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This course will consider carefully a handful of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, romances, and tragedies. Our analyses will focus on the language of the plays, with some attention to the social and theatrical contexts that informed their original production. We will turn to filmed versions of each play with four questions in mind: how does the film respond to interpretive problems that are evident in the text of the play? Are there resources specific to each media (Renaissance theater, film) for conveying key issues of narrative and genre? How does the shift in media (from Renaissance theater to film) require us to apply different analytical strategies? What does the film tell us about Shakespeare’s role in popular culture?
This course fits the following course categories in the English department majors and minors: "pre-1800," "200- or 300- level," and "dramatic literature." It also fulfills two English department clusters: "Great Books, Great Authors" and "Plays, Playwrights, and Theater."
Assignments: daily journal entries, two take-home exams.
An examination of the career of Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980), emphasizing the close analysis of his most significant and influential works, from the 1926 British silent thriller The Lodger to such late-period American films as Vertigo, Psycho, and Frenzy. As we discuss the films, we will also consider questions of cinematic authorship, the development of a recognizable visual and narrative style, and the significance of genre (thriller, romantic melodrama, horror film, et al.). We will approach the films from a variety of critical perspectives including auteur theory and genre theory. Readings will include one critical study of the entire body of the director's work and a biography; other readings may also be required. Applicable English cluster: Great Books, Great Authors.
This course will explore the work of Woody Allen, one of the most controversial and prolific filmmakers of the twentieth century. We’ll study Allen’s peculiar comic genius and his use of humor, satire, and postmodern filmic techniques to address profound existential questions such as the non-existence of God, the insignificance of man, the failures of art, and the treacheries of love and sex. We will watch the films Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Deconstructing Harry, and Match Point, and read essays by Woody Allen, as well as critical responses to his work.
Assignments: This is a discussion-based course with weekly short writing assignments and a final essay.