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Literature and Graphic Design, 1900-2000
ENGL 197 - Spring 2002,  Alan Liu

El Lissitsky, design for MayokovskyThis course is for students interested in how literature interacts with media to reflect the sense of the times. The course focuses sharply on two periods in the 20th century when literature (e.g., poems, novels) and graphic design arts (e.g., typography, posters, magazine design, Web design) collaborated to shape a sense of the "spirit of the times." (1) 1910s-1940s: Imagist poetry, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, New Criticism, Bauhaus and the New Typography, and International Style. (2) 1960s-2000s: Fredric Jameson on "postmodernism," "Language Poetry," Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, David Carson's graphic design, Lev Manovich on "new media," contemporary Web design. (There will also be a class visit by digital artist Victoria Vesna.) The course will require besides two critical essays some hands-on work with graphics and "new media" (creation of a Web work).

This course fulfills the requirement for an upper-division seminar in the English major. It also counts as a course in the Literature & Culture of Information Specialization.


Alan Liu

Office and Office Hours
SH 2521
Please email


SH 2635
TR, 12:30 PM1:45 PM

Required Texts

William Pratt, ed., The Imagist Poem, rev. ed. (Story Line Press)
T. S. Eliot, The Waste land (Norton)
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (HarperCollins)
Curt Cloninger, Fresh Styles for Web Designers: Eye Candy from the Underground (New Riders)
Course Reader available at Alternative Copy Shop

20% Assignment Cluster 1: Paper 1 (4 pages, due in class)
20% Assignment Cluster 1: Project 1 (to be presented in class)
30% Assignment Cluster 2: Project 2 (due in class)
30% Assignment Cluster 2: Paper 2 (due by 4:45 pm in Alan Liu's mailbox in the English Dept.)
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