The Critical Essay: Literature and the Arts

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The Critical Essay: Literature and the Arts
Writing Course
Course CodeWRT2A, WRT4A
Years of Operation1981-2016
Sites OfferedCAR, CLA, JHU, LAN, SAR, STM
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (1997):

In Writing and the Arts, students learn to analyze and interpret a wide range of contemporary and classic art and to argue their interpretations convincingly. Students begin by considering literary works (mainly poetry and fiction), and later explore other art forms, such as drama, film, music, painting, photography, or dance. Students consider such issues as the relationships between the arts (e.g., between literature and film), the ways a society or culture defines and influences the arts, and how particular writers and artists respond to one another's work within an ongoing tradition. Students typically produce four to seven final versions of major writing assignments, including traditional close readings of poems and stories as well as less usual assignments such as style imitations or reviews of art exhibits, movies, or plays. Students develop their ideas through a process of drafting and revising. Suggestions for revisions are provided by the instructor and by peers in the writing workshop.


Review 1 In The Critical Essay: Literature and the Arts, we did just that, wrote critical essays about different short stories and an analysi of works of pop surrealism. I took lit and the arts at Skidmore, session one. My favourite part of the class was when we weren't actually in the class room. We attened poetry/prose readings several times a week, went to multiple art muesems and even got to see jazz concerts. So expect a lot of fun field trips, we got to see multiple works by Picasso, Degas, Renoir, Monet and studied surrealism.

This is a great class, and if you plan on taking it, Skidmore is the best place. At Skidmore College, there is a summer writer's and summer jazz institute, so during night session, you're probably going to go to poetry readings or jazz concerts. 09.1 went to two museums in South Adams, Massachusetts for their field trip (The Clark and Williams College Museum). The driving was 3 hours alone, and since we had to leave at 9 and come back at 3 there wasn't too much time to look at the art work, but just enough. Works by Picasso, Degas, Monet, Chagall, Matisse, Renoir, Salvador Dali, and many more were shown. We also studied a lot of Southern Gothic literature, since the teacher was from the South. Overall it was a very enjoyable class and I highly reccomend people to take it.

Review 2 I took The Critical Essay: Literature and the Arts at JHU with Patrick Fessenbecker and MK Thornberry 13.1. It was eye-opening. I would walk out of class every day with my mind newly blown. Beyond our teachers being absolutely perfect, the curriculum was great as well. We read works, looked at art, and listened to music. We then looked at analyses of those works, found a flaw with the analysis, and wrote our own version. The analyses were very advanced and I feel both my reading and writing skills have improved. We also took field trips and had guest visitors. Professor and composer Judah Adashi of the Peabody Conservatory came to visit us and played some of his music, which we then had the option to analyze in our final essay. We visited both the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is practically on campus, and the American Visionary Arts Museum. Overall, we focused on the Victorian period in literature and arts. We read T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men," and "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock," select stories from James Joyce's Dubliners, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (to accompany the latter, we watched "The Hours."). This course was amazing! You will absolutely love it.