Summer 2013 2013

ENGS 282 -- FTS 272: Film Noir & Hardboiled Fiction
TWR / 9-12:45

David Jenemann Office Hours: by appointment Old Mill 319 Phone: 656-3313; e-mail: David.Jenemann@UVM.EDU What we’re doing and why: Both film noir, and the literary genre that inspired it, hardboiled fiction, have had a profound influence on the history of cinema and literature, our understanding of modernism, and contemporary concepts of subjectivity. In this class, we will examine some of the key literary practitioners of the hardboiled genre and their cinematic counterparts. Typically, we will discuss 2 each week along with some secondary sources. Please do your best to keep up as the summer will go by quickly, and it will be hard to get caught up if you get behind. Course Expectations Expectations and Grading: Students should have a good background in the language and concepts of film and/or literary theory and be of senior standing or higher.

1. Show up, do the readings, watch the movies, and talk about them. Your
attendance (on time) and intellectual engagement is mandatory and will make your experience – and that of your classmates – rewarding. The course texts are at times dense and difficult, and they will demand your attention and your labor. Come to class prepared to question and challenge what you read as well as to vent, rage, or pontificate as the need arises. Discussion of these texts is a central requirement of the class, and you can’t participate if you’re not here. Therefore, after two unexcused absences, I will deduct 1/3 of a letter grade for each subsequent non-appearance. (20% of final grade) 2. Presentations, Each session, 1-2 students will lead a discussion introducing the texts for the day. The presentations may engage the texts’ key themes, contextualize their importance, raise thorny issues, or put them in a historical context. Presentations should strive to synthesize the readings with the films we’re watching. Presenters should each prepare 15-20 minutes worth of material that stakes out a theoretical argument and be prepared to field questions from the class. I will meet with each student after their presentation to talk about any issues that arose during the exercise. (30% of final)

3. Final Paper. In order to get us thinking in more sustained terms about our theorists and how they might be applied to the films we watch, I would like you to write a final paper that addresses one of our authors (or groups of authors) and uses them to analyze a film. The films can be those watched in class or one of your choosing, provided you check it out with me first. Your paper should critically engage the texts and make an argument about the film based on your interpretation of the author(s) you choose. Papers should be 12-15 pages long for seniors and 17-20 pages for graduate students, in a reasonable font with one-inch margins, and stapled in the upper left corner. (50% of final grade).

Late papers will lose 1/3 of a letter grade for each day they are late and I will not comment on any late work.
A note on academic honesty: I expect and require that any assignment you hand in is your own work and that, when using any sources of information in the preparation of an assignment, those sources be adequately and diligently cited. I take the principles of academic honesty very seriously, and any violation of those principles as spelled out in the Student Handbooki will result in an “F” for the assignment and be forwarded to the Judicial Affairs office. Required Texts : Please Note— Note—many of these texts are available used and/or online

The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett Double Indemnity, James M. Cain The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith The Killer Inside Me, Ross Thompson Black Money, Ross MacDonald A Rage in Harlem, Chester Himes Hardboiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories, Leonard Cassuto More Than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts, James Naremore
All other required readings will be available on Blackboard (

Course Schedule
Week 1: Origins and the the “Big Three:” Three:” Hammett, Cain, and Chandler 5/21 5/21 Introductions/Course Business Cassuto, 1-66 Screen: The Maltese Falcon (Huston) 5/22 5/22 Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (all);

Screen: Double Indemnity (Wilder) 5/23 5/23 Cain, Double Indemnity Naremore, 1-40; Cain, Double Indemnity Screen: The Big Sleep (Hawks) Week 2 The Big Three (Continued); Other Noirs 5/28 5/28 Chandler, The Big Sleep Screen: The Third Man (Reed) Cassuto, 67-122 5/29 Naremore, 41-95 Screen, The Asphalt Jungle 5/30 Simmel, “The Metropolis and Mental Life” Screen The Talented Mr. Ripley Week 3 Other Noirs (Continued) 6/4 6/4 Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley Cassuto, 123-150 Screen: Detour 6/5 6/5 Naremore, 96-166 Screen: The Killer inside Me 6/6 6/6 Thompson, The Killer Inside Me Adorno, “The Position of the Narrator in the Contemporary Novel” Screen: Harper Week 4 What’s Old is New Again 6/11 6/11 Macdonald, Black Money Cassuto, 151-180 Screen: Out of the Past 6/12 6/12 Naremore, 167-219; 254-310 6/13 6/13 Himes, A Rage in Harlem

Cassuto, 203-238

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