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Of Shadow and Substance: Sadakichi Hartmann, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Photo-Poetic Process

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“Of Shadow and Substance” examines the relationship between ideas of photography and ideas of poetry at the turn into the twentieth century in the writing of Sadakichi Hartmann (1867-1944) and Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906). The project focuses on intermedial or what Hartmann would call “suggestive” spaces such as Dodd, Mead, and Company’s photographically illustrated editions of Dunbar’s poems and Hartmann’s criticism and ekphrastic poetry found in the art journal, Camera Work. In tracing the ways in which these understudied writers limned the expressive and representative capacity of poetry and photography, the project provides a critique of the ways in which affect, intimacy, and racial identity are mediated by aesthetic form in an effort at offering new perspectives on American literary history and methodologies of poetic interpretation.

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This item is under embargo until June 11, 2026.