English R1A

Reading and Composition: Literary and Cinematic Cities

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Spring 2005 Erin E. Edwards
TTh 9:30-11 B51 Hildebrand

Other Readings and Media

"Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

A course reader, which includes selections from Charles Baudelaire, Andre Breton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O'Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, as well as critical and theoretical essays

Recommended Text:

Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference


Fritz Lang, Metropolis

Ridley Scott, Bladerunner "


"In one of the conversations that compose Invisible Cities, Marco Polo tells Kublai Khan:

With cities it is as with dreams; everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or its reverse, a fear Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.

In addition to considering the material demands of urban spaces, this course will explore literary and cinematic cities as a 'made of desires and fears,' as complex, unstable sites of community and alienation, cultural production and dystopian industrialization, novel enticements and novel anxieties. Marco's statement to Kublai suggests that the city, like a text, is a kind of representational riddle that invites interpretation or decoding. We will thus examine the particular difficulty in depicting the vastness of the city or narrating the perceptual vicissitudes of experiencing the city. Attention to such formal elements will aid us in the primary goals of the course--becoming more critical readers and more deliberate writers. Over the course of the semester, students will complete a number of short essays that develop their analytical and argumentative writing skills. "

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