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Hollywood Classics

ENGL 092.401
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:30 Screenings M 6-8

What do Bruce Willis and Homer have in common? Why do so many films seem so familiar? Is popular culture meaningless? If so, why all the controversy over The Lion King, Braveheart, or Murphy Brown? This course will answer all this and more. It will provide an introduction into both classical literature and the interpretation of popular culture; but it will not entail sitting through hours of The Last Days of Pompeii, Spartacus, Helen of Troy, or other films your parents remember fondly. Students will read a number of well-known texts from antiquity, one or two 20th-century works, and view 8-12 (mostly) recent popular films. By examining the texts and films first within their cultural contexts and then against one another, we will address a number of different themes and issues that will also expose students to different reading tactics. Topics include: the myth of the hero, the evolution of detective fiction, the politics of children's literature and film, narrative strategies, and the uses of tradition. Texts include: Homer's Odyssey, Sophocles Oedipus Rex, Apuleius' Golden Ass, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Euripides' Hippolytus, Raymon Chandler's The Big Sleep, short stories by Raymond Carver, and a number of critical essays. Probable films include: Die Hard, either Terminator 2 or Aliens, Angel Heart, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and Mighty Aphrodite. Note: Students should plan to attend film screenings on Monday evenings in addition to regular course meetings.