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TV has changed a lot, and it seems like a good time to figure out how. We will watch full seasons of landmark shows (Game of Thrones, Girls, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos) in order to answer a series of questions: How does the new television differ from older network shows? What are its distinctive storytelling techniques? What, in particular, is the appeal of complex and long-form narrative? Is modern television, as often claimed, a reinvention of the nineteenth-century novel? Which features does it take over from the novel and do they work the same way on the screen as they do on the page? But then what is television’s relationship to the film genres that it also inherits? What happens to a gangster movie when you extend it out to eighty-six hours? What’s the difference between a zombie movie and a really long zombie movie? And how is it that the new television has reclaimed the word binge, which used to be associated with broken diets and heavy drinking?
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
informal weekly writing; class participation; midterm and final essays, 30 pages total
a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam. Do contact Prof. Thorne if you would like to take the class without the prereq.
ENGL Literary Histories C