Comparative Literature | Studies in Film and Literature
C790 | 26371 | Prof. Eyal Peretz


Department of Comparative Literature- Fall, 2007

Studies in Film and Literature
Topic: DICKENS, CHAPLIN, AND THE MELODRAMA OF DEMOCRACY
CMLT-C 790/26371   11:15-12:30   MW

above class meets with CMLT-C 310

Dickens and Chaplin are two of the most popular artists of
democratic modernity.  They are both profound critics and satirists
of this modernity as well as great visionaries of a new humanity, of
a new people, that it seems to call for and which it might make
possible. This class will attempt to articulate the significance of
their art, an art that has often been defined as melodramatic,
through an examination of its implication with the adventure of
modern democracy. We will ask what kind of “things” their works
(respectively novels and films) try to be, what kind of activity
they try to perform, in the context of the current situation in
which humanity finds itself.

Topics to be examined: the significance of the modern novel; the
birth of the medium of film; popular culture and the question of a
new, democratic, people; politics and art in modernity; the rise of
melodrama.

Readings and viewing include: Besides Dickens and Chaplin; Plato,
Tocqueville, Heidegger, Freud, Adorno, Benjamin, Arendt, Cavell.