Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Myth and the Everyday in Antiquity and the Renaissance
Monday | Wednesday: 12:30 - 2:00pm
The magic and fantasy of myth might seem to be a world away from the mundane and
routine details of everyday life. But in both works of art and literary texts, we often discover the two in surprising proximity: monstrous demi-gods who try a hand at shepherding or everyday folk who find themselves transformed into beasts. In this course, we will explore works of art and literature from the ancient and renaissance worlds that juxtapose myth and everyday life in thought-provoking and unusual ways. We’ll ask why mythological subjects are so often used by authors and artists when they experiment with realism, and what visual and textual clues differentiate the two modes. Since we’ll be focusing on myths and stories from classical antiquity that directly influenced ancient and Renaissance artists, we’ll also examine how the same myths and legends are retold and visually reimagined over and over again. We’ll finally consider the ways in which visual representation draws on literary antecedents, while in turn exploring how visual description and ekphrasis infuse literary representation.
Since this is the second course in the reading and composition series, we will use our analysis of different registers of representation to hone our own critical writing and research skills. At the end of the course, students will be asked to write a 10-12 pg. undergraduate research paper.