A new novel by the University of Notre Dames Steve Tomasula explores the ways art, desire and representation in the world shape us by shaping the way we portray others in paint, design, video, code and words.
Published by Fiction Collective Two,The Book of Portraiturewas designed by Robert Sedlack, assistant professor ofdesign at Notre Dame, and is an illustrated, postmodern epic in writing and images in which people seek to achieve what they long for by representing it – such as the Renaissance painter attempting to overcome his lowly origins by painting nobility, or the desert nomad struggling at the close of the ancient world to inscribe himself into life.
Spanning several centuries, the narrators of the novel – operating within the boundaries of their own time – portray objects of their desire in paint, dreams, photography, electronic data and genetic code.
Tomasula, anassociate professor of English, joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2002 and specializes in fiction writing, postmodern fiction and the literature of the small press. He also is the author ofVAS: An Opera in Flatland,published by the University of Chicago in 2003, andIn and Oz,published by Ministry of Whimsy Press in 2004.
His short fiction and essays have appeared in Fiction International, McSweeneys and The Iowa Review, which awarded him the Iowa Prize for the most distinguished work in any genre.
Tomasula earned his masters and doctoral degrees from theUniversityofIllinois,Chicago.
A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1998, Sedlack is an assistant professor of art, art history and design. He earned his bachelors degree from Notre Dame and his master of fine arts degree fromIndianaUniversity. His primary area of research interest is design for social betterment, and he has designed various print and multimedia projects, both locally and nationally.