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LIT 492-0 : Special Topics: Hitchcock and Psychoanalysis


Description

Alfred Hitchcock, in his long career, arguably brought cinematic language to its most sophisticated level; and not coincidentally, he was greatly influenced by both surrealism and psychoanalysis. As I wrote in my book on Breaking Bad, “ Alfred Hitchcock . . .orchestrates the system of looks (via framing, editing, camera movement) in such a way as to produce an uneven distribution of knowledge among the various characters and the spectator. Not only does this create Hitchcock’s trademark suspense, but it also produces a cinematic world in which every action is potentially deceptive or revelatory and thus must always be interpreted. This move toward infinite interpretation (“terminable or interminable”) is what aligns Hitchcock’s work so neatly with psychoanalysis . . .” In this course, each week we will explore one basic psychoanalytic concept in conjunction with one Hitchcock film for which that concept provides an exemplary point of entry to understanding. The weekly readings will be a mix of psychoanalytic essays, and film scholarship on the works, especially focusing on the queer theoretical approaches to Hitchcock’s work. Weekly topics and films will include: 1. The unconscious / Shadow of a Doubt; 2. The symptom / Rope; 3. Identification / Fantasy: Rear Window; 4/ The Imaginary / Rebecca; 5/ The Symbolic / North by Northwest; 6/ The real / Psycho; 7/ The death drive / Vertigo; 8/ Jouissance / The Birds; 9/ The sexual relation / Marnie.

(This course may count towards the Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Literature and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count as an elective or for literature credit in the Master of Arts in Writing and Fine Arts Prose and Poetry programs.)

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