386.001
Painting and Poetry in China
180 Tappan
TTh 4:00-5:30pm
3 Credit Lecture

Many Chinese paintings can be "read" as visual poetry. Every image resonates with centuries of poetic writing, where each poem addresses human issues of interest to most of us even today: poverty, childhood, the loss of loved ones, individual against the establishment, family fights, unrequited love, injustice... Each of these topics was addressed in both the painting and the poetry of China. Helping students to appreciate the human drama underlying such paintings and poems is one goal of this course. As a pedagogical aid, we will read a fair amount of modern American poetry, especially by authors who refer to or admire the Chinese tradition, including Wendell Berry, Hayden Carruth and Gary Snyder. At another level, the relationship of pictures to texts is a more general art historical problem that has occupied some of the finest minds in both Europe and China. The problem continues to generate new and insightful writings by contemporary students of these cultural traditions, and so we will sample some Chinese critical literature on painting and poetry as well more contemporary approaches to word/image issues. By the end of the course students should have a store of analytical methods for relating pictures and texts generally, but will also understand a good deal about how to read a Chinese painting. There will be a midterm, a final, and a short paper (roughly 7 pages). There is no prerequisite. No cost for materials. C. 3