Topics


  • The ut pictura poesis tradition: paragone, ekphrasis, and literary pictorialism.
  • The history of the book and of reading.
  • Introduction to the technologies of writing and printing.
  • Techniques and technologies of illustration; the functions of illustration; issues around illustration and narrative.
  • Introductory semiotics
  • Selected artists and writers: Homer, William Shakespeare, John Donne, George Herbert, William Cowper, William Hogarth, Horace Walpole, William Blake, John Keats, Willkie Collins, Lewis Carroll, Sheridan Le Fanu, M.R. James, H.D.  

 

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Objectives


This course will introduce students to some of the ways in which authors have deployed descriptions of artworks in order to articulate ideas about representation, mastery, and art itself. It will also help students to understand the text as an embodied form created and circulated within a world of objects. Students will engage with theoretical debates raised by these issues and use them to analyze both familiar and less familiar literary works.

 

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Organisation


The course will comprise two hours of lectures/seminars per week (Thursdays, 10:30-12:20). These will include lectures, discussions and group work; Depending on class numbers, students will make one to two individual in-class presentations during the course of the semester. There will also be on-line exercises throughout the semester.

 

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Assessment


Assessment will be continuous and based 100% on coursework. The assessment breakdown will tentatively be as follows:

Short Essays

30%

Exercises (online and in class)

30%

Presentations

20%

Attendance and participation (online and in class)

20%

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Texts


Introductory readings and reading lists will be provided via Moodle.

Some further general reading:

Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny” in The Uncanny (Penguin, 2003).
Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1968)
W.J.T. Mitchell, Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Susan Stewart, On longing: narratives of the miniature, the gigantic, the souvenir, the collection (Durham, 1993).
Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen, eds, The Book: A Global History (OUP, 2014)

 

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Last updated: 19 July 2017