Professor Landow (office: 338 Carr House; e-mail:; office hours: Tuesday 1.30-2:30. Class meets Thursday 1-3:20 PM (Multimedialab classroom).

Note: Check this on-line reading list at the beginning of each week since assignments may change or be reordered.


Week 1, 6 September. Introduction: The Problematics of Interarts Criticism.

Reading: "Ruskin and the tradition of ut pictura poesis." and "Imagery in Painting, Literature, and Interarts Criticism." Begin reading Barringer and Wood.

Week 2, 13 September. Case Study 1: Border Crossings: Literary Painting and Word-Painting. — (a) John Ruskin's Word-painting as art and social critique: Selections from Modern Painters, Volumes 1, 3, and parts of 4. chapters "On the Truth of Color" and "On the Truth of Water" (at U.of Lancaster, UK). Secondary materials: "Ruskin the Word-Painter." Recommended reading: Rhoda Flaxman's Victorian Word-painting.

Week3. 20 September. (Border Crossings continued) Forms of literary painting, or ways of textualizing the visual:

Secondary materials: (a) Hogarth's Influence. (b) Paulson.

Week 4. 27 September (Border Crossings continued) (c) Cultural codes: the example of religious imagery in Victorian painting and literature, the matter of audience, and the problem of proving an interpretation. Ruskin's interpretation of Tintoretto as an example of the penetrative imagination; Millais's Christ in the House of His Parents, Hunt's The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, The Scapegoat, The Shadow of Death, Rosssetti's The Seed of David and Passover in the Holy Family ("poem and watercolor). Christina's Rossetti's "Good Friday," G. M. Hopkins's "The Windhover," "God's Grandeur," "Pied Beauty." Secondary Reading: Ruskin's Influence on the Pre-Raphaelites;" "Typological Interpretation in the Victorian Period" (Chapter I of Victorian Types), Wood; Barringer.

Week 5. 4 October (Case Study 2) Book illustration and visual representation of texts. A history of book illustration from Cruikshank to Beardsley and Sullivan, or how the medium affects the message. (a) Authors who illustrate — create visual representations and interpretations — of their own work: Carroll's Alice books, Kipling's Just-so Stories, Lear's nonsense verse, Thackeray's Vanity Fair.

Resources and recommended readings: Sitemap for materials on illustration, including Bibliography.

Week 6. 11 October. (b) Authors who have editorial control over illustrators: Carroll and John Tenniel, Dickens and Phiz, Hardy and various illustrators.

Recommended readings: Michael Steig's Dickens and Phiz; Lewis Carroll & His Illustrators, Eds Cohen and Wakeling.

Week 7. 18 October. (c) Authors who have little or no control over illustration of their works — the examples of the Moxon Tennyson and Ladies of Shalott by various painters and illustrators, including Breakespeare, Crane, Egley, Fagan, A. Hughes, E. R. Hughes, Hunt, LaFarge, Meteyard, Paget, Robinson, Rossetti, Shaw, Siddal, Sullivan, and Waterhouse.

Week 8, 25 October. (d) Authors who reverse the process and write about works of visual art, including their own:

Week 9. 1 November. The Problem of Time in the Arts: Nostalgia, Incoherence, Loss Rossetti's The House of Life; Swinburne's "Triumph of Time," "Evening on the Broads," and "By the North Sea." Millais's Autumn Leaves

Secondary reading: "'Life touching lips with immortality': Rossetti's Temporal Structures.'

Week 10. 8 November. .The Problem of Time in the Arts: Chronotropes, Time, and Narration in Literature: Tennyson's In Memoriam and "The Last Tournament." Dickens's Great Expectations.

Week 11, 15 November.] .The Problem of Time in the Arts: Seriation in the visual arts (1): Rossetti's "Troy Town" and Helen; Burne-Jones's series — Pygmalion, Perseus, Briarose, and Arthur in Avalon. Tennyson's "The Last Tournament"

Week 12, 29 November. The Problem of Time in the Arts: Seriation in the visual arts (2):

[Brown Thanksgiving Recess 21-25 November.]

Week 14. 6 December. Aesthetes, Decadents,a nd Symbolists. Max Beerbohm, "A Defence of Cosmetics" [text], "Diminuendo" [text]; Richard La Gallienne, "The Boom in Yellow" [text]; Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying" [text]; Walter Pater, "The Preface," "Conclusion," and section on La Giocanda (Mona Lisa) from The Renaissance [text].

8-12 December: Reading period may be used as an expansion week.

Weekly discussion questions

The seminar relies heavily on student-centered discussion generated by the weekly writing assignments, which have several required parts:

These exercises, which provide the basis of class discussion, should be e-mailed to me no later than 6 pm Monday before we begin discussing the reading. (You can skip a single set of questions during the semester, and we may not have one the final week of classes.) Follow for an example of a question set from another seminar.

Final Project

The final project, which takes the place of a final examination, should demonstrate your knowledge of the techniques and authors discussed during the semester. It can take various forms, including a substantial work of creative nonfiction based on research personally carried out in the field or a substantial critical essay. The critical essay, in turn, can take various forms including an essay of 20 pages or an experimental electronic project in hypertext, hypermedia, flash or other medium. Both electronic and print-based creative nonfiction projects require an introduction explaining how they relate to the issues of the course.


  1. Barringer, Tim. The-Pre-Raphaelites. Yale paperback.
  2. Beckson, Karl. Aesthetes and Decadents. Academy paperback.
  3. Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland. Norton critical.
  4. Rossetti, Christina. Complete Poems. Penguiin.
  5. Rossetti, D. R. Poems. Yale paperback.
  6. Rosenberg, John, ed. The Genius of John Ruskin. University of Virginia Press.

Victorian Web Victorian courses

Last modified 13 August 2007