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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $53.00
  • January 2004
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-97912-1
  • 640 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

Picturing Texts


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Lester Faigley (Author, University of Texas, Austin), Diana George (Author, Virginia Polytechnic Institute), Anna Palchik (Author), Cynthia Selfe (Author, Ohio State University)


Redefining composition to include conscious attention to images and design, Picturing Texts is the first writing textbook to show students how to compose visual texts as well as how to read them.

Both reader and rhetoric, it combines 40 readings and more than 200 images with instruction on how to think rhetorically about both words and images. Students who write on computers are able to add visuals to their texts and to design what they write—Picturing Texts will teach them how.



    Surrounded by images

    Words and images combined

    Images for words – Words for images

    Looking at texts rhetorically

    Writing in the digital age

    1. Picturing Texts

    Working with visual and verbal texts

    1. Balance
    2. Classification
    3. Comparison and contrast
    4. Description
    5. Emphasis
    6. Metaphor
    7. Narration
    8. Pattern
    9. Point of view
    10. Proportion
    11. Unity

    Charts and Graphs: Explaining with Visuals

    Captions: Explaining Visuals with Words

    What We See When Looking at a Text

    Mitchell Stephens – By Means of the Visible

    Scott McCloud – Through the Door: Digital Production

    M&Co – The Restaurant Florent Ad Campaign

    Jessica Helfand – Squaring the Circle

    Smithsonian Magazine – Covered in Glory

    2. Looking Closer

    Reading text

    Analyzing visual texts

    Writing up an analysis

    Edward Hopper – Nighthawks, 1942

    Mark Strand – Hopper

    Joyce Carol Oates – On Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942

    Joel Sternfeld – McClean, Virginia, December 1978

    John Szarkowski – On Apples Grown by Irrigation

    Bruce Grierson – Shock’s Next Wave

    Gallery of Images

    3. Making Lives Visible

    Our stories, our selves

    Visual and verbal narratives

    Autobiographical genres

    Seeing and not seeing, stories and silences

    Composing life stories

    Nancy Carpenter – And My Hats Were Prettier

    Sabrina Ward Harrison – I Talked to Nana This Morning

    Bell Hooks – In Our Glory: Photography and Black Life

    Billy Collins – Litany

    Barbara Kruger – Memory Is Your Image of Perfection

    Michelle Citron – What’s Wrong with This Picture?

    Greg Halpern and Frank Morley – The Man Didn’t Even Know I Was There

    Judith Wilde, Richard Wilde, and Sharon Harel – Typographic Portraits

    Gallery of Images

    4. Representing Others

    Ourselves among others

    Starting with family

    Stereotyping others

    In historical contexts: mug shots and wanted posters

    In cultural contexts: travel images

    In humorous contexts: cartoons

    Duane Michal – A Letter from My Father

    Joseph Bathanti – Your Mum and Dad

    Helen E. Starkweather – Crisis at Central High

    Annu Palakunnathu Matthew – An Indian from India

    Gina Kolata and Iver Petersen – New Way to Insure Eyewitnesses Can ID the Right Bad Guy

    Peter Menzel, Paul Kennedy, and Charles Mann – Material World: A Global Family Portrait

    Tom Phillips – The Cards We Choose to Send: Selections from the Postcard Century

    Christopher Hart – How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains

    Gallery of Images

    5. Constructing Realities

    Picturing reality

    Interpreting reality

    Envisioning unseen realities

    Creating realities

    Images and reality

    Kenneth Brower – Photography in the Age of Falsification

    Jennifer Jacobson – In Brochures, What You See Isn’t Necessarily What You Get

    Kate Betts – The Man Who Makes the Pictures Perfect

    David Quammen – The Boilerplate Rhino

    Vicki Goldberg – Even Scientific Images Have Trouble Telling the Truth

    David Brooks – Oversimulated Suburbia

    Gallery of Images

    6. Picturing Argument

    Recognizing argument

    The rhetoric of a visual argument

    Using words and images to argue a point

    Seeing is believing—visual evidence

    Making a visual argument

    Jesse Levine – Turnabout Map – A New World of Understanding

    Michaela Sullivan – King Leopold’s Ghost

    Elaine Reichek – Red Delicious

    Jason Berry and Richard Misrach – Cancer Alley: The Poisoning of the American South

    Shirley Ann Grau – Memory, Mint Juleps, and My Grandfather

    Gallery of Images

    7. Designing Texts

    How design affects your message

    Genre and design



    Images and other graphics

    Evaluating design

    Paula Scher – Defective Equipment: The Palm Beach County Ballot

    Sarah Boxer – A New Poland, No Joke

    Tibor Kalman – What’s Happening to Logos?

    Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller – McPaper: USA Today and the Journalism of Hope

    Jim Heimann – May I Take Your Order?

    Gallery of Images