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What’s in a shadow? Danger and death? Or the vital life-force of whatever object casts it? Are shadows seductive nothings or truth-telling images of repressed sexuality and violence?
Starting with literary examples from Dickens, this lecture will untangle the complexity of shadow-meaning by exploring how artists have used shadows since ancient times. Works by Van Eyck, Masaccio, Leonardo, Munch, Picasso, Sargent, Hopper, and many others will be discussed.
Professor Sharpe is Professor of English & American literature at Barnard College, Columbia University. He specialises in the literature, art, and culture of the modern city, particularly New York.
He is the author of three books with an interdisciplinary focus on literature and art, Unreal Cities, New York Nocturne and Grasping Shadows.
His current project explores the cultural history of walking.