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Why does the way a page looks influence how we interpret the information it contains? This free course, Word and image, will examine how typography and images can be combined to improve literary creativity and allow a document to communicate more readily with the reader.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand how visual and verbal modes of communication combine in printed texts to produce meaning(s)
- evaluate how ideas from semiotics, Formalism and postmodern literary criticism may be used in the analysis and interpretation of multimodal texts
- understand the significance of shared cultural knowledge and the way multimodal texts are interpreted and valued by readers and society.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Semiotics
- 3 Word and image in fiction
- 4 Postmodern multimodal literature
- 5 Valuing multimodal texts
- Keep on learning
- Further reading
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Word and image
This course deals with a range of printed literary texts which use visual communication as a meaning-making resource. Different aspects of texts, such as typography and images – and the way they are combined – will be considered with a view to understanding how their analysis can illuminate aspects of literary creativity.
There are examples of creativity in texts which utilise communicative resources beyond the means of language alone, such as plays and other performance art, and the translated Alice in Wonderland which included images made culturally appropriate to a Catalan reader. Here I look more closely at printed texts to see what – and how – combinations of word and image communicate to us as readers. For this, I will be using three approaches: semiotics, a ‘literary studies’ approach, and a look at what postmodern theory can illuminate about visual playfulness in literature.
In this course you will work through the following materials.
Chapter 6 of ‘Word and image’ (allow 7–8 hours).
Reading A: Extracts from 'Signs and myths' by Jonathan Bignell.
Reading B: Extract from 'Narratives of identity and history in settler colony texts' by Clare Bradford.
Reading C: Extracts from 'Postmodernism and the picturebook' by David Lewis.
‘Visual effects in poetry’ (allow about 45 minutes).
‘she being Brand’ (allow about 30 minutes).
Data collection and analysis: multimodal children's literature (ongoing).
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 3 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Educational Practice courses or view the range of currently available OU Educational Practice courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 16th February 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 16th February 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (1.8 MB)
- PDF (2.5 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (2.7 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (1.3 MB)
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- OUXML File (114 KB)
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*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.