Cloak and Dagger

COLL C103 — Spring 2022

Marco Arnaudo
JH 124
Days and Times
TR 11:30 A - 12:20 P, plus discussion section of your choice
Course Description

Fulfills GenEd A&H credit

This course introduces students to one of the most basic concepts of literary criticism - literary genres - with specific reference to a popular genre such as the so-called "thriller." "Thriller" is a term that came into use in the late nineteenth century and was applied not only to the detective story, the most famous examples of which were A. Conan Doyle's tales about Sherlock Holmes, but also to a closely related literary genre, the spy novel, that also attained great popularity during the period.The primary focus of this course will be to teach students how to understand the conventions and traditions that govern any literary genre, with specific reference to the "thriller" as exemplified by selected detective and spy stories in both literature and film. Attention will be paid to critical concepts such as style, form, structure, point of view, and implied reader, in order to provide students with analytical tools that will be valuable in the years to come. It is my hope that students will apply the lessons they learn about genre in this class to any literary genre, not only genres typical of popular culture.

Readings will include the detective fiction of Poe, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt. We will also examine several detective-mystery movies, including the recent Sherlock Holmes (2009), and the classic masterpieces of the noir tradition, including The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. For the spy genre, we will read the pre-Cold War novel A Coffin for Dimitrios, a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, and a Cold War spy novel by John Le Carré. In addition, we will screen two very different James Bond films: one made during the height of the Cold War, and Martin Campbell's Casino Royale (2006).