English 430: Literature & the Visual Arts

430 Calendar

ENGL 430: Literature and the Visual Arts

Fall 2009,Thursdays 4:00-6:40pm @ JR 348

This calendar is tentative and subject to revision [as you’ve probably noticed by now!]. Please bring it with you to class every time, and keep on the alert for schedule updates and changes, both in class and here on our blog.


Course Intro: syllabus; goals of 430; Turnitin; blog.


Your online reading journal should begin with this week’s readings.

  • Read: Examples of ekphrasis: Homer, Keats, Auden (handout)
  • Read: definition of ekphrasis from the U of Chicago: Theories of Media: Keywords Glossary

Ekphrasis (verbal representation of the visual): Are a thousand words really worth a picture? Do words sometimes fail us?


  • Read: Auster, City of Glass (from The New York Trilogy)
  • Read: Karasik & Mazzucchelli, City of Glass: The Graphic Novel
  • Recommended: articles in Indy Magazine (Spring 2004) by Kuhlman and Kartalopoulos re: City of Glass

City of Glass as novel, as comic, as a meditation on language; how storytelling in comics differs from storytelling in words alone; how visuals can represent the non-visual.


Ut pictura poesis: Horace, Plutarch, et al., and the classical “Sister Arts” tradition; Lessing versus ut pictura poesis.


  • Read: ER: Mitchell, “Space and Time: Lessing’s Laocoon and the Politics of Genre”
  • Read: Excerpts from emblem books, TBD

Lessing, cont.; time vs. space as a figure for the difference between text and image.


  • Read: Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  • Read: ER: Erdman: “Introducti0n” to The Illuminated Blake
  • By now you should know The William Blake Archive.

Blake as poet, book artist, and radical; the aesthetics of Blake’s illuminated poems.


  • Read: ER: Gombrich, excerpt from Art and Illusion
  • Read: ER: Gombrich, “Image and Code”
  • Read: ER: Mitchell, “Nature and Convention: Gombrich’s Illusions”

Convention vs. nature: another figure for the difference between text and image; just how “real” or “natural” are realistic images, anyway?


NO CLASS (Prof. Hatfield will be away)


  • Read: Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
  • Read: ER: Nodelman, excerpts from Words about Pictures

Word/image relationships in picture books: harmony, tension, irony.


Online reports are going up starting today (be sure to read your classmates’ reports)!

  • Read: Ward, Vertigo: A Novel in Woodcuts
  • Read: ER: Beronä, “Pictures Speak in Comics without Words”
  • Read: ER: Sontag, “In Plato’s Cave”
  • Recommended: Abstract Comics: The Blog.

Visual sequence sans words (how well can images communicate?); visual sequence without narrative.


Your abstract should be handed in by now.

SPECIAL CLASS SESSION @ Oviatt Library, RM. 251 (2nd floor, East Wing, in Music & Media), with guest speaker Tony Gardner, Curator, CSUN Special Collections & Archives.

  • Read: ER: Smith, “The Book as Physical Object”
  • By now you should know the Book Arts Web.

The Book as object and as technology; the history of books.


  • Read online: Christian Bök, excerpts from Eunoia.
  • By now you should know the visual poetry resources at UbuWeb.
Paper presentations (x2 or more):


SPECIAL CLASS SESSION @ the Getty Research Institute,
with Marcia Reed, Chief Curator and Head of Collection Development & Exhibitions, GRI.

  • Read: ER: Drucker, excerpts from The Century of Artists’ Books [cancelled – no new readings will be required from this point forward]

The Book as art form in itself; the artist’s book as a genre; format and design as sources of meaning.


NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Holiday)


Your critical essay is due no later than today.

  • Read: Barry, What It Is [cancelled]
Paper presentations (x4 or 5):

12/10, 5:15 to 7:15pm (Finals Week):

Though we have no final exam, we will meet on this day. Your handmade book is due today; we’ll discuss them in class.

Paper presentations (x3 or 4 – the fewer we have on this day, the longer we can discuss the handmade books):

Last updated 30 October 2009.

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