English R1A

Reading and Composition: Pre-Raphaelite Art and Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2018 Forbes-Macphail, Imogen
MWF 1-2 note new location: 78 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Course reader including selections from the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddall, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburne, John Keats, Alfred Tennyson, Geoffrey Chaucer, Giovanni Boccaccio, William Shakespeare, John Ruskin, Robert Buchanan, and Walter Pater.

We will also view selections from Desperate Romantics, a BBC drama based on the lives of the PRB.


This course examines the relationship between literature and art through the lives and works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood — a revolutionary artistic movement of the mid-nineteenth century — and those in their circle. In addition to literature by the Pre-Raphaelites themselves, we will also read works by authors such as Keats, Tennyson, Chaucer, Boccaccio and Shakespeare, which inspired many of their artworks. Key themes of this course include the relationship between poetry and painting, the medieval and the modern, the artist and their work, and the traditional and the avant-garde. The principal focus of R1A courses is to develop student writing, and as such this class will practice close reading and argumentative skills through regular short writing assignments. We will further reflect on and hone our critical skills through exploring contemporary criticism of Pre-Raphaelite poetry and painting by critics such as Ruskin, Buchanan, Dickens, and Pater. This course will also involve an excursion to the exhibition “Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters”, which will be on display at the Legion of Honor museum from June 30 – September 30 2018.

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