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F15 Traisnel - ENGLISH 298 - Introduction to Literary Studies: Artificial Natures

“Nature is an imitation of Art,” Oscar Wilde famously declared. With his provocation to recognize that nature and artifice are (despite what we might think) hardly opposed, we will explore in this seminar how the study of literature addresses this seeming paradox. How, for instance, does fiction fashion worlds that appear natural? Or, conversely, how can the tools of literary criticism be used to reveal that what we call nature is in fact highly constructed, from the marginalization of certain populations to the emergence of scientific objectivity itself? This course will impart on students interpretive skills for engaging a variety of literary works from different periods and genres—poetic, fictional, cinematic, artistic, and philosophical—and will prepare them for upper-level English and other Humanities courses. Students will be exposed to a wide array of topics: postcolonial literature, psychoanalysis, feminist theory, critical race studies, ecocriticism. We’ll read works by writers and thinkers such as Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Friedrich Nietzsche, James Baldwin, Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Bishop, and J. M. Coetzee toward a new awareness of the English and Anglophone literary scene and an ability to read critically and write with clarity.

Ernst Kirchner
Bathing Girls
1912
graphite | paper
Gift of Herbert Barrows
2000/2.167
Train tracks curve from bottom center upward through center and off to the left; steaming locomotive pulling three freight cars past three storage sheds located in center of track loop. The background shows 3 mountain peaks, echoed in three clouds overhead. In the foreground, bottom corners are trees or other dense foliage. Artist's sketch from life; Kirchner developed a rapid, stroke-oriented (as opposed to detail-oriented) sketch style when out in the world.
Ernst Kirchner
Curved Railroad Tracks, Taunus (Bahnkurve Taunus), study for 1916 lithograph Landscape in Taunus (Landschaft im Taunus)
1915
ink | artist board
Gift of the Ernst Pulgram and Frances McSparran Collection
2007/2.103
Within a black background a white oval shape sits at center; within the oval are a series of abstracted forms and lines in primary colors all characteristic of Kandinsky's style.
Wassily Kandinsky
Small Worlds III
1922
lithograph | paper
Museum Purchase
1948/1.62
This photograph is divided in a grid of two rows, each made up of eleven vertical images. In each of these frames, a naked man is shown climbing the rungs of a ladder. Each frame depicts the movement of his body as he makes his ascent.
Eadweard Muybridge
Man Climbing Ladder, Plate III
1884 - 1887
collotype | paper
Gift of the Marvin Felheim Collection
1983/1.291
A portrait image in two tones of blue printed slightly off match, showing a man at the center dressed in a white shirt, tie and slacks, with dark-rimmed glasses. The man is leaning over a automoton/robot, which is seated to the left of him. On the right and to the back, are two more standing robots. Each robot has humanoid features like a face, torso, arms, hands, legs, and feet with boots on. Two of the robots, one seated and one to the back at the center, have their internal workings revealed with their central torso panel removed, showing wires and indeterminate parts. 
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
Watch out for miracles... new hope for better babies
1965 - 1970
screenprint | paper
Gift of Professor Diane M. Kirkpatrick
2000/2.14.50
A mixed media assemblage consisting of welding goggles, rusted metal, a padlock, and two rusted bells hanging from a chain mounted on a wooden board with screws. The position of the objects, with goggles at the top, makes the assemblage look vaguely face-like.
George Vargas
Michigan Worker
1985
welding goggles, metal, hanging bells, rusty bottle cap, pulleys, chains, padlock | plywood
Gift of the artist
2004/1.153
André Masson
The Industrial Beast (La Bête industrielle), Plate IX from "Bestiary (Bestiaire)"
1945
lithograph | paper
Museum Purchase
1956/1.43
This vertical print is bisected by four horizontal light blue squares approximately one third of the way up from the bottom. The second square from the left is joined by a square above and below so that all the liight blue squares create a horizontally oriented cross. Both inside and outside the cross-grid there are seven tan figures, who seem to be engaged in a variety of activities. There are a number of designs that move out from the cross, some related to what is pictured inside and some not. The print is signed and dated (l.l.) "Matta 47" and numbered (l.r.) "57/70" in pencil.
Roberto Matta
I Want To See It To Believe It
1947
color lithograph | paper
Museum Purchase
1947/2.13
An assemblage of found objects: a salvaged wood frame with wood inlay letters spelling "COLORED," four portrait photographs of African American females (two photogaphs on either side of a printed poem), nine thread samples under photographs, and one hand mirror hanging on a decorative brass hook to the viewer's right of the frame. The poem reads: <br />
"Light is Alright<br />
Yellow is Mellow<br />
Brown, Stick Around<br />
Black, Get Back<br />
(but black don't crack)"<br /><br />
The wood has a strong smell, may have been treated with molasses.<br /><br />
 
Betye Saar
Colored
2002
photographs, paper, thread, wood
Museum purchase made possible by Dr. James and Vivian Curtis and the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund
2003/1.406
This photograph is a studio portrait of a woman with styled hair, wearing a light-colored salon cape around her shoulders. 
Philippe Halsman
Color Rinse
1931 - 1940
gelatin silver print | paper
Gift of Gilbert M. Frimet
2004/1.142
This print has rows of stencilled black text in all capital letters on white background. In pencil, the print is signed and dated (l.r.) "Glenn Lignon '92" and numbered (l.l.) "27/45". 
Glenn Ligon
Untitled
1992
etching, aquatint, spitbite, sugarlift | Rives BFK paper
Museum Purchase
1993/2.13.1
This print has rows of stencilled black text in all capital letters on black background. In pencil, the print is signed and dated (l.r.) "Glenn Lignon '92" and numbered (l.l.) "27/45". 
Glenn Ligon
Untitled
1992
etching, aquatint, spitbite, sugarlift | Rives BFK paper
Museum Purchase
1993/2.13.3

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Artifice — by seth@whirl-i-gig.com (February 13 2017 @ 12:00 pm)
Comparative — by seth@whirl-i-gig.com (February 13 2017 @ 12:00 pm)
Ideology — by seth@whirl-i-gig.com (February 13 2017 @ 12:00 pm)
Nature — by seth@whirl-i-gig.com (February 13 2017 @ 12:00 pm)
University class selection — by seth@whirl-i-gig.com (February 13 2017 @ 12:00 pm)

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Last Updated

March 1, 2018 3:30 p.m.

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