Teaching Illustrated Literature: Pedagogical Study of Selected Illustrated Works of Dickens, Tennyson, and Poe

Katz, Julia, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Sullivan, Patricia, English, University of Virginia

The integration of multimodality into the study of English literature can help students develop transferrable skills applicable to interpretation of multiple sign systems. In addition to developing skills that can be applied to multiple forms of communication, studying literature alongside other arts encourages students to recognize how form generates meaning. This pedagogical thesis looks at how studying illustrated literature, in particular, can help students gain skills in recognizing the contextuality of response to literature, in interpreting multimodal texts, and in engaging with the questions of comparative arts studies. The thesis includes a defense of a prospective college English course, “Exploring Illustrated Literature,” with explication of the course goals, units, and assignments. “Exploring Illustrated Literature” covers major movements in the illustrated literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including the satirical illustrations of the nineteenth century serialized novel, the gift-book engravings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and the fantastical artwork of the Golden Age of Illustration. The course also investigates questions about the relation between image and word, such as to what extent image and text can be said to occupy a shared genre or point of view, whether an illustration can be more or less representative of the written text, and what relation words and images have to the “unimaginable.”

MA (Master of Arts)
English pedagogy, college English course, Holman Hunt, Illustrated literature, Arthur Rackham, English syllabus, Harry Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, arts integration, comparative arts, multimodality, multimodal rhetoric, John Everett Millais, pedagogical thesis, teaching English, Alfred Tennyson, serialized novel, George Cruikshank, history of illustration, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
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