Popular Fiction on Page and Screen

Assoc. Prof Dr Zelma Catalan
Lectures: 30
Seminars: 30
ECTS credits: 6

The course aims to introduce students to contemporary critical and theoretical approaches to the study of popular fiction in its literary and screen versions. Students will be encouraged to investigate patterns of narrative sequence; character and behavioural stereotypes; verbal and visual stylistic devices and their specific rhetorical effects; gender issues and their representation in the verbal and the filmic text; linguistic and visual means and techniques of ideological legitimation of values. An ongoing comparative perspective will highlight the close relationship and interpenetration between 19th century “high” realist fiction and various forms of sensationalist literature, followed by the corresponding phenomena in the 20th and 21st century, with the appearance of the cinema and television. The material offered for critical examination includes samples from popular 19th century fiction, serialized film versions of classic realist texts (Ch. Dickens), 19th and 20th century detective literature and films (the Bond and Indiana Jones series), examples from romance literature and films (Harlequin). Attention is also paid to the sociology of the bestseller and the blockbuster movie. The approach has a pronounced student-centered emphasis: students are encouraged to apply the theoretical models offered in the lectures and the reading material to examples of popular fiction of their own choice and present their findings for reading, discussion and peer reviewing. Assessment is based on class participation and peer reviewing (25%), 1 oral presentation (25 %) and final exam (50 %). Students are required to have a background in the humanities and to have competence in reading and critical analysis of theory-oriented texts. The course is conducted is English.

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