Honors | Storytelling: Fiction, Film & Photography (HON)
H233 | 29000 | Ray Hedin
TuTh 11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
The premise of this course is that cross-media consideration of
different modes of storytelling can illuminate each particular mode
as well as the underlying nature of storytelling itself. This course
will begin with a consideration of the nature and role of stories
and storytelling: Why are stories so appealing? Why are they so
powerful? What do we accomplish by fashioning them, telling them,
and listening to or watching them? How and why do they work? We will
then consider three of the most important media for telling stories –
fiction, film, and photography – with emphasis both on the comment
elements among them and on their differences. What are the
characteristic narrative strategies of each medium? What are the
strengths and weaknesses of each medium in regard to storytelling?
What kinds of stories do each medium seem to convey most
effectively? If you have a particular story to tell, what would you
gain and lose by choosing one medium over another? What is gained
and lost by translating a story from one medium to another?
We will investigate these questions by considering some of (what I
consider) the best examples in each medium. Students will write
brief responses to the assigned materials; these responses will be
incorporated into class discussion. Students will also write three
papers, one each on specific aspects or examples of storytelling in
the three media. Students will then choose one of the three media
to write a longer essay on. There will be no exams. I am still
deciding on the course materials. We will concentrate (though not
exclusively) on widely recognized examples in each mode in order to
consider the basis for these cultural judgments: e.g. The Things
They Carried and Interpreter of Maladies (fiction); The Godfather
(dramatic film) and My Fair Lady or Music Man (musicals);
photographers such Robert Frank, Nicholas Nixon, and James Nachtwey.
Students interested in the course should email me during the summer
for a final list (email@example.com).