What is the course about?
This class looks at different representations of the figure of the vagabond in 20th century literature and film, from Chaplin to Jean Genet. In the introductory session we will explore the historical backdrop to the emergence of the vagabond from the Elizabethan period, through picaresque literature, and up to the 19th century, before investigating a range of major 20th century texts and films that put a spotlight on the vagabond and his/her place in society in different national, political, artistic and economic contexts.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We consider a rich selection of works by American and European writers, including Chaplin, Orwell, Guthrie, and Genet, to scrutinize the shifting representation of the vagabond and artistic engagement with the subjects of travel and displacement in important texts and films. We will look at the following authors and film makers:
George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933)
Joseph Roth, The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1939)
Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory (1943)
Jean Genet, The Thief’s Journal (1949)
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (1980)
Film: Charlie Chaplin, The Tramp (1915)
Film: Jerry Schatzberg, Scarecrow (1973)
Film: Terence Malick, Days of Heaven (1978)
Film: Agnès Varda, Vagabond (1985)
Second-hand copies of paperbacks are very cheaply available and films are available to view online. See no.6 for further information.
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 subject of the vagabond in literature and film.
• Students should develop understanding of key literary and cinematic works on poverty and displacement, and knowledge of the thematic, historical, literary and political contexts of the vagabond 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 film.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The class will be held in 2-hour sessions over ten weeks. The first 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?
Just bring along a copy of the relevant text for discussion each week. Films and texts are either free online or cheaply available to view online and/or to borrow from local libraries. Excerpts will also be played in class. Prior viewing and reading is the only requirement.
Texts: George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933); Joseph Roth, The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1939); Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory (1943); Jean Genet, The Thief’s Journal (1949); Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (1980)
Films: Charlie Chaplin, The Tramp (1915); Jerry Schatzberg, Scarecrow (1973); Terence Malick, Days of Heaven (1978); Agnès Varda, Vagabond (1985).
All the films can be found on Youtube either for free or for a small rental fee of £2.50 (thought this is not mandatory), and the books can be got through abebooks.co.uk or amazon.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other courses in Literature and Film Studies under History, Culture and Writing on the website at www.citylit.ac.uk.