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MLA Publishes Serrano’s Essay on Orhan Pamuk


Nhora Lucía Serrano
Nhora Lucía Serrano

Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature Nhora Lucía Serrano is the author of a peer-reviewed essay recently published in Approaches to Teaching the Works of Orhan Pamuk. The volume is part of the Modern Language Association (MLA) “Approaches to Teaching World Literature” series and was edited by Sevinç Türkkan and David Damrosch.

In her essay, “Illuminating My Name is Red and The Museum of Innocence,” Serrano focuses on teaching two of the Nobel Prize winner’s novels within intertextual, intermedia, and visual studies frameworks in her literature courses.

Serrano said that since My Name is Red and The Museum of Innocence engages with Western notions of iconography and representation and how they interplay with Turkish ones, students have a real opportunity to re-conceptualize medieval illuminated manuscripts and modern museum catalogues as visual literary forms through comparative and theoretical analysis.

In addition to mentioning other literary authors—such as Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Franz Kafka, Lewis Carroll, James Joyce, Alice Munro, and Kazuo Ishiguro—whose works could be taught alongside Pamuk, Serrano highlights her pedagogical approaches to teaching visual studies, which she dubs “textual visuality.”

She believes that teaching art and literature introduces students to a special type of discourse wherein the intertextual play between the written word, the images, and socio-political practices of making the “illustrated book” informs and reintroduces students to their modern world.

Serrano also describes some practicum, hands-on assignments, and final projects with Pamuk’s novels that engage with ekphrasis and illumination. She has incorporated these tools into her course on Visual Narratives.

On its website, the MLA hails Approaches to Teaching the Works of Orhan Pamuk, which includes a foreword by Pamuk himself, as a “handbook…both for teaching Orhan Pamuk and for reflecting on critical methodology.”

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