Honors | College of Arts and Sciences
E103 | 0048 | Pao

This course examines twentieth-century popular culture (movie, TV,
musical, stage, and even comic strip) versions of literary classics. We
will explore these remakes in terms of the socio-historical context in
which the adaptations are made. We will address the fact that most remakes
are movies--our is a visual and cinema was the invention of our
century--and we will ask ourselves the question "What aesthetic or
thematic changes does the alternation in the medium of expression
trigger?" Many of the literary "classics" were considered "popular" in
their time moreover. So, we will also be asking, "what constitutes a
classic?" and "what is popular culture?" and attempt to define the
relationship between the two.
We will be reading classics by Shakespeare King Lear and Romeo and Juliet,
Victor Hugo Les Miserables, Anton Chekhov  Uncle Vanya and comparing these
to Jane Smiley's  A Thousand Acres (novel and film), West Side Story, the
most recent film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, the cinematic and musical
Les Miserables, and the film Vanya on 42nd Street. Finally, we will be
considering the original folktale Beauty and the Beast and Disney's
animated film.
Students will write three four-page papers and a final exam. Regular
attendance and participation in class discussion is also a must. There
will be separately scheduled screenings of films.