Explore History, Culture & Writing
Explore our extraordinary range of History, Culture and Writing courses and lectures. We offer both introductory and specialist in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, from ‘How to read a film’ and World literature, to Creative non-fiction writing courses and American history and Politics courses.
Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many have published, teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion through presentations, readings, interactive discussion and exercises, analysis, and other activities.
Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit Learning community.
Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.
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- Being and empathy: the philosophy of Edith SteinCourse start date: Sat 3 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: John GoffThis course aims to make Stein’s thought more familiar by examining her contribution to a philosophical-phenomenological understanding of faith and religion.Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
- German Expressionism: From Horror to Film NoirCourse start date: Sat 3 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: John WischmeyerGerman Expressionism influenced Hollywood horror after itself being influenced by early Swedish Nordic noir. Along with F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene, Fritz Lang was one of the key figures of German Expressionist cinema. Their influence crossed borders and is alive today in cinema tropes, camera techniques and narrative themes still used by filmmakers, game designers and artists. Their films changed moviemaking forever as directors and set designers created a nightmare environment of unnatural perspectives and distorted images in early films such as Nosferatu (1922 F.W. Murnau), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919 Robert Weine), and Metropolis (1927 Fritz Lang) which led to Dracula (1931 Tod Browning), Spellbound (1945 Alfred Hitchcock) and Blade Runner (1982 Ridley Scott). American pulp fiction shaded this into film noir in The Killers (1946 Robert Siodmak) and Double Indemnity (1944 Billy Wilder), films created by directors who had fled the land of German Expression. It had come full circle.
- Introduction to Film SpectatorshipCourse start date: Sat 10 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Paul SuttonThis course will provide a brief introduction to the history of film spectatorship, tracing its origins in the silent era up to the present day. The course will explore a number of films in detail, includingThe Truman Show (Peter Weir 1998 US), Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore 1998 Italy), The Matrix (Wachowskis 1999 US) and others.Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
- Dickens' LondonCourse start date: Sat 10 Jun 2023 (and 1 other date)
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Molly Rumbelow'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' Enjoy this introduction to Dickens' work and the London of his time. Morning lecture at City Lit followed by a walk in the area of the city connected to his work.Full fee £59.00
- The lost town of Lundenwic: mid-Saxon London 600-900 CECourse start date: Sat 10 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Stuart BrookesLook at the least known episodes in London's history, Lundenwic (AD 600-900) and Lundenburh (AD 900-1000).
Includes an introductory lecture and a guided walk.Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
- Being and beauty: the philosophy of Japanese aestheticsCourse start date: Thu 15 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: John GoffNot something apart from everyday life but intrinsic to it, beauty in Japanese thought does not entail perfection but the surprise of imperfect and transient being.Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £71.00 Concession £45.00
- Not drowning but waving: Edith Sitwell, Stevie Smith and Lorraine MarinerCourse start date: Sat 17 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Laurie SmithWe explore poems written by three highly original English women poets. Their styles of writing are unique as they respond to the stresses of their lives, and to their position as women, with wit and humour. Their resilience shows them as the reverse of Smith’s famous line ‘Not waving but drowning’.Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
- Focus on: 19th-century fashionCourse start date: Sat 24 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Rachel SandersExplore the relationship between nineteenth-century society, from the Napoleonic era to the suffrage movement, and men’s and women’s fashions which witnessed constant change, restrictions, extremes and the start of the dress reform movement.
- The compulsion to repeat in cinema: From Groundhog Day to MementoCourse start date: Sat 1 Jul 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Paul SuttonThere are a surprising number of films that make use of repetition as a motif or as a structuring device for their narratives. Two particularly celebrated examples are Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis 1993 US) and Memento (Christopher Nolan 2000 UK/US). This course will explore this phenomenon, by referencing psychoanalytic film theory and the idea of the repetition compulsion, but also through the detailed analysis of both of these films.Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
- Focus on: 20th-century fashionFull fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
- Writing black out poetryCourse start date: Sat 1 Jul 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Sarah WestcottSometimes a poem is shaped by stripping words away. This fun day workshop explores the emerging form of black out poetry. Learn how to find hidden poems in texts such as newspaper articles, advertisements and letters.Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
- Philosophy of artCourse start date: Sat 8 Jul 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Christopher HornerWhy do we value art? For the pleasure it gives us, the emotion it expresses, its truthfulness, its form? In this introduction to the philosophy of art we will consider various approaches to these questions and others.Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
- Beyond Commedia dell'Arte: two masterpieces by Carlo GoldoniCourse start date: Sat 8 Jul 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Francesco BucciolCommedia dell’Arte originated in Italy in the 16th century, establishing a lasting legacy on many playwrights. Carlo Goldoni, a sharp observer of Venetian society, took this tradition and moved it forward, paving the way for Italian theatre. Discover more about Goldoni's characters, themes and how he staged the plays. We will also read from two of Carlo Goldoni’s most famous works: Servant of Two Masters and The Mistress of the Inn.
- Micropoetry: small poems, big ideasFull fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
- Beat writer’s blockFull fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
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