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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - French

Undergraduate Course: Intermediality: between literature, music and painting (ELCF10080)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is a final-year one-semester 20-credit Option (open also to Ordinary students), on intermediality: the relationship between the arts in the European artistic tradition. It will welcome students studying any European language (including English) at the appropriate level, where their degree programme allows. It will be team-taught, and many of the seminars will be student-led. Each seminar will focus on a small corpus of artworks which either incorporate more than one medium, or refer from within one medium to another (e.g. a poem about painting). With reference to that corpus, we will seek to answer the question: do the different media co-operate with and support each other, or do they maintain their separateness and incompatibility?
Course description This course has a guiding question which we will apply to a number of case studies, both in class and for written work. It is this:

In the European artistic tradition, do painting, literature, and music co-operate with each other? Or do they maintain that each has its own unique way of working, and translation or co-operation between the arts is a false ambition?

The course will be structured as follows.

The introductory seminar will be on Keats¿s ¿Ode on a Grecian Urn¿, which refers to all three arts and is the perfect historical introduction to the question.

Then we have three two-week units: one on literature and music, one on literature and painting, and one on music and painting.

The next two weeks will be student group presentations, on works of art chosen by the students.

The students will learn not only to analyse the distinctive functioning of each artistic medium, but to see why sometimes, artists seem to tell us that the content of an artwork can migrate between media, whereas at other times, they tell us that nothing of importance in an artwork can be transported outside its medium. This question is of fundamental importance in understanding the European artistic tradition in general.

All texts studied will be available in English, though students will be encouraged to read them in the original languages wherever possible.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThe equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of any European literature, or of art history, or of musicology
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Analyse how the value of a work of art relates to its medium
  2. Critically assess discourse on the medium-specificity of artworks, and on translation and adaptation between media
  3. Appreciate the evolution over time of the European artistic tradition, and how that evolution plays out in concepts of medium specificity
  4. Compare and contrast different ways of writing and thinking about art in different European national traditions
Reading List
The full corpus to be worked on will be established as the course progresses, initially by tutors, but also by the students themselves. It will include music and paintings as well as verbal texts. However, the students will from the outset be given a reading list in two parts. The first part will consist of classic texts concerning the links between the arts. This will include:

G. E. Lessing, Laokoon (first published 1767)

E.T.A. Hoffmann, Kreisleriana; The Poet and the Composer (1813-1814)

E. Hanslick, On the Musically Beautiful (1854)

C. Baudelaire, ¿Richard Wagner and Tannhäuser in Paris¿ (1861)

J. A. M. Whistler, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (1890)

W. Kandinsky, Concerning the spiritual in art (1912)

I. Stravinsky, Poetics of Music (1940)

The second part of the reading list will consist of academic writing on the topic in the 21st century, since intermediality became a recognisable academic field. It will include:

Albright, Daniel. Panaesthetics: on the Unity and Diversity of the Arts (Yale University Press, 2014)

Benson, Stephen. Literary Music: writing music in contemporary fiction (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006)

Dayan, Peter. Music Writing Literature (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006)

Dayan, Peter. Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011)

Evan Bonds, Mark. Absolute Music: the History of an Idea (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Hoene, Christin. Music and Identity in Postcolonial British South-Asian Literature (New York: Routledge, 2015)

McAdams, Charity. Poe and the Idea of Music (Lehigh University Press, 2017)

Prieto, Eric. Listening In: Music, Mind, and the Modernist Narrative (University of Nebraska Press, 2002)

Vergo, Peter. That Divine Order: music and the visual arts from antiquity to the eighteenth century (London: Phaidon, 2005)

Vergo, Peter. Music of Painting: music, modernism and the visual arts from the Romantics to John Cage (London: Phaidon, 2010)

Waddell, Nathan. Moonlighting: Beethoven and Literary Modernism (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1) An ability to analyse critically the means by which certain cultural objects attain the status of artworks.
2) An understanding of how the different artistic media interact.
3) The abililty to compare and contrast texts and artworks from many different European traditions,
4) An ability to analyse how artists write about their own works, looking beneath the surface for the motivations explaining apparent paradoxes.
5) Presentational skills.
6) Generally, skills in discourse analysis, especially in showing how prestige and privilege is generated through textual strategies.
KeywordsIntermediality,relationships between the arts in Europe
Course organiserProf Peter Dayan
Tel: (0131 6)50 8424
Course secretaryMrs Elsie Gach
Tel: (0131 6)50 8421
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