English R1B

Reading and Composition: Out of Obscurity

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
16 Fall 2022 Davidson, William
MWF 3-4 DWIN233


During this course we will read together, and write about, artists of all kinds who lived the majority of their life in obscurity--from familiar literary figures like Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Lorine Niedecker, to the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint and folk singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, among a host of others. We will ask questions about reception and audience, about non-affiliated and outsider art that receives public recognition only belatedly.

In the process, and one that might shed some reflective light on the hyper-visible publicity pertinent to much contemporary popular and social media, we will think about the ways in which significant bodies of work that remained obscure, as a result of the arist's idiosyncracies or the prejudice of institutions, can help us understand the flaws of canonicity and the historically contingent formation of our own reading practices.


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