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Tableaux Vivants: Photography and Literature

ENGL 410.900
crosslisted as: COML 401 900
instructor(s):
T 4:30-7:40

In this course we will examine how the medium of
photography has intersected the realm of literature.  Beginning in
1839 with the dual inventions of Daguerre in France and Talbot in
England, we will trace the metaphors and myths by which the field has
been defined for the past 150 years--from its promotion by Talbot as
the "pencil of nature" to its trashing by Baudelaire as Art's
anti-Christ through its embrace by postmodern artists as locus of
constructed identity and the fracture of space/time.  Readings will
encompass seminal essays on photography, including works by Charles
Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, and Roland Barthes; novels
that incorporate photography as subject or theme, including
Hawthorne's *House of Seven Gables*, Richard Powers' *Three Farmers on
Their Way To a Dance*, and Marguerite Duras's *The Lover*; memoirs
that invoke the "camera eye," including Christopher Isherwood's *I Am
a Camera* and Isak Dinesen's "Daguerreotypes"; and the hybrid work
that combines photography and narrative text, including James Agee and
Walker Evans' *Let Us Now Praise Famous Men* and Wright Morris'
*Home Place*.  Course requirements include participation in class
discussions, two papers of 4 to 5 pages, and a final paper of 15 to 18
pages.