Detective fiction is one of the most popular forms of narrative, appealing to writers and readers with widely diverse interests and ideologies. This class investigates why this is so in the context of a wide range of detective fiction from around the world, exploring influential masterpieces and cult classics. The focus of this course will be on the development of the genre, the significance of the sites of criminal investigation, and on the varying characters and motives of the detectives, criminals and, just as importantly, writers and readers.
Alfred Hitchcock is perhaps most famous director of all time. While audiences loved the thrills, glamour and humour of his films, French critics and directors regarded him as a leading 'auteur', theoreticians discussed ways in which his work illustrated key concepts such as the 'male gaze', and biographers debated the personal sources of the darker side of a body of work that remains endlessly influential, with Sight and Sound proclaiming Vertigo the greatest film of all time in 2012. This course explores a range of approaches to a selection of Hitchcock's most important films.
We will explore the themes of poverty, politics, gender and ethnicity in London at the end of the 19th century/start of the 20th century through the eyes of writers of fiction, but also through the testimony of their non-fiction contemporaries - social investigators, government officials, journalists and philanthropists.
This course will introduce you to the rich, diverse contemporary African literary scene. We will study in detail three novels by African writers that have been published in the last ten years, alongside essays and short stories by African writers and thinkers across the continent. As we read the novels, we will look both at literary form and at the big ideas that the texts explore, such as history, gender and sexuality, the postcolonial context, diaspora, family and childhood. We will also learn about the context for publishing contemporary African literature, and we will think together about approaches to reading African writing.