Mieke has published 46 books on various subjects in several languages. These include theoretical studies and analyses of art and literature. Click on a title below to find out more.
Semiotics of Narrative
"When we do give meaning to what we see, we are aware that we do so or (mostly) not, but we do it, constantly, so that these things enable us to communicate, reflect, fantasize; in short, live socially and individually, without separation between these two domains. But how, exactly, does this work? "
A Mieke Bal Reader
Mieke Bal has had a significant impact on every field she has touched, from narratology and critical methods to Hebrew Bible scholarship and visual culture. A Mieke Bal Reader brings together for the first time a representative collection of her work that distills her broad interests and areas of expertise.
'Travelling Concepts in the Humanities’ is intended as a guidebook for interdisciplinary cultural analysis in the humanities. In this challenging work, Mieke Bal analyses a variety of concepts - such as meaning, metaphor, narrative, and myth - that ‘travel’ from one discipline to another.'
Using the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, in which Joseph spurns the advances of his master’s wife, who then falsely accuses him of attempted rape, Mieke Bal juxtaposes retellings of the text — in addition to the Bible, the Qur’an, the visual art of Rembrandt and the prose of Thomas Mann
Emma & Edvard Looking Sideways
This book accompanies an exhibition Bal curated for the Munch Museum, Oslo, in Spring 2017. But it is not a catalogue. The exhibition, and the book, integrate Munch’s brilliant modernist paintings with a reflection on modern sensibilities as it also appears in the writings of Gustave Flaubert, especially his groundbreaking modernist, perhaps even postmodernist novel Madame Bovary, from 1856
‘On Meaning-Making’ addresses basic questions in semiotics, the theory of signs. What is semiotics? How is it used? How is it taught? To these questions Mieke Bal brings the perspective of a pioneer - a scholar and teacher who has grown from a formalist specializing in narrative theory into an interdisciplinary semiotician.
Murder and Difference
Woman’s song or man’s epic? This is the question Mieke Bal raises concerning the ancient Song of Deborah in Judges 5 and the later narrative in Judges 4. In her trenchantly argued work, Bal focuses on the two tales of the enemy general Sisera’s murder by the Israelite heroine Jael.
This book, written in French, was my first foray into thinking about the connection between narrative structure and reader manipulation. Close readings of two novels by Marguerite Duras, one by Flaubert, and one by Colette constitute the arena where I attempted to generalise about structure.