Topics in Comparative Literature:


Our fascination with tiny things-miniature Eiffel Towers, toys, replicas of famous artworks-stays with us from childhood. Exploring examples from popular culture, literature, art, photography, and film, we will investigate what small things tell us about our larger world. To miniaturize is to evoke a sense of wonder (what remarkable craftsmanship!), nostalgia (it's so toylike!), and control (the whole world in my hand!). Extending our view from the mini to the maxi, we will explore how writers and artists offer studies in scale, perception, and awe. Our collection of miniatures will showcase souvenir items, 17th-century dollhouses, models of cities, including one with a starring role in Doerr's novel ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE (Very) short excerpts from fiction writers (Flaubert and Zola in the 19th century; Proust and Duras in the 20th century, among others), will show how description can function as a micro-story within a text. Similarly, art and advertising will engage us through double-mirroring-the play of smaller images within a larger image (the technique of mise-en-abyme). As corollary to the diminutive, the maxi-sized sculptures and paintings by Hyperrealists (Hanson, Mueck, Sparnaay), and photos by muralist JR and filmmaker Varda (FACES PLACES) will capture our attention by supersizing aspects of experience that we often overlook or underestimate. Students will establish their own virtual collections of tiny objects consistent with their interests (architectural maquettes; microscopic plant images; advertising posters; instruments; artworks; toys; virtual worlds; etc.). Taught in English.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS LCD; FA HUM

Section 01

Topics in Comparative Literature:
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