The Narration of America in Literature and Film

Course at The University of Chicago Divinity School

This seminar examines, with specific attention to the genres of novel and film, the ways in which artistic form has given shape to ideas of “America.” Of particular interest will be the question of narrative as the source of mythic consciousness, and the hypothesis that, with the 20th century, film supersedes novel in this endeavor. We will study The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, or The Whale, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, and Little Women in comparison with D.W. Griffiths’ The Birth of a Nation, John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln.

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