Kristina Astrom

Research title: Liminal Play: Inter-art relations between Stéphane Mallarmé and James McNeill Whistler

Research Summary

My research revolves around the different representations of liminal space in the works of Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) and his friend, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). As well as taking an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to liminality, I focus in particular on Gilles Deleuze's figure of the fold and the virtual to understand new modes of representation across different art forms in nineteenth-century Paris and beyond. In this time of radical social and cultural change, the idea of ‘art for art’s sake’ opened up new modes of representation in Parisian literary as well as artistic circles, which resonates with the Symbolist belief in the exchange and synthesis of different art forms as the highest point of poetic significance. An integral part of my reserach is thus the tracing of any potential exchanges between literature and art which gave rise to a new inter-art aesthetic.


College of Arts Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Glasgow (2019-2022)


Conference Organisation

Encounters, Central Saint Martins Degree Show Anti-Symposium, University of the Arts London, 27 May 2016

Conference Papers

'"[P]li selon pli": The Folding of Urban Contexts in Whistler’s Old Battersea Bridge works and Mallarmé’s Les Loisirs de la poste’, Whistler, Nature and Industry, The Hunterian / University of Glasgow, 5 November 2021

‘James McNeill Whistler and Stéphane Mallarmé in Scotland: Bridging the “archival gap” in the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery and Special Collections’, Working with Archives: A Postgraduate Study Day, SDN / ASMCF, 21 June 2021

‘”[P]li sur pli, pli selon pli”: The folding of epistolary and pictorial space in Stéphane Mallarmé’s Les Loisirs de la poste and James McNeill Whistler’s Thames Set’, Oxford French Graduate Seminar, University of Oxford, 8 June 2021

‘Towards a Poetics of Suggestion: The interplay of poetic form and thematic motif in Mallarmé’s “Éventail de Méry Laurent”’, Fluidity, University of Glasgow, 13 May 2020

‘The Retracing of Waste in Paul Auster’s City of Glass’, TRASH Postgraduate Symposium, University of Vienna, 28-29 January 2017

'The Boundaries of the Body as Signifier in Bruce Nauman's Art Make Up', Encounters, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 27 May 2016


French Culture 1

French Culture 2

Comparative Literature 2A - Frontiers (Crossing Borders)

Comparative Literature 2B - Frontiers (Exploring Identity)

Additional Information

Editor, The Kelvingrove Review, 2020-2021

PGR Social Media/Twitter Representative for the SMLC (@UofGSMLC), Autumn/Winter 2021