Literature and the Visual Arts

Is it possible to ‘read’ a painting? Can an artist interpret a poem in paint? This module addresses the complex relationship between literature and the visual arts, tracing key debates in aesthetic theory from Romanticism to the twenty-first century. Literature and the Visual Arts will begin with an introduction to key critical terms and an examination of the painting-inspired poetry of, for example, John Keats and W. H. Auden. Subsequent seminars will explore the work of figures such as William Blake, John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites who blur the distinction between literature and art; the revival of the Pop Art tradition and postmodern narrative practices; the advent of photography; and, finally, the fusion of word and image in graphic novels including texts such as Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. The module will draw on the unique resources of the University’s Ruskin Library and rare book archive.