Word and image
Word and image

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Word and image

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 Education, Childhood & Youth qualifications [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


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