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Topics in American Literature 1900-45

ENGL 284.910
instructor(s):
MW 4:30-7:40

This course will focus on the writings of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and the process by which the American detective novel has been made (and re-made) into movies. With masculinity as our organizing thematic, we will explore the ways in which modern (and postmodern) American character, identity, and beliefs are, in a sense, "movie-made." We shall follow six novels as they move from word to image, from screenplay to screen: Hammett's Red Harvest (1927), The Maltese Falcon (1929), and The Glass Key (1930) as they become the Coen's brothers' Blood Simple (1984), John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (1941), and the Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing (1990); and Chandler's The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell My Lovely (1940), and The Long Goodbye (1954) as they become Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep (1946), Dirk Richards' Farewell My Lovely (1975), and Robert Atman's The Long Goodbye (1973). Students will be asked to write weekly short (1-2pp) response papers as well as a screen treatment of James Crumley's detective novel, The Last Good Kiss.