Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Homemaking
What do we mean when we say a place “feels like home”? What kinds of stories do we tell ourselves to feel at home, and what kinds of images and objects can turn a sterile room into a domestic heaven? In this course, we will explore a wide variety of intimate interiors, paying attention to their contours, their effects, their physical limitations, and their imaginative possibilities. Alongside plays, films, novels, and poems set in castles, cabinets, gardens, and bedchambers, we’ll consider paintings, plans, lavishly illustrated recipe books, and the aesthetics of the “homemade.” As students gain a historical understanding of how domestic settings have been represented in visual art, literature, and material culture from the Renaissance to the present, they will improve their skills in reading and writing about spaces, working out connections between images, objects, and texts, and composing clear and compelling arguments.
Readings may include works by Shakespeare, Marvell, Molière, Pope, and Henry James; films by Chaplin, La Cava, Renoir, and Buñuel; paintings, prints, and drawings by Hooke, Velázquez, Vermeer, Tintoretto, and Dürer; critical texts by Heidegger, Arendt, Terry Eagleton, and Karsten Harries.