Department of English, Jadavpur University

Home » Courses » Courses: Jan-May 2014 » Literature and the Visual Arts

Literature and the Visual Arts

This course will look at the various ways in which narratives intersect with the visual arts.

It will begin by looking at manuscripts.

Reading:          My Name is Red                                 Orhan Pamuk


Visual arts sometimes seem magical and inspire various myths.

Reading:          “The Unknown Masterpiece”            Honore de Balzac

“The Picture of Dorian Gray”              Oscar Wilde

Paintings have inspired narratives which surround them.  There is a huge body of literature based on historical speculations about the subjects of paintings.  ‘Who was the original of the Mona Lisa’ is a favourite topic. 

Reading:          The Girl with the Pearl Earring           Tracy Chevalier

The visual arts have many different functions in our lives besides producing objects to hang on our walls.  Art in a time of conflict.

Reading:          Toby’s Room                                       Pat Barker

Many novels get transformed into films.  How does the metamorphosis work when the print is transformed to the visual?

Reading:          The French Lieutenant’s Woman        John Fowles

How does the classical become the popular? The case of Dan Brown.

Reading:          The Da Vinci Code                               Dan Brown

In today’s world of digital production, the visual and the written word come together in new, sometimes radical forms, such as the visual novel. 

Reading:          Digital: A Love Story/The Elevator


Requirements: Texts must be read before class.  Secondary reading lists will be given. One class test and one term paper.


Course Coordinator: Nilanjana Gupta

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