Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Literature and Popular Culture

ENGL 001.920
MTWR 10:40-12:15

Time and again a literary reference turns up in a movie or a TV show with no explicit acknowledgement. This course will illustrate and probe the significance of the phenomenon. Students will write daily responses to films and TV programs that somehow change in tone as a result of the literary material that reshapes the popular medium. What, for example, is the significance of a Simpsons show in which Lisa writes a poem that echoes Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”? Why does a child’s toy soldier quote a Psalm in Latin in The Sixth Sense? Class discussions will explore different ways of understanding these issues and the writing assignments will require critical analysis that will increase in length and complexity during the semester. The course will make use of various techniques of evaluation including peer review, class discussion of specific essays in addition to the comments and suggestions of the instructor.