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Playing Games with Stories

ENGL 292.403

This special Year of Games course examines how filmmakers and writers play games with narrative structure, twisting conventional patterns and expectations by infusing them with chance, randomness, surreality, meta-reality, false starts, restarts, puzzles, dreams, reverse orders, surprise endings, and what Jacques Derrida called “the joyous affirmation of the free play of the world.”  We will examine a wide range of examples, including but not limited to: theorists (Barthes, Bakhtin, Huizinga, and Derrida; films (Memento, Inception, The Usual Suspects, Open Your Eyes, Slacker, After Hours, Last Year at Marienbad, The Phantom of Liberty, and Groundhog Day); writers (Borges, Cortázar, Calvino, Joyce, Nabokov, Ashbery, Perec, Lautréamont, and David Foster Wallace); Dada and Surrealist film, art, and writing; “Structural film” of the 1960s and 1970s, especially Frampton, Snow, and Warhol. Coursework will include experimental and creative projects, as well as analytical and critical essays.

fulfills requirements
Elective of the Standard Major
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major