The general purpose of this course is to explore the evolution and applications of notions of genre, in both theory and practice. We will consider how notions of genre have been used historically to construct boundaries and rules for literary production (a project so ably deconstructed by Jacques Derrida). Genre has also been understood to create a productive engagement between writers, readers, and audiences, creating what Hans Robert Jauss calls “an objective horizon of expectations.” Others have argued, with Frederic Jameson, that a genre should be analyzed as an artifact of an ideology, a product of history. The more specific purpose of the course is to consider the construction of dramatic genres in different performative media, old and new, including theater, film, and videogames.
Theoretical readings will include Aristotle, Sidney, Frye, Genette, Derrida, Bahktin, Jameson, Moretti and Altman; dramatic and performative examples will include plays from Sophocles to Stoppard, genre films and films that bend genre categories, and videogames that draw from theater and film.