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The paper focuses on the provocative character of ekphrasis in the prose by John Banville, one of the most experimental postmodern Irish writers. Two of his novels - Book of Evidence (1989) and Ghosts (1993) - are of special interest for this purpose. These novels are concentrated on a mysterious and irresistible power of painting, provoking Banville's characters to commit disgustful crimes. Thus ekphrasis becomes the source of novels' plot structure with its elements of thriller and detective story.

Summing up the main approaches to ekphrasis in Banville's novels it is necessary to note that firstly Banville's ekphrasis is not only mere verbal representation of the work of visual art, but it forms the pattern of its perception. Secondly, Banville's ekphraris becomes the main principle of the generation of the text itself: the way from the object to ekphrasis is connected with multiple crossings of semantic field borders. And thirdly, Banville reveals the paradoxical nature of ekphrasis. On the one hand, creating illusion of visual art by means of words ekphrasis reminds of the supreme power of logos. And on the other, ekphrasis outlines the boundary which word can never cross and behind which there is a great ocean of creative silence.

Key words

Ekphrasis, perception, terror, attraction, visual, verbal, intertextual, image, imagination, semantic field