Rethinking the Classics: Contemporary Takes on the Canon
MET IS 345
This interdisciplinary course pairs well-known "classic" texts with more contemporary, perhaps lesser-known works that, in one way or another, respond to the earlier examples. The course focuses on traditions (literary, cinematic, and so forth) to emphasize genre and cultural history, and, as one of its goals, moves toward discussions of aesthetics. The course will examine the timeless quality of any work we consider a "classic" and also challenge the idea of timelessness by thinking about dialogues that exist between centuries and cultures and art. Contemporary examples will allow students to think of how other voices and perspectives (gender, ethnic, racial) may question the stability of what we often deem enduring or artistic. The course pushes beyond a simple comparison/contrast approach and mere discussions of influence. Instead, we will think through the implications (theoretical, political and aesthetic) of revision, adaptation, and the intertextual. Finally, the class asks students to formulate their own aesthetic criteria through a close reading of both primary texts and secondary critical essays which will supplement the readings, film screenings, and artwork.