The Poet Always Envies the Painter: Power and Meaning of Ekphrasis.
In Greek, the term "Ekphrasis" means "to describe, to point out, to explain" and is associated with the desire to turn that which is visual into words. How do text and image reflect and depend on each other? For centuries, these two modes of representation have enjoyed fruitful yet difficult paths of communication and mutual questioning/ interrogation. This course will touch on various issues that emerge from the rhetorical collaboration between text and image. Beginning with G.E. Lessing's 18th century discussion of the ancient sculpture of the Laocoon and ending with contemporary texts and imagery, we will examine the mutual "collaborations" between artist and writer, and writer and artist as romantic, modernist, and post-modernist activities. Writers and artists may include but are not limited to: Auden, Baudelaire, Beuys, Bruegel, Cezanne, Duchamp, Elmer, Ginsburg, van Gogh,, Hawthorne, Keats, Kennedy, Khnopff, Lessing, Moreau, Redon, Rich, Rossetti, Ruskin, Sexton, Shelley, Tennyson, Waterhouse, Wilde, and Williams. Prerequisite: This course is designed primarily for division II students with at least one course in literature and/or art history.

Required books to buy. Available at Amherst Books: A. Heffernan, The Museum of Words, Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Dana Prescott, Feathers From the Angel’s Wings: Poems Inspired by the Paintings of Piero della Francesca.

PDFs of poems, secondary literature, and other relevant material will be on the class Moodle page.

Expectations and Requirements for Evaluation in/grades for this class: We expect you to attend each session. More than two unexcused absences will result in a no evaluation/ withdrawal from class. We also expect people to engage actively with the materials in this class and to search out other examples that we might not be able to cover in the semester. This is a seminar class so we expect you will come prepared to discuss the readings and the images. In addition, you will turn in all required assignments on time.