English 190

Research Seminar: Fictions of Los Angeles


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Fall 2009 Saul, Scott
Saul, Scott
TTh 11-12:30 203 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles (1994); T. Coraghessen Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain (1996); Nathanael West, Day of the Locust (1939); Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man (1964); Walter Mosley, Little Scarlet (2004); Scott Bukatman, Blade Runner (1997); Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange (1997)

Description

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 powderkeg 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.

English 190 replaces English 100 and 150 as of Fall ’09. English majors may fulfill the seminar requirement for the major by taking one section of English 190 (or by having taken either English 100 or 150 before Fall ’09). Please read the paragraph on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course!

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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