Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue
Books That Must Be Read
This module is available as an elective
The aim of this module is to facilitate an in-depth study of texts or books that have become or are being acknowledged as important resources of and for aesthetics and art history. On completion of this module and by way of engaging with these assigned texts, the students will have been introduced to the skills of close reading and to concepts and research procedures used by art historians in analysing the history of visual culture. They will have been provided with a forum in which to present and test their readings, trained in techniques of independent research and equipped with a conceptual framework which can be used in the further study of art history.
Selected texts by Paul de Man: 'Form and Intent in the American New Criticism' and 'The Rhetoric of Temporality' in 'Blindness and Insight'; 'Semiology and Rhetoric' and 'Self (Pygmalion)' in ' Allegories of Reading'; 'Aesthetic Formalisation: Kleist's 'Uber das Marionettentheater' ' in ' The Rhetoric of Romanticism'; 'The Resistance to Theory'. Is there anything in Paul de Man's work that strikes us as usable or necessary in a new approach to visual representation? De Man had a deep suspicion of the prestige of the visual in modern Western culture and returned several times to a dark meditation on what he called 'the fundamental epistemological metaphor of understanding as seeing'. What would it be like for art historians to follow his train of thought here?
Form of teaching
Seminars: 11 x 2 hours; Tutorials: 1 pre-essay and as needed; Weekly student presentations on the chosen books.
Form of assessment
1 x 4000-6000 word essay
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