The American West in literature and film

Course Dates: 09/06/20 - 28/07/20
Time: 19:45 - 21:15
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutors:

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.

Description

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 directors, the course examines how the West continues to allow America to project and reflect on its own experience.


Tutor biography
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.

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 both classic novels of the West, such as Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) and also lesser-known 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 discussing different perspectives on the experience of the West, such as Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cuttoff (2010).

Required Reading and Viewing:
You are not expected to buy copies of the films but watching them ahead of class is recommended for the purposes of participation in discussion. Excerpts will also be shown during class.

Texts
John Williams, Butcher’s Crossing (1960)
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985)

Films
John Ford, The Searchers (1956)
Arthur Penn, Little Big Man (1964)
Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Kelly Reichardt, Meek’s Cutoff (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?

The class will be held in 1½ -hour sessions over ten weeks. The first half hour will be an interactive talk on the text, writer/director, themes and contexts. The following hour will be a round table and small group discussion of the texts/films in detail.

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

Required Reading and Viewing:
Please bring a copy of the book under discussion that week:
Texts
John Williams, Butcher’s Crossing (1960)
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985)

As mentioned in No.2, you are not expected to buy copies of the films but watching them ahead of class is recommended for the purposes of participation in discussion. Excerpts will also be shown during class.

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

Have a look at literature courses under History, Culture and Writing on the web at www.citylit.ac.uk.

Reviews
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: HLT65

Tue, eve, 09 Jun - 28 Jul '20

Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)

Full fee: £119.00
Senior fee: £95.00
Concession: £52.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions? humanities@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2652

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