Studies in Literary History

“TV’s Lost Weekends,” trumpets a recent headline about our modern habit of binge-watching television shows. Commentators today debate the right way to watch TV; but how to read a book has been argued over for a long time. This course juxtaposes contemporary television with novels from the last 150 years in order to experiment with different ways to read and watch long-form narratives. We’ll look at historical changes: the end of serialized novels a century ago; the rise of on-demand television today. This course asks how such media formats affect our experience of a story and understanding of what it means for a narrative to have a “form.” Works will include Dickens’s Bleak House, Conrad’s Lord Jim, The Wire, True Detective, and others.