The Photograph

Subé Fountain with gold statue of Winged Victory, built in 1907, Reims, France.


My photo
Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for visiting. I hope you will find the information insightful. ~ Dr. Jeanne Iris
To view my page on the Edwin Mellen Press website, please click below:


Recently, I have demonstrated or will demonstrate the application of this theory at the following locations:
April, 2016 @ University of Notre Dame:
A 'Daughter of Attila' Speaks: The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism in the Cultural Identity of Irish Celts and Magyars
November, 2016 @ Massachusetts Maritime Academy:
"A Terrible Beauty is Born"...The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism and William Butler Yeats' poem, Easter 1916
November 2017 @ Georgetown University:
Harmony of the Spheres and the Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism in Sydney Owenson's Epistolary Tale, The Wild Irish Girl

Dates pending: I will present the theory of iconic realism at universities and art institutes which have purchased my book.

18 July, 2017

Sydney Owenson's and Iconic Realism: Spiritual Connection Between Humanity and Natural Law

An excerpt from my book: 
Owenson acknowledges the spiritual connection between humanity and natural law, a common theme occurring in Goethe’s works. In one of his conversations with Johann Peter Eckermann, he explains:
Freedom consists not in refusing to recognize anything above us, but in respecting something which is above us; for, by respecting it, we raise ourselves to it, and, by our very acknowledgment, prove that we bear within ourselves what is higher, and are worthy to be on a level with it.[1]
Owenson, then, incorporates the Romantic concept of nature’s influence on humanity’s intellectual actions while she introduces the reality of political and societal constraints through many of her characters’ struggles with self-awareness. Through this conflict, Owenson personifies the dichotomous nature of glory in which her birth nation struggles with true autonomy and its native glór (voice) to be heard. Owenson’s romantic, graceful style of writing demonstrates iconic realism through the interaction of her characters as she awakens her society to effective conflict resolution that begins with the self.

[1] Johann Goethe, quoted in Conversations of Goethe with Johann Peter Eckermann, translated by John Oxennford, edited by J.K. Moorhead (New York: Da Capo Press, 1998), p. 157.

12 July, 2017

Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' and Iconic Realism

In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, characterization takes place within the parameters of a seventeenth century New England village. Yet, the message that Miller is sending to his audience parallels the political ramifications of the anti-communist hearings in the United States, when fear of communism heavily influenced the psychological landscape. He creates a series of events that illustrate iconic realism through his use of lighting, characterization and dialogue. As each member of the town accused of witchcraft is called to trial, the lighting and stage presence illuminates the audience to the author’s intention. Written in 1953, shortly after the anti-communist hearings, known as the House Committee on Un-American Activities,[1] each character could represent some facet of the House Committee’s representation, for actions by the House committee resembled those of the drama’s magistrates. 

However, the reality of the play is a seventeenth century New England village, during a time when actual witch hunts did take place. Miller admits to changing a few names and facts regarding the characters, “This play is not history in the sense in which the word is used by the academic historian… However... the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest...chapters in human history.”[2] Miller chooses a tale of human interaction to demonstrate his concern for the cultural future of the United States and humanity in general. (Lakatos 2009)

I wonder... Have some current politicians and media anchors read this play?  Somehow, I think not. 

[1] Carr, Robert K. “The Un-American Committee.” The University of Chicago Law Review. 18.3 (Spring, 1951) 598-633.
[2] Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. (New York: Penguin Books, 1976) 2.

11 July, 2017

Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" and Iconic Realism

Adler Planetarium Astronomy Museum, Art Institute of Chicago

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
by Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

Above is a poem by the American poet, Walt Whitman. Here, the speaker leaves an astronomy lecture to step outside the fixed parameters and subsequently, learns first-hand the beauty in viewing the same firmament of which the lecturer speaks, but viewed simply with the naked eye, in silence. By leaving the lecture, the speaker, with knowledge shared by the astronomer inside, now enjoys the silent beauty with appreciated knowledge, but more importantly, with appreciation of the significance of the stars’ natural state. 
This poem illustrates iconic realism in that the subject, constellations in a contrived setting, brings the audience (the speaker in the poem) to a recognition that education of natural phenomena includes the experience of directly connecting humanity with nature. 

I warmly thank the Art Institute of Chicago for purchasing a copy of my book, The Theory of Iconic Realism: Understanding the Arts through Cultural Context.

06 July, 2017

Benny Goodman Live at Carnegie Hall, 1938 and Iconic Realism (Click onto title to hear performance.)

(Photograph info: Goodman-and-members-of-his-band-1938) 

Benny Goodman and his orchestra appearing on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1938 illustrates the theory of iconic realism. Never before had the art of jazz in America been performed in an established musical forum, where previous to this performance, only classical music had been performed. The presence of this jazz artist on this particular stage enlightened the world audience of the need for cultural affirmation of this art form. From this moment onward to the present, jazz has taken its place of honor as America's original musical genre.