English 150

Senior Seminar: Fictions of Los Angeles

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
17 Fall 2005 Saul, Scott
Saul, Scott
TTh 3:30-5 39 Evans

Other Readings and Media

"West, N.: Day of the Locust; Isherwood, C.: A Single Man; Boyle, T. C.: The Tortilla Curtain; Tei, K.: Tropic of Orange; Valdez, L.: Zoot Suit; Smith, A. D.: Twilight

Films: ""Double Indemnity""; ""In a Lonely Place""; ""Rebel Without a Cause""; ""Chinatown""; and ""Blade Runner"" "


"Los Angeles has been described, variously, as a ""circus without a tent"" (Carey McWilliams), ""seventy-two suburbs in search of a city"" (Dorothy Parker), ""the capital of the Third World"" (David Rieff), and ""the only place for me that never rains in the sun"" (Tupac Shakur). This class will investigate these and other ways that Los Angeles has been understood over the last century--as a city-in-a-garden, a dream factory, a noirish labyrinth, a homeowner's paradise, a zone of libidinal liberation, and a powder keg of ethnic and racial violence, to name but a few. We will trace the rise of Los Angeles from its origins as a small city, built on a late-19th-century real estate boom sponsored by railroad companies, into the sprawling megacity that has often been taken as a prototype of postmodern urban development; and we will do so primarily by looking at the fiction, film, drama, and music that the city has produced. "

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