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Americans in Paris

ENGL 286.402
crosslisted as: CINE 280
instructor(s):
MW 2-3:30
Benn 25

American literature from the perspective of its everlasting captivation with the city of Paris. Ranging from the 18th century to the present, we will concentrate on major American writers, such as Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Henry Miller, James Baldwin, Janet Flanner, Elizabeth Bishop, and Edmund White, as well as important artists, filmmakers, and musicians, such as John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Man Ray; Jean-Luc Godard, Stanley Donen, Robert Altman, Wim Wenders; Louis Armstrong, George Gershwin, Josephine Baker, Cole Porter, and Miles Davis. We will also take note of the everlasting French captivation with America, from Crèvecoeur and Tocqueville to Simone de Beauvoir and MC Solaar. Classes will be organized around important themes and problems, such as: “What Is an American?”; “Sex Tourism and the Founding Fathers”; “Revolution and Terror”; “Pleasure and Alienation”; “Many Modernisms”; “Les Années Folles and All that Jazz”; “Harlem and Paris”; “The Post-Colonial”; “68, or Something”; and “Freedom Fries.” The course will also offer an explicitly transnational perspective on the concept of national literatures. Requirements include several very short essays, an in-class presentation, and a longer final essay. No knowledge of French is required, though bilingual projects are welcome.