Chromographia: American Literature and the Modernization of Color


Chromographia is the only study of modern color in U.S. literature. It presents a new reading of perception in literature and a theory of experience that uses color to move beyond the usual divisions of modern thought. In analyzing color experience through the lens of U.S. writers (including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, L. Frank Baum, Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, Gertrude Stein, Nella Larsen, and William Carlos Williams), Chromographia argues that modern aesthetic techniques are inseparable from the theories and technologies that drove modern color. Nicholas Gaskill shows how literature registered the social worlds within which chromatic technologies emerged, and also experimented with the ideas about perception, language, and the sensory environment.

Selections from the book will be made available to audience members beforehand. But you are also welcome to attend without having read in advance. Please contact Camilla Chen ( for the readings.