Intensive seminar from April 19th to June 7th – Wednesday, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., room 1.26
Accident, Catastrophe, and Trauma in Literature and Film
Johannes Türk (Indiana University – Bloomington)
This seminar will investigate the relationship between literature and film through the figure of violent events such as accident, catastrophe, and trauma within the framework of interart studies. These vehement incidents imply the breakdown of order and play a crucial role in fictional representations. Although they are often taken to be hallmarks of modern experience or of the experience of modernity, they are constitutive themes since the onset of Western art. Catastrophē denotes both a convulsive event and a narrative turning point (it is also a synonym of metabolē) – a double meaning that points to its importance as a thematic reflection of plot formation. The concepts the course discusses will therefore serve as a pathway to a theory of narrative in different media. We will unfold the implications of these themes in order to address the different ways in which literature and cinema create meaning, and this will allow us to approach the very idea of literature and film. The extensive set of examples the course aims to analyze through exemplary chapters and sections reaches from the Bible through Montaigne to Franz Kafka, and from Buster Keaton to Brian de Palma and Pedro Almodóvar.