Spring 2018

Engaging the Arts

Listed in: English, as ENGL-104


Christopher A. Grobe (Section 01)


When writing about literature, performance or, indeed, any form of art, you face a difficult task.  In order to share your perceptions with readers, you must first conjure the artwork for them using nothing but words.  The ancient Greeks had a name for this feat: ekphrasis, literally the “speaking out” of an experience or thing, the verbal description of a non-verbal work of art.

In this class, an introduction to literary study, performance analysis, and critical writing across the arts, we will study ekphrastic poems, prose, and plays in order to see how they conjure works of art.  We will then test our own ekphrastic powers, not only on these literary works themselves, but also on art we encounter near Amherst College.  Since this will require you to attend an assortment of performances (literary, musical, theatrical, and dance-based) and to visit museums, cinemas, and art galleries near campus, it will serve as your introduction to the wide range of cultural institutions in the area. You will be expected to engage in workshops in class and meet individually with the instructor outside class on a regular basis to discuss your writing.

Preference given to first-year students and sophomores.  Limited to 18 students.  Spring semester.  Professor Grobe.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to first-year students and sophomores.


Attention to Writing, Community Based Learning


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018