3. Why description matters

Our guest Heather Love is out to convince us of the value of description — yep, plain old description. In our conversation today, she argues that description has gotten a bad reputation in literary studies. Lately, Heather has been reading sociology books from the 1950s and 60s. She thinks that their neutral, distanced descriptions have an ethical value that most literary scholars haven’t recognized.

Bonus clip

Click here to hear about an unexpected compliment that graphic novelist Alison Bechdel received on the descriptive powers of her book Dykes to Watch Out For.

Works mentioned

– Georg Lukács, “Narrate or Describe?”

– Erving Goffmann, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity

– Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric

– Alison Bechdel, Dykes to Watch Out For

Further reading

Heather Love (and others) at Public Books – Virtual Roundtable on “Description in the Novel

Heather Love at New Museum – (Temporary) Collection of Ideas around CHOREOGRAPHY

William H. Whyte’s film The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

Seth Barry Watter at Seeing Science – The Measurers Measured

Erika Balsom at E-Flux – The Reality-Based Community

Various films produced by Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *