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Topics in Film Studies: Hollywood and the American Novel

ENGL 292.601
instructor(s):
T 6:30-9:30

 Is the book better than the movie? In an age when American culture seems increasingly defined by its directors and producers rather than its authors, how do we understand Hollywood’s long-standing fascination with the American novel? Or the fascination with Hollywood of novelists like Faulkner, Hemingway and Hammett? This class will look at the evolving languages of Hollywood film style and the 20th-century American novel as they intersect in film adaptations that simultaneously contribute to, and problematize, the American cultural tradition. When taken in conjunction with one another, these texts and filmic adaptations pose important problems for our understanding of authorship; the relationship between word and image; and slippery distinctions like that between ‘high,’ ‘low’ and ‘mass’ culture. Attention will be given to texts and films, but also to theories and methodologies that will inform our thinking about the relationship between them. Novels and adaptations may include Goodbye Columbus, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Deliverance, Lolita, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Loved One, and Smoke Signals..

Fulfills Distributional Course in Arts & Letters.