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The Arts and Popular Culture: The Beatles

ENGL 3411.301
R 1:45-4:45pm

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Magical Mystery Tour: Discovering Inspiration and Your Own Creativity in the Music of the Beatles

This course will focus on the music and lives of the Beatles as sources of creative inspiration. The course will, in part, take its shape based on the interests of the students who enroll in it. While Beatles obsessives — you know who you are — are, of course, welcome, if you are new to their music and simply curious about how this iconic band might inspire your own creative activity, you are more than welcome as well. Your adventurousness and willingness to take a deep dive into their work is all that is required.

We will listen to and discuss Beatles songs, watch documentaries about the group, explore their influence across the arts and culture, and meet critics and artists who have engaged them and their work in meaningful ways. To that degree, the course will be more impressionistic than strictly schematic — that is, we will follow various threads in the Beatles' work as they emerge and our fascination guides us. The goal is for us to achieve an understanding of the band and its individual members that is as visceral as it is intellectual.

The class will do some analytic writing, and each student will make at least one presentation. However, 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, visual art, or videos inspired by the Beatles will be acceptable projects to complete the course's requirements. You will be allowed a great deal of freedom in charting your own independent course, in other words, as appropriate to our subject and the gifts their work has given to us all. As Sgt. Pepper assured us, “A pleasant time is guaranteed for all.”

English Major Requirements
English Concentration Attributes
  • Creative Writing Workshop Course Minor (AECW)
  • Journalistic Writing Minor (AEJW)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes