Instructor: Richard J. Friswell
Dates: Apr. 28 – May 26
(Thursdays from 10 AM – 12 PM)
Held in person in our auditorium*
Fee: $125 members / $150 non- members
(by week $30/$35)
Join cultural historian and award-winning writer, Richard J. Friswell for an exciting newly updated course, presented with a novel twist, at the Lyman Allyn. This survey course will explore the idea of ‘nation’ and the emergence of a unique American identity through the eyes if its artists and writers, from colonial times through the early 20th century. The active imagining of American artists and writers both shaped—and was shaped by—political, social and economic factors over many formidable decades. Drawing parallels between art and literature from each period, a picture emerges of our American identity. As a new nation, we had a unique opportunity to invent a cultural ethic and collective personality reflective of our varied European origins, to explore the vast expanse of land that lay—largely unknown—before us, and to apply our industrious nature to the task of becoming one of the world’s leading economic and military powers. The impulse to shape—the why and how of that transformation—told through the eyes and voices of our artists and writers, will be the focus of this course. The program will include a recommended reading list and handouts for class discussion, and a broad range of images from each period will be considered.
Advanced reservations are required. Please contact the Department of Learning & Engagement at 860.443.2545 x 2128 or email Eileen Donovan.
Unable to attend the live classes? Email Eileen Donovan to enquire about a recorded course package.
About Richard Friswell
Richard J. Friswell is a cultural historian and Wesleyan University Visiting Scholar, where he co-directs the renamed Wesleyan Wasch Center Seminars. He is managing editor of ARTES Magazine, an online fine arts magazine, with international circulation. He has authored three books, including Hudson River Chronicles, a fictional treatment of the life of 19th c. painter, Thomas Cole (2019), and Merchants of Deceit: Opium, American Fortune & the China Trade (2022). He lectures widely on topics of art and culture related to the historic period called the ‘modern era.’
*Class participants will be required to wear a mask and physically distance regardless of vaccination status.