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Spring 2013 Course Descriptions

English 5004 - Literature and Visual Culture in the Long Eighteenth Century

Section 001   CRN 37326
Jad Smith
Literature and Visual Culture in the Long Eighteenth Century    
1530-1800 T

Encompassing a wide range of cultural forms from illustrated street ballads to stage spectacle, Restoration and eighteenth-century visual culture is a rich counterpart to the literature of the period. Approaches to the long eighteenth century emphasizing visual culture largely grew out of cultural studies, a field of study that according to Paul Gilroy, “directed scholarly attention toward areas hardly taken seriously elsewhere as objects of sustained academic interest.” Practitioners of cultural studies tend to break down the high and low art distinction, and to demonstrate how individual texts emerge and circulate within larger historical networks of production and consumption. Our work in the course will follow this pattern, for instance, approaching Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko; or, The Royal Slave alongside illustrated travel literature, John Gay’s The Beggar’s Operaalongside William Hogarth’s paintings and engravings, and William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experiencealongside illustrated broadside hymns, manuals, and subscription tickets related to the charity school movement.