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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NLIT 3606
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Cultural Studies
- Film & Video History, Theory & Criticism
In his stirring “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at Riverside Church in New York City in April 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed, “Somehow this madness must cease.” Despite a common belief concerning the “madness” of war, war has been one of the constants of human history. This course examines the genre of the war novel and the war film, considering lived experience in the context of culture, history and politics. We study classical narratives, war and anti-war films, art, poetry, memoirs, and letters from the front. In our reading of modern “war stories,” we explore constellations of madness and themes of gender and patriarchy, “love and war,” trauma and suffering, and individual and collective memory. The course takes a comparative perspective, covering American, French, German and Spanish works. Readings include Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms (1929), Manuel Rivas’ The Carpenter’s Pencil: A Novel of the Spanish Civil War (2002), Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas (1938), Marguerite Duras’ The War: A Memoir (1944), and memoirs and letters treating the recent Iraqi war. Films include Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion (1937) and Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour. Artworks include cubist, expressionist, and surrealist work.