Spring 2021

The City in Literature and Early Film

Listed in: English, as ENGL-485  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-438


Lise Shapiro Sanders (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 485 and FAMS 438) This course examines the role of the city in shaping modern experience. We will study literary works by Charles Baudelaire, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and Virginia Woolf alongside a number of early films, reading these texts against historical and critical discussions of everyday life in the urban environment. Among other themes, we will take up the debate over “flanerie” as a spatial and social practice, investigating the class and gender dynamics of urban and cinematic spectatorship. Our conversations will be shaped by an awareness of the city as a geographically locatable space to be mapped and traversed, but also as a site for imaginary projections of individual and collective experience. In addition to a short creative assignment, two formal essays are required: a midterm paper (5-7 pages) involving close textual analysis of a primary source; and a final research paper (12-15 pages), with a draft to be revised in conjunction with a peer review workshop.

Requisite: A 200-level foundations course in English or equivalent. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Sanders.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to junior and senior ENGL and FAMS majors.


Attention to Research, Attention to Writing


2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021