ENG INTC 1005H: Parisian Views: Spectacle, Reality, and the Invention of Mass Culture
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“Interpreting the Creative” (INTC) courses within the Yeshiva College core curriculum provide students with foundational tools for appreciating, understanding, and interpreting works from various domains of the creative arts—literary, visual, musical theatrical and other performing arts. INTC courses teach students to: ---Understand how creative works shape and enhance our perception and understanding of ourselves and the worlds we live in. ---Apply multiple interpretive frameworks to analyze and compare different kinds of creative works. ---Write and defend interpretations of or arguments about works of art. In some courses, students will also create works of art or engage in the creative enterprises they are studying. ___ This course will consider the ways that nineteenth-century Paris inspired artistic creation through its cultivation of a variety of new ways of seeing, which led in turn to new forms of entertainment. The artistic products of this rich and imaginative time were in many ways responsible for contemporary mass culture and our lingering fascination with the real. To explore this fascinating history to our own cultural tastes, we will employ a host of colorful characters as tour guides: from Balzac’s young student, who abandons legal studies for a Parisian education of another sort, to Baudelaire’s flâneur, who invented a whole new way of wandering the city, to Zola’s naïve young woman cruising the newly invented department store. But we will not limit ourselves to the strictly literary: in addition to reading novels and poetry, we will consider the overlapping ways through which painting, art criticism, photography, early cinema, architecture and various kinds of public exhibits addressed the feelings of excitement and anxiety around the new points of contact that the modern French city offered. Juxtaposing poems with paintings, novels with photographs, we will compare the different idioms through which these art forms attempted to respond to a shared set of questions. As we consider the panoply of new desires, seductions, and fascinations for which Paris itself seemed wholly responsible, we will also not fail to notice the deep and lasting impact of those practices on our current modes of entertainment and pleasure… from cinema to celebrity culture to reality TV. ___ Course objectives: The primary goals of this course are for you to learn how to think and write critically about literature and painting, and to learn to recognize film, photography, architecture and cities themselves as aesthetic and cultural objects that can also be analyzed and interpreted. In addition, you will: Develop basic tools for cultural criticism Learn to interact critically with and reflect upon certain aspects of your own city, New York Explore the origins of mass and consumer culture Learn about Parisian urban history and gain understanding of the city’s shifting landscape and architecture Learn about Parisian cultural history and gain understanding of its strong associations with modern art and culture Become familiar with some key French literary texts, paintings and artistic genres that have shaped modern literature and culture Learn key conceptions of the modern
Mesch, Rachel. (2021, January), Syllabus, ENG INTC 1005H: Parisian Views: Spectacle, Reality, and the Invention of Mass Culture, Yeshiva College, Yeshiva University.
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