Seeing the Unseen in Novel and Film

This course will look at
looking by focusing on how systems of representation (i.e., the novel and film)
structure what we see, what we don’t see, and, ultimately, how we see. The
novel, a print literary genre, is a form of narrative that uniquely relies on
point of view. Film, a visual genre, also relies on perspective (the camera
lens or apparatus), but presents a very different concept of point of view,
because of its seeming objectivity. While our culture maintains a firm belief
in the objectivity of the real world (and in our own ability to see what’s
there), other cultures recognize the reality of invisible worlds. For
comparison, we will be focusing on West African “ways of seeing” in
novels and popular film.

The works we will be examining all deal
with—directly or indirectly—various aspects of seeing, looking, being seen,
visualization, and the unseen. They do so by incorporating these as themes or
narrative strategies, and/or by unconsciously omitting various other
perspectives. We will also be looking at how the various conventions of these
two genres develop those ideas and concerns. Finally, this course will direct
your attention toward how to write effectively about literature and film.

Course Requirements: attendance,
response papers; quizzes; two formal essays; a mid-term; a final exam;
participation in class discussions; group presentations.

(available at Revolution Books, 2626 S. King Street). IMPORTANT: the
first three works are available in various editions. In each case the Norton
Critical Edition is REQUIRED. It includes other texts (articles, background
materials) which will be assigned.

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Norton Critical Edition; Third Edition)

Jean Rhys, Wide
Sargasso Sea
(Norton Critical Edition)

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Edition; Fourth Edition)

Ben Okri, The
Famished Road