship between Gauguin's images and his text and to explore the many different narrative levels employed in Noa Noa. Both the text and the images are examined alone to determine how each functions separately as a narrative. Then, when examining the two forms together, the images are each found to connect with a specific textual passage -- a passage almost always containing references to Gauguin's previous works. This association between text and image creates an entirely new narrative. It is proven that, when writing about his painting, Gauguin created a discourse between image and text that contains a multi-layered reference to himself as a creator. Finally, it is shown that Gauguin combined this intermedia narrative with other, more universal narratives to elevate his own position as a creator.