Prospectus

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Literature 6C: An Introduction to Anglo-American Film, 1930-1980

Course 2011-2012

Admission requirements

Successful completion of Literature 1A, 1B, 2, 3 and 4 or equivalent.

Description

We will explore the breadth of mid-twentieth-century film, following transformations within the cinematic experience, as well as examining the relationship between the cinema and other modes of performance, whether in the theatre, radio or television. We shall investigate the opportunities provided by these other performance media and assess their impact on the cinematic experience. We shall consider these works of art in their cultural context, and scrutinize the ways in which popular film expressed, critiqued or questioned developments within American society.

Course objectives

This course will extend and deepen the power of students’ critical analysis through in-depth consideration of texts. Students will explore critical debates surrounding American film. The course will aim to provide for literature students the critical skills necessary for the analysis of visual texts. This will involve an understanding of: basic film theory; the uses of the frame and editing; the place of the ‘star’; the nature of genre; and the ‘auteur theory’. Regarding both literary and cinematic art works, it will also aim to extend the students’ skills in the reading of narrative and the understanding of the relationship of a text to its cultural/social context. Students will be encouraged to share analytical and critical views on the texts ascribed in class discussion, including short presentations, and will focus research skills in the writing of a final research paper. This paper will be on a relevant subject of their own choice within the parameters of the course.

Timetable

The timetable will be available by June 1st at the website.

Mode of instruction

2-hour tutorial per week and film screening

Assessment method

Two essays of 2000-2500 words (50% each); or, one longer essay on a comparative subject (dealing with at least two texts featured on the syllabus) of 4000-5000 words (100%). Both essays must contain a significant element of research.
The first shorter essay (if the student decides to do this) is due on the Tuesday of the week following the last teaching week (week 14); the long essay and the second shorter essay are due in during the exam period.

Students must regularly atted classes. Failure to do so, will mean that your essay(s) will go ungraded.

Blackboard

This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • V. F. Perkins, Film as Film (Da Capo Press)
  • Philip Lopate (ed.), American Movie Critics (The Library of America).

Registration

Students should register through uSis. Exchange studentens cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail: english@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail: english@hum.leidenuniv.nl.
Studentcounsellor Bachelor: Ms. S.H.J. Bollen, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103B.
Coordinator of Studies Master: Ms. K. van der Zeeuw-Filemon, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.

Remarks

TEACHING SCHEDULE:
WEEK 1: CHARLIE CHAPLIN, CITY LIGHTS.
WEEK 2: GEORGE CUKOR, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY.
WEEK 3: WALT DISNEY, PINOCCHIO / FANTASIA.
WEEK 4: FRANK CAPRA, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
WEEK 5: BILLY WILDER, SUNSET BOULEVARD.
WEEK 6: A HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL
WEEK 7: HOWARD HAWKS, RIO BRAVO.
WEEK 8: ALFRED HITCHCOCK, THE BIRDS.
WEEK 9: MIKE NICHOLS, THE GRADUATE.
WEEK 10: ROMAN POLANSKI, CHINATOWN.
WEEK 11: MARTIN SCORSESE, RAGING BULL.
WEEK 12: DAVID LYNCH, THE ELEPHANT MAN