Loyola University Maryland


Stories We Tell Course Pairing

FALL: The Naked Eye: Victorian and Modern Ways of Seeing (EN 201)

This course will explore the continuities and discontinuities of Victorian and Modern literature in relation to two watershed events in visual culture: the invention of the photograph in 1826 and the invention of cinema in 1895. With the advent of still- and moving-picture cameras, the human act of seeing was transformed into a mechanical process, no longer grounded entirely in the biological instrument of human perception, the “naked eye.” Taking this as our point of departure, we will investigate Victorian and Modern "ways of seeing," the ideas about perception that drew on both science and art to give rise to optical toys and instruments, ultimately transforming the visible world by transforming vision itself. Our primary focus will be on sight-related tropes and themes -- observation, perspective, illusion, insight, blindness, visibility and invisibility, the public and private dynamics of seeing and being seen -- as they emerge in the short fiction and novels of these adjacent literary periods. Authors to be studied will likely include Lewis Carroll, H. G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jeanette Winterson, and Art Spiegelman, among others. We will also look at some early photographs and pioneering cinematic works by the Lumiere brothers, Georges Melies, Dziga Vertov, Emile Cohl, and Winsor McCay.

SPRING: The Literature Laboratory: Stories We See (EN 101)

This seminar will explore verbal and visual forms of storytelling in partnership with the members of Professor Schlapbach's introduction to digital photography, PT270. In "The Literature Laboratory: Stories We See" we will encounter literary authors who create powerful imaginative effects using only words, study photographs and paintings that condense complex narratives into a single image, and consider the ways picture books, graphic narratives, and films combine images and text to entertain, persuade, educate and transform. In the course of our investigations, students will conduct a series of interpretive experiments, working individually and collectively within a laboratory format to discover how literary and visual texts work to create meaning. At the core of our investigations we will test a simple but potentially transformative hypothesis, namely that what matters most about such texts is not the meanings they contain, but the ideas they generate in their readers. Through our experiments in the "literature laboratory" we will gain essential insights about our responses to texts -- how our efforts to find deeper significance often go awry, what actually distinguishes a strong reading from a weak one, and why developing the capacity to admire what we cannot at first understand is crucial to the work of interpretation. A rigorous introduction to the study, interpretation, and appreciation of verbal and visual texts, this interdisciplinary seminar will develop close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that are the basis of advanced work in many professional fields as well as in the academic disciplines of the humanities, sciences, and social sciences."

Faculty Biography

Dr. Nicholas Andrew Miller is Associate Professor of English and Director of Film Studies at Loyola University Maryland. His areas of teaching and scholarly interest include film animation, early cinema, the intersections between modernist print and visual cultures, and twentieth-century Irish and British literature. He is currently at work on an interdisciplinary study of metamorphosis in modernist visual culture titled Metaphor and Metamorphosis: Animating the Modern Imagination. He is the author of Modernism, Ireland, and the Erotics of Memory (Cambridge, 2002).

Telling Photographic Tales (PT 270)

In this course, we will explore how we read and tell stories with photographs. Are photographic stories inherently more truthful or deceptive? Do photographs leave room for interpretation or does the camera limit our understanding of the subject? Is there a way to put ourselves inside the stories we photograph? Over the course of studying and creating photographic stories, students will gain an understanding of fundamental photographic and visual composition skills, and develop creative, photographic solutions to visual story telling problems. We will also share certain materials and activities with the members of our Messina partner course, Professor Miller's Understanding Literature, EN101.

Faculty Biography

Professor Dan Schlapbach received his BS from Washington University and his MFA from Indiana University. He is a Professor of Fine Arts at Loyola University. Mr. Schlapbach's research and teaching interests include 19th century alternative photographic processes, digital imaging and how those processes inform each other. He exhibits his works regionally and nationally, and received Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2009 and 2011.

Mentor Biography

Sara Scalzo Manson is Director for the Office of Student Engagement. In this role, Sara oversees programming related to transition, leadership and discernment particularly through the lens of developing student leaders. Sara arrived at Loyola in 2001 as an Assistant Director of Student Life before moving to her current department. She received her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel from Kent State University (OH) and a B.A. in Music from Baldwin Wallace University (OH). She has a strong passion for Jesuit education and particularly working with students.

Virtual Advisor

EN 201 satisfies the second English core requirement. In order to enroll in EN 203, students must have earned a score of 4 or 5 on the AP English exam or have completed EN 101 in the fall semester. Photography satisfies the Fine Arts core.

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Advising and Support

7 ways Loyola helps ease the transition to college

A student shares seven ways her first-year experience was enhanced by the people and programs at Loyola.

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