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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:


I have demonstrated or will demonstrate the application of this theory at the following locations:
November, 2016 @ Massachusetts Maritime Academy:
"A Terrible Beauty is Born"...The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism and William Butler Yeats' poem, Easter 1916
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
Dates pending: I will present the theory of iconic realism at universities and art institutes which have purchased my book.

13 January, 2009

Iconic realism in Irish literature

An example of iconic realism in Irish literature is Cathleen Ni Houlihan. Her character appears in a number of novels and poetry through a variety of personas. I'm thinking of such obvious writers as James Joyce, Brian Friel, William Butler Yeats and Maria Edgeworth, not to mention my personal favorite, Sydney Owenson. 


  1. So Iconic realism is the treatment of a symbol or an idea as a living character, to better understand what that symbol or idea represents?

  2. Thank you for your excellent question, Brian. You are correct; writers will use symbols to represent concepts. When they use an icon to represent a concept, the audience associates even more concrete meaning. An icon is more than a symbol; it is established by a community to represent an aspect of that community's culture. Therefore, when an author places the icon in a setting that is unusual for this icon to be in, (s)he is making a statement about a change that is necessary within that community.

    For example, in Owenson's _The Missionary_, she uses a Catholic priest, as an icon of western philosophy, and a hindu priestess, as an icon for eastern consciousness. When Owenson places the missionary in a setting that is an unusual culture for a Catholic priest, India, she enlightens her audience with the issues of religious dogma. Not only this, she actually uses these two characters to illustrate the issues of English imperialism of the late 18th/early 19th centuries. Thus, she uses iconic characters with realistic features in a realistic setting to point out the need for cultural reform.

    I hope I have answered your question. If you're still unclear, please let me know.