Instructor: David J. Alworth
Meeting time: Wednesday, 3-5
This course tracks the history of design from the Industrial Revolution to the digital revolution in the United States, and it gives sustained attention to the relationship between this history and American literature, broadly conceived. At least since Edgar Allan Poe published his “Philosophy of Furniture” in 1840, American authors have engaged with the objects and ideas of design thinking. Such engagement has taken many different forms since the mid-nineteenth century: simultaneous attraction to and repulsion from the technological, the industrial, and the machine; obsession with the distinctions among art, craft, and decoration; fascination with cities as designed spaces and with literary art as a designed (if not exactly designer) thing; and attention to the poetics of fashion, advertising, shopping, décor, bric-a-brac, trash, and other superficial matters.