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Let it Rock: The Rolling Stones, Writing and Creativity

ENGL 117.301
Thursday 1:30-4:30pm

The Rolling Stones formed in London nearly sixty years ago, and the band is still actively touring and recording. This course will focus on the band’s songs, films, solo projects and lifestyles as a source of creative inspiration. The course will, in part, take its shape based on the interests of the students who enroll in it: while Stones obsessives—you know who you are—are, of course, welcome, if you are new to this music and these lives, curious about how these iconic musicians might inspire your own creative output, then your curiosity, adventurousness and willingness to take a deep dive into this work are all that is required. We will listen to and discuss Stones songs, watch movies and performances, explore their influence across the arts and culture (very much including style and fashion), and meet critics and artists who have engaged their work in meaningful ways. For those reasons, the course will be more impressionistic than strictly schematic—that is, we will follow various threads in the Stones’s work as they emerge in our discussions and as our mutual fascination guides us. The goal is for us to achieve an understanding of this work and these artists that is as visceral as it is intellectual. The class will do some analytic and critical writing. But students who are so inclined will be encouraged to pursue their own creative work—which is to say that, in consultation with the instructor, short stories, songs, poems, plays, paintings, photography or videos inspired by the Stones will be acceptable projects to complete the course’s requirements. You will be allowed a good deal of freedom in charting your own independent course, in other words, as appropriate to our subject and the gift their work has given to us all.

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