Literature and Photography OpenCourseWare: A Free Online Undergraduate Literature Class by MIT

Published Feb 07, 2009

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Use the tools of literary criticism to explore photography in this free online OpenCourseWare from MIT. In 'Literature and Photography: The Image' students trace parallel analytical paths between literature and photography, from Daguerreotypes and Walt Whitman to Civil War photography and the poems of Ezra Pound. This undergraduate-level course is well suited for students seeking a Bachelor of Art degree in Literature, English or Photography.

Literature and Photography: The Image Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
Yes Yes No

Literature and Photography: The Image: Course Description

In this introductory course on literary interpretation, students are exposed to the fundamental theories of literary criticism. The class explores the evolution of critical methodologies, as well as literary themes that recur throughout history. MIT's 'Literature and Photography: The Image' emphasizes the application of these critical tools and subjects to the analysis of photography. The course draws parallels between the skills required to deconstruct literary texts and the skills required to interpret an image. During the course, students read selected poems by Walt Whitman, Robert Browning and Hilda Doolittle, as well as The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. These texts are intermingled with discussions on photographic topics, including Daguerreotypes, Civil War photography and the more modern works of Alfred Steiglitz, Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe. Students are encouraged to identify a photographic archive and apply their new analytical skills to editing, or curating, the images. Professor Stephen Tapscott and Marja Roholl teach tis lecture-based undergraduate-level course.

A list of suggested readings, written assignments and relevant links are offered on the course website, plus links to photo collections and images by photographers featured in 'Literature and Photography: The Image'. If you're interested in this free online course, visit the literary theory and photography criticism course page.

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