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    Vassar College
  Feb 19, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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GRST 186 - Violence in Ancient Literature and American Cinema

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
(Same as MEDS 186 ) “I would guess that the vast majority of the people who are seeing it … are taking it for kicks and thrills and are coming away from it palpitating with a vicarious sense of the enjoyment of war.” So writes New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther about the 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, but could his words not equally apply to the grisly war violence of the Homeric Iliad? In other words, why are violent poems like the Iliad and Aeneid typically exempt from the kinds of criticisms that are leveled at cinematic violence? In this course we explore questions of taste and representation by putting works of ancient literature, especially ancient epic, in dialogue with landmarks of American screen violence like ScarfaceBonnie and Clyde and Psycho. In addition to formal analysis of cinematic and literary texts, we  investigate the impact of gender, genre, medium, audience and production context on the ways that violence is depicted. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate on their own cinematic adaptation of a scene of ancient literary violence. The department.

Two 75-minute periods.

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