FALL 2021

CPLT 415 / ARTH 390 / ENGL 439

The University of South Carolina is one of about ten institutions worldwide to own the complete works of the architectural illustrator Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778). He is known for his engravings of Roman architecture, ancient and modern, his “imaginary prisons,” and his inventive maps. In his engravings, lush vines hang over classical ruins, antiquarians peek into the shadows of long-hidden family crypts, faceless prisoners climb endless staircases past skulls and bones, and maps pack tremendous amounts of information and visual detail into single images. Piranesi’s works inspired authors including Charles Baudelaire, Thomas de Quincey, and Edgar Allan Poe. This course, which meets in Rare Books and Special Collections, will situate Piranesi’s works in a number of contexts—European culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, graphic design, architecture, art history, the history of the book, and the digital humanities. In conjunction with the current exhibit “Piranesi’s Worlds: Mapping the Architectural Imagination” in Hollings Library, students will study original and rare print materials along with their digital renditions at digitalpiranesi.org. Concepts such as form, interiority, and vision will be traced across different disciplines, national literary traditions, and media. All texts will be taught in English.