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What Does a Walk Look Like? Modernity and Pedestrian Mobility in the Visual Arts

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 4.30PM

Speaker(s): Professor William Chapman Sharpe (Columbia University)

Chair: Dr Nicoletta Asciuto

With urban flaneurs to one side, rural-rambling Romantics to the other, and collectivizing laborers challenging the pretensions of both parties, nineteenth-century artists were fascinated in a literal way by what Karl Marx called "the march of modern history." Aided by photography, energized by crowds, and eager to record the increasing visibility of active women, image-makers in Europe and the United States used the figure of the walker to confront the most pressing concerns of the day, whether social or aesthetic.  This talk will offer an illustrated tour of walking's pictorial evolution in the nineteenth century, winding between images of walking history and the history of walking images.

William Sharpe teaches English and American literature at Barnard College, Columbia University, in New York.  His research focuses on the intersection of art, literature, and modern urban culture.  His books include Visions of the Modern City (1987); Unreal Cities (1990), New York Nocturne: The City After Dark in Literature, Painting, and Photography (2008); and Grasping Shadows: The Dark Side of LIterature, Painting, Photography, and Film (2017).  He is the co-editor of the "Victorian Age" volume of the Longman Anthology of British Literature. He is currently working on a visual history of walking, from the Paleolithic to the pandemic.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 937 9393 1314
Passcode: 931144

Location: Online via Zoom