Magical Britain

Art/English 485
Spring 2010

Instructors: Michael Pearce and Marja Mogk
Units: 2 (Spring 2010) & 2 (Interim Travel & Post-Return Phases)

Course Objectives and Student Outcomes

This course looks at Britain itself as a palimpsest: a place inhabited continually for thousands of years in which successive cultures have interpreted and built upon the physical traces of previous ones. Students will acquire an understanding of the landscape and ancient cultural history of Britain, including southern Scotland, northern Wales, Northumberland and Wessex, as it comes to us through Stone Age and Iron Age remains, and as it is interpreted by archaeologists, artists and poets today. Students will also develop an understanding of another British palimpsest: the Arthurian legend cycle, which has its origins – like Stonehenge – in the oral cultures of preliterate Britain, and which has serve as an artistic touchstone and source of national identity since its collection and publication in the late middle ages. In exploring these two palimpsests, the landscape and the literature of Britain, students will craft their own layered text: an illustrated travel journal that will serve a canvas on which students articulate and express their experience of place, visual art, and prose.

This course is cross-listed in Art and English. Students may take the course for CORE-21 credit in either studio art or in literature, but not both. However, all members of the class will complete both the studio and the literature components of the course, which will be integrated through the final project: the writing and illustrating of the course travel journal and the display of the course journals in Soiland’s second floor gallery.


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