Professor Examines Impact of Illustrations on Colonial Literature
“As adept users of images to create personal self-representations in online media, students are keen readers of visual depictions of Franklin,” said Walsh, who has taught English at the university since 2011. “They are particularly skilled in drawing parallels between Franklin’s beloved portraits of himself and the stories he tells about himself in his ‘Autobiography.’”
A student of Walsh’s noted that Franklin was a master of the “humble-brag.”
“This astute comment perfectly described both the visual and verbal aspects of Franklin’s self-representation,” she said. “Moreover, I’d like to believe that the application of that term to Franklin’s work gave students in that class a richer appreciation not only of early American literature, but also of their own everyday use of English.”
University of Chicago professor Eric Slauter, an expert in American cultural, intellectual and literary history, praised Walsh’s work.
“Walsh taps a diverse archive of verbal and visual materials in order to generate a new perspective on the imaginations of early Americans,” Slauter said.