Reading Between -- Finding Form in the Interstices of French and Anglophone Literature and Visual Media
Jealousy (Alain Robbe-Grillet), Remainder (Tom McCarthy); films & visual works will be viewed in class; poetry selections will be prepared in a course reader.
In this course, we will undertake a sustained practice of reading between: between lines, between chapters, between film frames and between artworks arranged in an exhibit. In doing so, we will attend to the ways blank space—be it typographic, photographic, aural, physical, or indeed psychic—functions technically to produce relations between form and content, to distinguish one medium from another (e.g. celluloid film vs. digital), and to define genres within a given medium (e.g. poetry vs. prose). Throughout the semester, we will interrogate preconceived ideas of negative and positive space in works of literature and visual media, and develop analytical tools for confronting works that challenge that distinction in various ways.
We will begin the semester with Chris Marker’s short film La jetée, considering this film’s use of still images as a way of orienting ourselves within a technical understanding of form and its effect on narrative continuity. Moving through works by novelists (Alain Robbe-Grillet, Tom McCarthy), poets (Guillaume Apollinaire, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Pierre Alferi), photographers (Eadweard Muybridge, Steven Pippin, Alix Cléo Roubaud), and filmmakers (Marker, Agnès Varda, Hollis Frampton), students will hone their analytical skills as they consider how the interstices within an artwork can be understood as the weight-bearing elements of their form, as potentially invested with significance, and therefore as essential to the observation and evaluation of cultural works.
French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH