Spring 2013 Undergraduate English Courses
350:442 Literature and Visual Culture
01 TF2 CAC 50836 GASKILL SC-116
01-Literature and Visual Culture
This course will examine how literary writers responded to major developments in nineteenth-century visual culture. We will look at rather direct engagements with the arts (Hamlin Garland and Impressionism), print technology (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and children’s books illustrations), and photography (Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives), but we will also attune ourselves to the more subtle ways by which the energies or structures of the visual world are translated into literature (e.g., in works by Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, and Henry James). Along the way, we will attend to the theoretical questions that accompany our literary and historical inquiries: What is the relation between language and perception, text and image? What does it mean to say that a work of literature is “like” a painting or a poster? How can we make interpretive connections among different media?
In addition to the works and authors listed above, we will read texts by Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, W. E. B. Du Bois, Gertrude Stein, and others. Students will be expected to analyze literary texts, visual works, and their interrelation, and they should also be prepared to read a selection of theoretical essays (by Walter Benjamin, Jonathan Crary, and others). Assignments will include short reading responses and a final research paper.