This seminar considers stories about looking and looks at still images (principally paintings and photographs) of stories. You will develop the skills and discover the pleasures of looking closely at works of art, both visual and verbal. Working back and forth between words and images, the classroom and the gallery, the practical work of the course makes explicit some of our assumptions about seeing and our frameworks of viewing. Discussions will focus on important theoretical texts (like Benjamin on the work of art, Alberti on painting, and Barthes on photography), along with significant short narratives and novels (including Woolf’s To the Lighthouse). About a third of the class sessions will take place outside the classroom, in different London art galleries, and consist of discussions of particular works, complemented by individual seeing, thinking, and writing exercises.
Students from all disciplines are welcome; those from Architecture and Studio Arts are especially encouraged to join.
Department: English and Textual Studies
Semesters: Fall, Spring