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


Admission requirements

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


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.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (2 hours per week)

  • Reading List (OPTIONAL)

Course Load

The course load of this course is 280 hours.

  • 24 hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 24

  • time for studying the compulsory literature: 126

  • time to prepare for the exam and/or write a paper (including reading / research): 130

Assessment method

  • Essay(s) (50%):
    Two essays of 1200 words (25% each); or, one longer essay on a comparative subject (dealing with at least two texts featured on the syllabus) of 2500 words (50%).
    Both essays are due on the Wednesday following the last class.

  • Final Exam (50%)
    This exam will feature questions about the literature on the syllabus. The questions are designed to allow students to formulate informative answers based on critical insight into Victorian literature and knowledge of the various important contexts gained during the tutorial discussion and individual study.

If students don’t pass first time round, they can rewrite the essay or retake the exam (depending on whichever they failed the first time around). If they fail both, they have to re-do both.


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

The reading each week comes from:

  • Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen (editors). (2004) Film Theory and Criticism (current edition) (Oxford University Press).


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the coordinator of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration via Studeren à la carte
Registration via Contractonderwijs


English Language and Culture departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;
Coordinator of studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4,


The film for week one is: Charlie Chaplin, City Lights (1931).