T C 301 • New York City: A Multi-Cultural Literary PortraitW
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
This course will explore how New York City has fired the artistic imaginations of its many inhabitants, producing artworks that shape, construct, and interpret the capital of the world today. New York City, multi-cultural and deeply self-conscious of itself as a unique polis, constantly absorbs new ethnicities and evolves as a self-renewing urban configuration. The course will approach these changes both chronologically and thematically. It will move from Washington Irving's comic history of Dutch New Amsterdam up to contemporary Hispanic Harlem of Oscar Hijuelos, pass through Anglo Old New York of Edith Wharton and the white shoe society of Louis Auchincloss, emphasize the continuous Jewish-American presence, and interpret the unique contributions of three major ethnicities: the Irish, Italians, and African-Americans, the last of whom created the Harlem Renaissance. Recurrent themes to investigate include: New York vs. the rest of the country, the glamour of the city in contrast to its terrible poverty, urban loneliness and anomie vs. the attraction of the modernist city to newcomers, the central role of money and business, and the wonderment of the man-made environment. Post-colonial, feminist, and cultural-studies theories and methodologies will be introduced to illuminate many of the texts. We will also examine films, painting, sculpture, architecture, and music, including pieces from New York musicals.
About the Professor Professor Wolitz is a specialist in Twentieth-Century Comparative Literature and Media. He has published an opera as well as written libretti. He grew up in the milieu of Richard Tucker, Jan Pearce, and Rise Stevens. He was on stage at the Chicago Lyric Opera when Maria Callas caused a classic operatic scandal. Professor Wolitz has published books on Proust, French and Jewish Literature. He has also received one ACLS award and two Fulbright fellowships, the latter for research in Jerusalem during the 1991 Gulf War, where he attended an opera wearing a gas mask. He spent 2001-2002 living in Greenwich Village on a University Fellowship and working on theater. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale. He loves hunting for truffles in Dripping Springs and seeking out castles in Spain.
This course contains the substantial writing component. 18 pages total in 2 or 3-page increments Midterm examination
Washington Irving, History of New York (selections) Walt Whitman, selected poems Hart Crane, "Brooklyn Bridge" and other poems Maps of New York City Herman Melville, "Bartleby the Scrivener" P. Lopate, Writing New York Greenwich Village Reader Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence Louis Auchincloss, Portrait in Brownstone Saul Bellow, Seize the Day I.B. Singer, selected short stories Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York Nathaniel West, Miss Lonelyhearts Films: Woody Allen, Manhattan; The Producers, West Side Story, Midnight Cowboy, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Uncle Moses, Next Stop Greenwich Village