Spring 2011

HUMS 624
(Re-)Telling Stories: Studying Narrative in Fiction and Film

Fitzpatrick,Joseph J.

01/24/2011 - 04/29/2011
Tuesday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Allbritton Center 004

What do we do when we tell stories? How do we make sense of the stories we hear? How do the stories we have heard determine the stories we tell?

This course will pose and explore these questions through three bodies of texts: literary narratives (predominately 19th and 20th century fiction); popular films; and narrative theory (from the French, Russian, and American traditions). We will focus on two stories or narrative scaffolds that appear over and over in the stories we read and see and that provide particular challenges for their narrators and audiences. The first of these is the story of star-crossed lovers (e.g. Romeo and Juliet), a story that is fated always to end in death; the second is the detective / mystery / crime narrative that begins from a death and moves toward a resolution that we cannot predict (e.g. Sherlock Holmes mysteries). Drawing from a range of literary theorists who have tried to understand the workings of narrative across media, we will trace these two recurring stories as they are re-told (and intertwined) in literary and popular texts.

Sources to be studied include:

Written texts:

Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

Murders in the Rue Morgue (Edgar Allen Poe)

A Study in Scarlet (Arthur Conan Doyle)

The Turn of the Screw (Henry James)

The Good Soldier (Ford Madox Ford)

Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)


The Others (Alejandro Amenabar)

eXistenZ (dir. David Cronenberg)

Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan)

Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Lolita (dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Topics to be covered include: the structural functions of beginnings and endings in narratives; problems of reliability and perspective with regard to the narrator; the role of memory in creating (and limiting) narratives; intertextuality, citation, and adaptation; representations of time and space; and the circulation of desire among characters and within the act of reading or viewing.

Required coursework will include two shorter essays (5-6 pp.) and one longer essay (10-12 pp.)

This course will be cross-listed as ARTS 624 and HUMS 624. Please take care to enroll in the proper section of the course.

This course is open to auditors.

The deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund for this course is Friday, January 28 at 5:00 pm. Please visit our website for a complete list of registration and withdrawal dates for this session.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
HUMS 624

Joseph Fitzpatrick (B.A. Harvard University, Ph.D. Duke University) is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the College of Letters. His research is situated at the intersection of translation studies, narrative theory, and literary studies.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 9

Texts to purchase for this course:
Bronte, Emily, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, Oxford World's Classics Edition

Dostoevsky, Fyodor, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, Vintage Classics Edition, Pevear and Volokhonsky translation

Ford, Ford Madox, THE GOOD SOLDIER, Oxford World's Classics Edition

Nabokov, Vladimir, LOLITA, Vintage Classics Edition

Reading materials are available at BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 Broad Street, Middletown 860-685-7323 Order your books online.

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Contact glsinquire@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. 
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