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Unit information: Writing for Art in 2020/21

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Unit name Writing for Art
Unit code ENGLM3018
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Cheeke
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will explore the relationship between writing (especially poetry) and visual art, from 1800-the present. Aspects of ekphrasis will be examined both in relation to a wide range of authors in different periods, and in relation to the body of theory that has responded to this kind of writing. Topics will include the relation between text and image, the notion of reading a painting, the rivalry, violence and appropriation that exists between the $?sister arts&?, notions of time and stasis, narrative and frozen moment, isomorphism and $?painterly&? poems, questions of aesthetics, writing that has inspired paintings, writing that has explored the figure of the artist, ekphrasis and history, notions of $?realism&? and representation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will have become familiar with a wide-range of examples of the relations between literature and the plastic arts, and with the body of theory written in response to such work. They will be able to offer critical analysis of such work within an interdisciplinary framework of literature and art.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Assessment Information

  • 1 x 5000 word essay (100%)

Reading and References

James Heffernan, Museum of Words: The Poetry of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1993).

John Hollander, The Gazer’s Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art (Chicago: Chicago University press, 1995);

Murray Krieger, Ekphrasis: The Illusion of the Natural Sign (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univeristy Press, 1992);

W.J.T. Mitchell, Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986);

Stephen Cheeke, Writing for Art: The Aesthetics of Ekphrasis (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008).

Fuller reading lists will be provided week by week