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Visual, Performing, and Literary/Language Arts

This LibGuide provides an overview of the different kinds of items that might be considered "art" and the theories and criticism that surround this category.


This section is split into three sub-sections, "Visual Arts," "Performing Arts," and "Literary/Language Arts."  The term "visual arts" can cover a vast array of items from installations to paintings to advertisements on billboards to computer generated graphics.  The items included under this category can be interpreted and analyzed in a myriad of ways. 

The phrase "performing arts" encompasses performances from dramatic productions to spoken word to films and television productions and beyond. 

The "literary arts" are what one might classify more along the lines of literature, including poetry and prose.  These works can range from epic poems to epistolary novels to articles to comics.  

The ingredients that go into sentences, paragraphs, and pages that make up literary works fall under the heading of "language arts." The term "language arts" covers just about anything having to do with language from an essay on linguistics to newspaper articles to translation studies and beyond.

Each of these categories has quite a bit of fluidity to it, so one might argue that a certain film should be included under "visual arts," as well as "performing arts," especially when a film has stunning visuals.  A novel might also include images or be partially told in images, and thus the book has an element of visual arts in it.  In spite of such fluidity, the categories help us navigate through the different texts that we might encounter and help guide us toward what kind of criticism, analysis, and research we might need to do.

Under each sub-category, you will encounter general research information and sources.  For more specific information, see the subject specific guides, such as "Poetry," "World Literature," etc.

As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask a librarian for assistance.

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