English 430: Literature & the Visual Arts

December 2, 2009

Office hours to the end of the semester

Filed under: About the course,Scheduling — charleshatfield @ 8:28 am

Following are days and times when you can be sure to find me in my CSUN office, Sierra Tower 735:

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Thursday, Dec. 3, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 8, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Thursday, Dec. 10, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Monday, Dec. 14, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm; 1:30 to 7:30 pm

Please make note of these days and times. I may be available alternate times as well, by appointment, but these would have be worked out with me in advance via phone or email.

Graduate students may schedule their final consultations with me on any of the above days, or on Wednesday, Dec. 16, or Thursday, Dec. 17.

As a reminder, your handmade books will be due in class on the day of our last meeting, Thursday the 10th from 5:15 to 7:15 pm. Don’t forget to visit me next semester so that you can retrieve them! Also, no new readings or blog postings are required from this point forward.

November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Week

Filed under: About the course,Scheduling — charleshatfield @ 11:59 am

Prof. Hatfield here, wishing you all a lovely Thanksgiving week. Of course we’re accelerating toward the end of the semester, with lots of work yet to do, so the break will be good for us all.

As a reminder, I’m taking a furlough day on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and therefore will not be holding my usual office hours on that day. I had hoped to hold office hours today, Monday, Nov. 23, but I’ve come down with what I hope is only a cold, so I’ve decided that I had better stay home. This means, unfortunately, that I will hold no office hours this week.

Do enjoy your break!

November 17, 2009

Getty Research Institute field trip

Filed under: About the course,Events of Interest,Scheduling — charleshatfield @ 8:46 pm

REMINDER: This Thursday, Nov. 19, we will be holding class at the Getty Research Institute (GRI). Our host for the day, Getty curator Marcia Reed, will be showing us artists’ books from the GRI’s collection. We’ll also be able to look at a very interesting manuscript illustration exhibit within the GRI titled Migrations of the Mind.

Getting there:

The GRI is part of the larger Getty Center, which, as you may know, is at the top of the Sepulveda pass (driving directions to the Getty can be found here, but it’s pretty straightforward: just take the 405 South from CSUN and get off at Getty Center Drive). Here’s what the Getty’s website says about the GRI:

A circular building to the west of the Central Garden houses the Getty Research Institute (GRI), used primarily by Getty scholars, staff, and visiting researchers. The circular library evokes the introspective nature of scholarly research, with book stacks and reading areas wrapping around a central courtyard. A ramp creates concentric paths, promoting interaction among the scholars and staff. A skylight pulls light through to the subterranean reading room. At the plaza level, a small exhibition gallery displays objects in the GRI’s collection for visitors.

Remember to get there around 3:30 so that you can take the tram up the hill in time to reach the GRI by 4:00. We’ll assemble in the GRI lobby just before 4:00. I suggest you take as few things with you as possible, so as to avoid possibly having to check large bags in the GRI lobby, etc. Don’t forget that the GRI prefers note-takers to use pencil, not pens, and to avoid spiral-bound notebooks.

When driving into the Getty, tell the parking attendants that you are from CSUN and give them the reservation number I sent to our class listserv. If you have not yet received that number, contact me right away at charles dot hatfield at csun dot edu.

PS. The first chapter of Johanna Drucker’s The Century of Artists’ Books can be found online here. I recommend checking it out before Thursday! (I hope to place two other chapters online via Electronic Reserve by week’s end.)

October 30, 2009

Scheduling update

Filed under: About the course,Assignments,Scheduling — charleshatfield @ 10:23 am

Thanks, everyone in class on October 29, for your patience as we worked to resolve technical and scheduling issues. Pursuant to our discussion that night, here are some important announcements regarding our schedule:

1. Reminder: On Nov. 5 we will meet at the Oviatt Library, Room 251 (2nd floor, east wing, in the Music & Media area). Please go straight there. Abstracts should be handed in to me by no later than that day.

2. Reminder: On Nov. 19, we are scheduled to hold class at the Getty Research Institute. I’ll be saying more about that in class on Nov. 5, and passing around a sign-up sheet so that we can confirm the number of people and cars going to GRI.

3. The first of our paper presentations will take place on Nov. 12. Two presenters are signed up for that day, and we can fit in more if you are interested and able. (Bear in mind that the requirement to present a paper in class is for our MA students only.)

4. The final due date for the critical papers remains Dec. 3, with the exception of those MA students slated to present on Dec. 10.

5. The due date for the handmade books will be Dec. 10 (the date of our final meeting).

6. Because our last few weeks are going to be crammed, I have decided, with regret, I not to require reading and discussion of Lynda Barry’s frankly wonderful book What It Is, which was originally scheduled to be our last book of the term. I believe we need more time to host paper presentations and finish the last remaining assignments. Of course I encourage you to read What It Is, and in fact I will be willing to extend extra credit to those who read it and post a thoughtful blog post in response.

These things have been duly noted in our online calendar.


Another sticky post that will stay here, up top, for a while.

October 28, 2009

Another update from Prof. CH

Filed under: About the course,Assignments — charleshatfield @ 4:18 pm

Prof. Hatfield here, with an apology and a slight change in plans. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find my copy of the book containing the David Beronä article intended for Electronic Reserve reading this week, and therefore must change our activity plan a bit.

In preparation for class on Thursday, Oct. 29 (tomorrow!), all I am asking is that you complete your reading of and your blog response to Lynd Ward’s Vertigo (this in addition to finishing your online reports, of course).

Vertigo: A Novel in Woodcuts

PS. You may find David Beronä’s website informative, or the publisher’s (Abrams) page devoted to Beronä’s excellent anthology Wordless Books.

Beronä is one of the world’s experts on wordless comics narratives, in particular that genre known as the woodcut novel (of which Vertigo, of course, is an example).

Another sticky post that’ll stay right here on top until I tell it to go away!

October 19, 2009

Another update, with more changes

Filed under: About the course,Assignments — charleshatfield @ 5:03 pm

Prof. CH here, fresh from Chicago, with some important things to announce:

1. I’ve decided to extend the deadline for online reports to Oct. 29 at the latest (i.e., next Thursday, not this Thursday). I’ve updated our online Calendar to show this. Some reports have already been drafted and may appear online this week. I am doing this partly because I will be away this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Oct. 22-25) and thus won’t be able to read the reports for several days, and partly because I think the further extension might help us all.

2. I’m happy to report that this week’s readings are now up and available online via our Electronic Reserve reader.

The readings are two chapters from Perry Nodelman’s seminal 1988 study of picture books Words about Pictures. You will find them at the end of our course reader; that is, they are the last two bookmarks in the PDF file. Here are the proper MLA bibliographic citations for these texts:

Nodelman, Perry. “The Relationships of Pictures and Words.” Words about Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books. Athens, GA; London: U of Georgia Press, 1988. 192-221.

Nodelman, Perry. “Irony in Picture Books: Subjectivity and Objectivity, Time and Space.” Words about Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books. Athens, GA; London: U of Georgia Press, 1988. 222-41.

These are Chapters 7 and 8 of Nodelman’s book. If you have a copy of the book itself, I encourage you to read more of it in the weeks ahead, because it is really quite provocative and useful. For this week, though, I’m asking everyone to read Chs. 7 & 8 in particular.

Also, please bring a copy of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (1963) to class and be prepared to talk about it in depth. And remember that a book is not a movie. 🙂

3. Since this week’s ER readings have been made available late, I will extend the deadline for posting blog responses to Friday at 4:00pm. However, I urge you to post sooner if possible, both to prepare yourself for class discussion on Thursday and also to clear your plate right away so that you can embark on next week’s readings ASAP. I’ll be looking out for posts from Wednesday afternoon onward, in my usual way.


This note is sticky so that it will remain at the top of our blog until I move it.

October 2, 2009

Update: your online reports

Filed under: About the course,Assignments,Blog tech — charleshatfield @ 11:49 am

Re: the revised due date for your online reports (Oct. 22), I’ve made the necessary correction to our online Calendar.

Re: doing your online reports, there are two ways to go about it:

1. Use WordPress: Draft your report as if it were a regular blog post, then save it as a draft without publishing it. When it’s ready to go, email me and tell me. I’ll copy and paste what you have in your draft and convert it into a new page included in our blog.

2. Use some other provider and software of your choosing to write a webpage . Send me an email and I’ll set up a link to it from our blog.

Either way, I’ll place a link to your page in our sidebar, so that it will be easy to find.

I’m working on a sample online report of my own. I’ll show you the page in its rough version on 10/08. it’s about Scots cartoonist Eddie Campbell. Though it’s unfinished as of this writing, I have to admit that there’s plenty of text (I’ve got just under 1000 words at the moment, the equivalent of about 3 and 1/2 double-spaced typed pages in 12-point font). You certainly don’t need to exceed that, and don’t worry if you don’t write quite that much. Remember that the ratio of text to image is likely to vary among your reports.


Note: I’ve made this update “sticky” so that it will continue to appear here on the front page, at the top.

March 20, 2009

What is English 430?

Filed under: About the course — charleshatfield @ 10:26 pm
Noriko Ambe, "Artists Who Make Pieces, Artists Who Do Books" (detail), 2008, from a book by Ed Ruscha

Noriko Ambe, "Artists Who Make Pieces, Artists Who Do Books" (detail), 2008, from a book by Ed Ruscha

In today’s culture, words talk back to pictures and pictures talk back to words. You can see this everywhere, from billboards to newspapers to the Net. You can see it in popular and high art, in advertising and literature – everywhere, pictures and words colliding, collaborating, arguing, mixing.

And you can study this mixing in ENGL 430: Literature and the Visual Arts, an upper-division elective covering:

  • the persuasive power of images;
  • the dance between text and illustration;
  • the challenges of writing about visual art;
  • the poetics of visual poetry;
  • and the possibilities of hybrid forms such as picture books, comic strips, and artists’ books.

Readings for this course will include comics, picture books, artists’ books, visual poetry, and theory.

Requirements will include weekly contributions to the class’s online reading journal (right here on this blog); a field trip to the Getty Research Institute; a handmade book project; an online artist or book report (again, here on this blog); and a final 5 to 6-page critical essay. Graduate students should expect to write a slightly longer essay (think 8 pages) and to present it in class in its entirety, conference-style.

Steinberg, Untitled (1971)

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