The Sunlit Pool of the Finished Image

Advance copies available in August – Publication October 2024

This novel seeks to give Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde a voice from under the male gaze. This story, using the voices of women who were exploited as models, sheds a new light on how society, look at images which have been canonized as unimpeachable. Long listed for the Bridport Prize 2023.

Description

Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde depicts a realistic, close-up view of a woman’s genitalia: one of the most notorious paintings ever made. This novel seeks to give the painting a voice from under the male gaze, following the painting from her production in 1866 up to the present day. This is a journey from revolutionary Paris to Nazi-controlled Budapest, to the birth of French psychoanalysis in the 1960s. Throughout, the painting describes how it feels to be sexually objectified by her different owners. Using the voices of women who were exploited, as models and objects, sheds a new light on how we, as a society, look at images which have been canonized as unimpeachable.