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Poetry & the Visual Arts: Victorian, Modern & Post-Modern - ENG00026M

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Hugh Haughton
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module will introduce students to study of the relations between poetry and painting in the modern period, and explore the impact on visual modernism on poets and poetics. It will study an influential series of influential encounters between poets and painting from the mid nineteenth-century to the present, by way of close readings of poetic texts in relation to particular images by painters and/or photographers. It will start with the period of Ruskin and Pre-Raphaelitism, moving from Browning and Rossetti through the moments of cubism and modernism, and take in the crucial dialogue embodied in the work of the poets of the New York School, including Frank OHara and John Ashbery, as well as very different contemporary traditions of response represented by poets liked Auden and Bishop, ending with a look at engagements with painting by poets writing today. The aim is to develop both greater knowledge of the poets studied, a fuller sense of the implications of formal innovation in visual and literary art in the period of modernism, and a sense of the challenges and problems in interdisciplinary writing and criticism.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

·A review of Victorian, twentieth-century and contemporary poetry in relationship to the visual arts from Pre-Raphaelitism to the present. It will examine the parallels between poetry and the graphic arts via close study of poems, essays, and statements of poetics, which will be discussed in association with relevant visual materials.

Academic and graduate skills

  • It will aim to develop formal and stylistic awareness of texts, close reading skills, historical understanding of the modernist revolution in the arts, and an interdisciplinary approach to literature and the visual arts in the modern period.

Other learning outcomes (if applicable)

An enhanced sense of pleasure in the face of pictures and poems.


Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see section 12 of the department's Guide to Assessment (PDF , 1,244kb).

Indicative reading

Poems by Browning, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, Frank OHara and John Ashbery; A.W. Heffernan, The Museum of Words: The Poetry of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery (2004).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.