English 166

Special Topics: Literature in the Century of Film

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2019 Goble, Mark
MWF 1-2 note new location: 107 GPB


This course examines various intersections between literature and visual media in the twentieth century, with a particular focus on texts concerned with film and its cultural influence. We will read novels, stories, poetry, and essays which not only help us better understand the social implications of media technologies, but also show how literature itself tries to understand its new place as one medium among many. The class will consider such topics as the status of reading in a culture of viewing, the politics of mass entertainment, celebrity and the performance of indviduality, and the commercial origins of the modern work of art. Of particular interest will be texts that directly address the mythology of Hollywood--produced by writers who themselves borrow liberally from film technique as an aesthetic resource.

Readings will include Bram Stoker, Dracula; Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon; Nathanel West, The Day of the Locust; William Gibson, Pattern Recognition; Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others. Books for the course will be available at University Press Books before the semester begins. 

We will also screen several films, including The Jazz SingerSunset BoulevardSingin’ in the Rain; and Peeping Tom.

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