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When compared with the approximately five hundred year history of printing-press culture, and the thousand year histories of manuscript cultures, the hundred year history of film seems remarkably brief. And yet, despite the relative newness of the technology of the cinema, moving images have quickly become the central conveyors of narrative in our culture. John Harrington explains, "While other art forms have taken centuries to develop, the span of a single lifetime has witnessed the birth and maturity of film. It seems axiomatic that such rapid development has occurred because of, not in spite of, the contributions of other art forms" (ix). To understand film, then, it is necessary to understand the way literary expression in particular has informed, extended, shaped, and limited it. Likewise, twentieth century literary expression reveals the influence of the cinema in its structures and styles, themes and motifs, and philosophical preoccupations.

English 373: Film and Literature is designed to introduce students to the study of the relationships between literary and cinematic forms. Units on the novel and film, the theatre and film, and poetry and film, explore issues pertaining to each medium as well as larger questions relating to adaptation, translation, and interpretation. A unit on a "film novel" — a literary work that mimics film structures, motifs, and themes — further refines the investigation into the intersections of these two art forms. Students have the opportunity to study several primary texts in detail, and supplement their readings of a range of film and writing styles with readings drawn from representative literary and film theorists and historians.

The following linked web pages will complement students' work through the English 373 course package, which includes primary texts (novels and films), a Reading File, Student Manual, and Study Guide. These web pages are not intended to replace library research; students are urged to evaluate both the truthfulness and the usefulness of all non-refereed materials on the internet. Nevertheless, by working through these pages, and browsing the recommended linked web sites, students can develop and refine their understanding of the ways film and literature can be written about, talked about, and represented.

Works Cited

Harrington, John. Film And/As Literature. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1977.