English 165

Special Topics: Fictions of Los Angeles

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2005 Saul, Scott
Saul, Scott
MW 4-5:30 258 Dwinelle

Other Readings and Media

Texts will include fiction by Mary Austin, Nathanael West, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes, T. Coraghessen Boyle, and Karen Tei Yamashita; plays by Luis Valdez and Anna Deavere Smith; and the films 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 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, 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 and music that the city has produced. "

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