Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Phototextuality: The Art of Photographs in Literary Texts

ENGL 016.402

Expanding the definition of phototext to encompass literary texts employing photographic techniques as well as photographs, this seminar will explore the interactions between the visual and the verbal, the uses of photography in textual representation, and the intersection of photography and narrative. Texts will include Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes and On Photography by Susan Sontag, and texts selected from Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, Michael Ondaatje’s Coming through Slaughter, Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo,   Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Dorothy Allison’s Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard, Walter Mosley’s Black Betty, James Agee and Walker Evans’s Now Let Us Praise Famous Men, Richard Wright’s Twelve Million Black Voices, and Langston Hughes’s Sweet Flypaper of Life.  Several films, such as Daughters of the Dust and The Bridges of Madison County, will be screened.

fulfills requirements
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major