Imagining the American West in Literature and Film

Course Dates: 10/08/20 - 14/08/20
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: Online

Howdy Pardners! This class examines the American West in literature and film from the 20th century up to the present day. By looking at a diverse range of texts and films, the class will explore the longstanding and ongoing fascination with, and importance of the legacy of the American West.

This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.


What is the course about?

The course explores the image of the American West in literature and film, examining the ways in which major writers and directors have treated the subjects of the frontier, American Indian culture, national development, violence, the environment, race and gender. Through a detailed look at a range of influential writers and film makers, the course examines how the West continues to allow America and the world to project and reflect on its own experience.

This is a live online course. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Topics covered will include the development of the American West in the 19th and 20th centuries, violence and race in American history, the transformation of the West in literature and film, and the ongoing fascination with the history of the West in American, but also global culture. We will examine classic novels of the West, such as Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) and also lesser-known, but acclaimed works such as Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony (1977). Likewise, we will discuss influential films by famous directors such as John Ford and Clint Eastwood, while also looking at different perspectives on the experience of the West, such as Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cuttoff (2010).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Have developed their literary, cinematic, historical, and cultural knowledge and expression, through varied reading
on the American West in literature and film.
• Students should develop understanding of key literary and cinematic works on the American West, and a
knowledge of the main thematic, historical, literary and political contexts of the West in literature and film.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No particular skills are needed other than an interest in literature and reading.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This one week intensive includes interactive talks by the tutor on the writer/director, themes and contexts and then will open up to group discussion of the texts/films in detail.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No advance reading or viewing is required.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Have a look at literature courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature on the web at

Tutor Biographies
Richard Niland

Richard Niland has published widely on Joseph Conrad and a range of other 19th and 20th century writers. He taught for many years at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and is interested in the various intersections of literature, culture, politics, music and film in different global contexts.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HLT195

Mon+Wed+Fri, day, 10 Aug - 14 Aug '20

Duration: 3 sessions

Full fee: £69.00
Senior fee: £55.00
Concession: £42.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.