ENG399 201704 Undergraduate

Term: 
Summer 2018
Course: 
ENG 399
Applies To: 
Undergraduate
Sections: 
Title: 
Special Topic: Crime Noir
Instructors: 

Brendan O'Kelly

Brendan O'Kelly profile picture
  • Title: Career Instructor
  • Phone: 541-346-5935
  • Office: 206 PLC
  • Office Hours: Winter term: Email for Advising appt.
Department Section Description: 

This class will focus on crime noir, a somewhat loosely defined genre of fiction, comic, and film. Unlike detective fiction, hardboiled crime noir centers on criminal protagonists, often of the "career" variety. Tracing the trajectory of such a genre from its inception in 1920s hardboiled pulp fiction from publications such as Black Mask through the 20th century and into the present reveals the philosophical stances, the cultural and social prejudices, and the economic and historic contexts from which the texts and films emerge.

We will explore the formal and structural spectrum of crime noir through a wide range of novels, films, and graphic texts. Works we'll study could include, for instance: foundational serialized hardboiled novels by writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Paul Cain, midcentury roman noirs from Dorothy B. Hughes, Horace McCoy, and Jim Thompson, and contemporary crime fiction from James Ellroy; classic film noir from directors including Anthony Mann, Frank Tuttle, and Stanley Kubrick, 1970s genre films from directors such as Gordon Parks Jr. and Sam Peckinpah, and abstractly stylized contemporary crime films from directors such as Michael Mann and Nicolas Winding Refn; and graphic texts from EC Comics from artists such as Johnny Craig and Reed Crandall and Drake Waller's 1950 "picture novel" It Rhymes with Lust to Frank Miller's neo-noir Sin City, and the recent turn to crime noir in works such as David Lapham’s Stray Bullets and Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip's Criminal.

Fulfills: 

Major I: C-Literature 1789-Present

Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.

Major II: C-Literature 1789-Present

Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.

Comics Studies Minor

Comics Studies Minor courses present students with an international, historical, and critical perspective on the art of editorial cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, and how these forms communicate, inform, and emotionally engage their audiences.  Students will be required to think outside of accustomed disciplinary boundaries, and to analyze and experiment with the interaction of both visual and linguistic systems of meaning.