However We Know the Landscape -  An Illuminated Text Long Term Project

 "Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it."  Percy Shelley

Lesson Overview 

The first long-term project for my World Literature Class - and something that sadly died the last few years that I taught - as giving homework - whatever its benefits, became more and more explicitely frowned upond.  This assignment has students working with partners to create an Illuminated Text (see my page on the subject) that is directly or indirectly related to The History of Love.


Most Recent Handouts 

The Illuminated History of Love Handout  Docx  PDF  This two-page handout goes into great detail about how to pick the work; how to find out information on creating Illuminated Texts; even how to choose a partner wisely (it takes a lot of work on both students' part).

I've also included some older, helpful handouts:  What Makes a Great Illuminated Text  Docx  PDF  
And for teachers to help grade and keep track of things:  Illuminated Text Grade Sheet  Docx  PDF

More Handouts can be found on the Illuminated Text page

Some Very Notable Examples (spoilers abound & I am working on crediting all)


"Once Upon a Time" by Felipe 

An amazing piece of work.  I know for a fact that students in other classes (like my British Literature class - where I used it as an example of how to do an Illuminated Text) were so moved by his video that they went out and bought the book.  He did the music himself - and the ending is silent on purpose, given the text that is appearing on the screen.


"Once Upon a Time" (also) by Monica Villegas

All of the drawings, the animations, the concept was done by Monica.  It is so well done - so beautiful - so well thought out.  It never ceases to move me - and I find something new in it every time.  There are other incredible Illuminated Texts that Monica did, and I will try to post those as well.  She also was the Art Director for the class final project - a period length Illuminated Texts on one of the works that we did.

A + L.mp4

A. & L

I remember our class sitting in awe as we watched this Illuminated Text - which if memory serves my right was written in Adobe After Effects (the first one I think).  It is beautiful - and a work of art in itself.  Everything that is done with the text happens for a reason - and again, after it was shown, I remember students feeling that they a new (different?) understanding of this last important scene that the Illuminated text portrays.


"Autumn" the by poem by Ranier Maria Rilke

A short but powerful Illuminated texts - that mixes simple drawings with texts (and breaks all the rules about sticking to one font - showing that rules are made to be broken).  The simple piano soundtrack matches every movement - and the hand at the end is powerful (I wish it had faded out though - rather than ending abruptly).


"Don't Set Sail" by Frank Yi and Cheuk Law 

Simple drawings - morphing coffee cups - and beautiful piano music.  Frank and Cheuk do an amazing job here.  There is one rule that students was given to students - one image - and here the artists do such an an incredible job with that coffee cup (though a few other images sneak in as well).  Shapes, words, texts - incredibly moving.  And of course it is about the shapes and texts (and music) that are chosen.


"Were You Ever Mine?"  by Aaron Lichamer, Mimi Lui, and Jamika McCann

Sometimes it is all about the text - sometimes about the story.  This wonderful Illuminated Text combines the two.  It uses the text to tell the story - but also uses images to illustrate that story.  It stands on its own - but if you know the novel - it gives you all the more insight.  All three students were among the best that I ever taught - or as is plain here - that taught me.

Remote Enhancements 

By having the  Handouts available for students - and then showing and watching together (very easy to do in Zoom or Google Meet)  - first some general examples (like "Cat in the Rain") and the ones above.  While showing them - I kept the chat open so we could talk about things to look for  - students also dm'd each other to find a partner to work with. 


Class Recordings (for registered members)




The History of Love Day 6 - A class discussion to follow up on what we've read so far.  Today's long term project and giving the students time to find a partner and think about what they are going to do their Illuminated Text on - is a great way to give the class more time to get their reading done.


  The History of Love Day 4 Group Work

Thoughts on the Lesson 

Watching these examples that are found above - I was profoundly moved.  What incredible pieces of art!  The longer I taught the more "expectations" became a dirty word.  The only place I saw expectations encouraged were in extra-curriculars and sports.  I have high expectations in the classroom was seen, more and more, as a bad thing that raised students stress level.  I saw it as quite the opposite.