György Endre Szőnyi

György Endre SzőnyiE-mail address:
Home institution: University of Szeged,
Central European University, Budapest 
Academic position:
Areas of research:
mediality of culture, image-word relations,
early modern cultural history
Title of the presentation: Seeing: Natural or Conventional?

Most important Publications


    • Gli Angeli di John Dee (Rome: Tre Editori, 2004)
    • Pictura & Scriptura. 20th-Century Theories of Cultural Representations (in Hungarian, Szeged, 2004)
    • John Dee’s Occultism. Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs (Albany: SUNY Press, 2004, pb. 2010)
    • The Enoch Readers. A Cultural History of Angels, Magic, and Ascension on High (in the making).

Chapters, articles:

    • Essay Review: Perception, Vision, Phantasmagoria: Ways of Seeing in the Early Modern Period and Since. Aries [Brill] 11.1 (2011): 57-75
    • Pictura & Scriptura: New and Old Approaches to Image?Word Relations. Symbolism, an International Annual of Critical Aesthetics, Vol 8: Special Focus: “Ut pictura poesis: Literature and Painting.” Ed. Rüdiger Ahrens, Klaus Stierstorfer. New York: AMS Press, 2008, 141-61.
    • The Emblematic Way of Seeing and Its Post-Modern Reception. In Beket Bukovinská, Lubomir Slaviček ed., Pictura Verba Cupit. Essays for Lubomir Konečny.” Praha: Artefactum, 2006, 15-22
    • The Powerful Image. Towards a Typology of Occult Symbolism, in Gy.E. Szőnyi ed., Iconography East & West. Leiden: J. Brill, 1996 (Symbola & Emblemata 7), 250-63.

Title of the presentation

Seeing: Natural or Conventional?
After the Iconicity Debates 


The starting point of the paper is the “iconicity debate” which triggered occasionally violent opinions from the 1970s, and included some of the works of Ernst Gombrich, Umberto Eco, WJ Thomas Mitchell and others. In Kant and the Platypus (1997) Eco tried to bring the debate to a closure, also by pointing out the growing importance of cognitive studies in order to decide about the still open questions. My paper will incorporate a historiographical survey and a report on the state of the art of this still expanding field of research.

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