- Marco Arnaudo
- Days and Times
- TR 1:50P - 2:40P
- Course Description
Lectures online. Choose one in-person Friday discussion section.
This course introduces students to one of the most basic concepts of literary criticism - literary genre - 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, but also to a closely related literary genre, the spy novel. 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 our case study. Attention will be paid to critical concepts such as style, form, structure, point of view, and historical context, in order to provide students with valuable analytical tools. Students will learn lessons they can apply to any literary genre, and even to communications outside of fiction.
Readings will include the detective fiction of Poe, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt. We will also examine classic masterpieces of the noir film 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).
Image: Public domain (Two putti, as seen in the painting Sistine Madonna by Raphael)