College Of Arts and Sciences | Cloak and Dagger
E103 | 0034 | Bondanella


Corequisite discussions (Choose one): 
0035 9:05-9:55a R 0036 10:10-11:00a R 0037 8:00-8:50a R 0038 9:15-9:55a F 0039 10:10-11:00a F 0040 1:25-2:15p F

REQUIRED FILM VIEWINGS ON WEDNESDAY EVENINGS. Introduces students to one of the most basic concepts of literary criticism - literary genres - with specific reference to a specific popular genre, 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 term "thriller" is often unfortunately employed to denigrate books relegated to this generic category. The primary focus of my course will be to teach students how to understand the "rules of the game," 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 the cinema. 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 but also those associated primarily with "serious" literature (the epic, tragedy, the sonnet, etc.).

Students will be asked to read the detective fiction of Poe, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, and Umberto Eco. We shall also examine several detective films in the film noir tradition, The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. For the spy genre, we shall read works by John Le Carré and examine two James Bond films - one before the end of Communism and one taking place after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Students will be asked to take a number of in-class quizzes and to write 3 brief critical essays plus discussion in groups.