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Back to Words Spun Out of Images: Visual and Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Words Spun Out of Images: Visual and Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan by The University of Tokyo

4.8
206 ratings
67 reviews

About the Course

In their ambition to capture “real life,” Japanese painters, poets, novelists and photographers of the nineteenth century collaborated in ways seldom explored by their European contemporaries. This course offers learners the chance to encounter and appreciate behavior, moral standards and some of the material conditions surrounding Japanese artists in the nineteenth century, in order to renew our assumptions about what artistic “realism” is and what it meant. Learners will walk away with a clear understanding of how society and the individual were conceived of and represented in early modern Japan. Unlike contemporary western art forms, which acknowledge their common debt as “sister arts” but remain divided by genre and discourse, Japanese visual and literary culture tended to combine, producing literary texts inspired by visual images, and visual images which would then be inscribed with poems and prose. Noticing and being able to interpret this indivisibility of visual/literary cultures is essential in understanding the social and psychological values embedded within the beauty of Japanese art....

Top reviews

SC

Sep 06, 2019

It has expanded my views not only on Japan Visual and Literary Culture but also has open for me a new way of looking at portraits in different cultures and times. Thank you so much

VC

Jan 10, 2018

Very knowledgeable lecturer with a gentle humble voice. Much was learned about literary portraits from 18th/19th centuries to literary photographs in the early 20th century.

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51 - 67 of 67 Reviews for Words Spun Out of Images: Visual and Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan

By Couller V

Dec 03, 2017

It is a great course for those who seek to deepen their understanding of the Japanese Art History and its relation to social, political and overall cultural environment of the given period, as well as retrospective view of these periods. Analyses of concrete examples give definite insight into not only the image, written words and background of this image, but also the methodology, or tools with which this kind of analysis is possible. On top of that, I also would like to note a great attention to peculiar cultural elements, such as transformation of haiku or so-called pleasure districts, to name a few, which I find rather interesting.

But beware, it's not a "monographic" type of work which will expose you to the complete set of all aspects of the knowledge, and neither this course will make you a specialist in this field, but nontheless it's a nice place to start if you have an interest in visual and/or literary culture of Japan in pre-modern and early modern times.

All in all, I may fairly satisfied with this course and would recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

By spyridon c

Apr 20, 2019

great lecture. I have learn so many for Japanese culture and history.

thx!

By Javier

Jul 30, 2019

I really like Japan, and I wanted to learn a little more about its culture, so this course has served me a lot.

By Aleksandr Z

Aug 29, 2019

Engaging lecturer. Unique and interesting content.

By Sandra C

Sep 06, 2019

It has expanded my views not only on Japan Visual and Literary Culture but also has open for me a new way of looking at portraits in different cultures and times. Thank you so much

By Father A

Nov 07, 2018

Good synopsis of the subject, accompanied by enough historical background information to understand the images and their captions. I only wish it would also provide a bit more philosophical and religious background.

By Alec Z

Mar 16, 2018

Interesting material. Lectures were slightly repetitious in describing points about some photographs but were interesting overall.

By Lee Y S J

Dec 03, 2017

I found the course content very interesting and the delivery generally very easy to understand. The professor also showed his wealth of knowledge in the subject matter through his lectures. If there is one thing which I was unhappy about, it has to be the subtitles for the lectures which were riddled with mistakes and the Japanese terms had a fair number of spelling mistakes. If this can be improved, it will help the students learn better. On a related note, it would be good to have the Japanese names of the individuals featured in the course as I find that there are limited resources in English if I want to do further reading on these people and would need their names in Japanese script to find resources in Japanese.

By Giulia M

Sep 18, 2017

I found this course really interesting, but way too easy for people who appreciate, know and study Japanese history, art and literature.

By Pilar P d C

Apr 13, 2018

Fascinating information of Japans changing mindset in reference to the image and the onset of photography.

By Renee N

Apr 07, 2018

Very suitable as my first online course. The content was very interesting and taught me a new way to appreciate and learn from different pieces of art. Assignments were generally very light and could be completed very quickly. However, some parts of the lecture can be slightly hard to comprehend at first. I find myself reading through the transcripts (they're really helpful!) again sometimes just to try and let the content sink in further. Anyone interested in art/history/culture and how they intersect should definitely check this out!!

By Ebru O

Jan 04, 2018

The course presents an interesting point of view that combines literature and visual materials (ukiyo-e, illustrations and photographs) in Japanese culture. There are many specific examples that we study and make the concept easier to understand.

By Katrina L

Oct 15, 2017

The material is interesting, but only a relatively small number of works are considered, and the professor repeats himself and uses filler words a lot that are distracting and slow things down.

By Caelyn M

Apr 16, 2018

Very interesting material; but the course was too short. I wish it could have provided more background material and explored more examples.

By Caroline H

Jan 24, 2018

It was a surprise to see a course on this topic. At first I found the central premise fascinating, but would have preferred more conciseness in the lectures and a wider variety of assessment tasks. For instance, why not have students analyse some images themselves?

By ZHOU G

May 06, 2019

Thank you Professor Robert. I enjoyed this course a lot. I came with the expectation of learning more about japanese culture, history and art. This expected is partly met. Yet, I feel like this course is too short and lack of depth. In addition, perhaps it can stress and introduce more about how those pieces of paintings and poems had impacted the contemporary society of Japan so as to contextualize and signify those arts. Anyway, thanks for the course.

By JIN T

Jul 15, 2019

Great subject and helped solving the modern Japanese esthetic puzzles. But I think Robert Campbell is not well-prepared in this course as a narrator. If could just use half of the "emm" in the lecture, the videos will sorter for sure, but still watching him talking about something he loves is extremely fascinating.