Narratives of Suspense

Spring 2016-2017

26901 / 46901

Esther Peters

This course examines the nature and creation of suspense in literature and film as an introduction to narrative theory. We will question how and why stories are created, as well as what motivates us to continue to reading, watching, and listening to stories. We will explore how particular genres (such as detective stories and thrillers) and the mediums of literature and film influence our understanding of suspense and narrative more broadly.  Close readings of primary sources will be supplemented with critical and theoretical readings. Literary readings will include work by John Buchan, Mary Shelly, Arthur Conan Doyle, Feodor Dostoevsky, Vladimir Nabokov, Graham Greene, Italo Calvino, and J.M. Coetzee. We will also explore Alfred Hitchcock’s take on 39 Steps and Robert Bresson’s Gentle Creature.  With theoretical readings by: Roland Barthes, Viktor Shklovsky, Erich Auerbach, Paul Ricoeur, and others. (B, H)