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19th Century American Literature in 20th Century Film

ENGL 016.302
instructor(s):
TR 9-10:30

19th-Century American literature in 20th-Century Film With nearly a third of screenplays adapted from fiction, 20th-century film has long and intimate ties with fiction. In this course, we will read American writers alongside twentieth century French, Italian, and American films that variously quote, translate, or resemble their literary forerunners. Our primary texts would include selected short stories by Poe and Hawthorne, Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Melville's novels Pierre and Billy Budd, Victor Sjostrom's silent film The Scarlet Letter, Jean-Luc Godard's Her Life to Live (Vivre Sa Vie), Federico's Fellini's 8 1/2 and Toby Dammit, Roger Vadim's Metzengerstein, Louis Malle's William Wilson, Leos Carax's Pola X, and Claire Denis' Beau Travail. These readings would be guided by the following thematic questions: What is the relationship between the artist, his work, and his audience in these works? What is gained or lost in the translations from word to image? More broadly, how can one art form imitate, challenge, and/or illuminate another? How might we read and theorize literary and cinematic narratives comparatively?