The VCS Chair Readings for September and October 2012

This month’s entry in the VCS Chair Readings series features a selection from the Spring 2012 issue of Raritan: A Quarterly Review. Here’s what our Department Chair Tom Huhn had to say about this piece:

I’m happy to pass on this short excerpt from “Journey through America,” a report by Wolfgang Koeppen on his 1958 trip through America. Koeppen, a German novelist and journalist, was on assignment for a German radio station. I’m very fond of Koeppen’s report, for it reminds me again of how strange we Americans appear to our foreign guests.

You can download the full article in PDF format at this link.

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The Chair Reading for September featured a piece by writer Ellen Levy on art historian T.J. Clark. Here are Tom’s comments:

The strong response to last month’s reading, “For a Left with no Future,” by T. J. Clark, makes me still more inclined to continue thinking about the place of the artist, critic, poet, or indeed art historian in contemporary life and letters by recommending for this month Ellen Levy’s “‘The Deep Ludicrousness of Lyric’: The Poet in T. J. Clark.” Ellen’s tour de force essay considers the historical precedents among some of the major figures in Modernist painting and poetry for Clark’s own relationship to poetry and the visual arts. I recommend Ellen’s essay for its sustained clarity and insight into the last half-century’s deeply fraught relations between painting and poetry.

The article is available for download at this link.

In April 2011, Levy gave a lecture at SVA on the same topic. You can learn more about it at this post, which also contains a link to a free video of Levy’s talk (and many other VCS-sponsored lectures) on iTunes U.

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