This seminar considers narratives about looking and looks at still images (principally painting and photography) of narratives. Working back and forth between words and images, the classroom and the gallery, the practical work of the course will make explicit some of our collective assumptions about seeing and our frameworks of viewing. Discussions will focus on important theoretical texts (like Benjamin on the artwork, Alberti on painting, and Barthes on photography), along with significant short narratives (from Pliny, Ovid, Poe, and James) and novels (including The Picture of Dorian Gray and To the Lighthouse). A number of class sessions will take place outside the classroom, particularly in the National Gallery, and consist of small seminars about particular works, complemented by individual seeing, thinking and writing exercises (Topics in Theorizing Representation).
Department: English and Textual Studies
Semesters: Fall, Spring