W. J. T. Mitchell is the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago and editor of Critical Inquiry.
This is a book about the things people say about images. It is not primarily concerned with specific pictures and the things people say about them, but rather with the way we talk about the idea of imagery, and all its related notions of picturing, imagining, perceiving, likening, and imitating. It is a book about images, therefore, that has no illustrations except for a few schematic diagrams, a book about vision written as if by a blind author for a blind reader. If it contains any insight into real, material pictures, it is the sort that might come to a blind listener, overhearing the conversation the sighted speakers talking about images. My hypothesis is that such a listener might see patterns in these conversations that would be invisible to the sighted participant.