Literature and Film of World War II: Homefront Narratives (Fall 2020)
Taking a pan-European perspective, the course examines quotidian, civilian experiences of war during a conflict of unusual scope and duration. Considering key works of wartime and postwar fiction and film alongside diaries and memoirs, we explore the kinds of literary reflection war occasioned, how civilians experienced the relationship between history and everyday life (both during and after the war), children’s experience of war, and the ways that homefront, occupation, and concentration camp memories shaped postwar avant-garde aesthetics. Novels and autobiographical fiction by Elio Vittorini, Anna Seghers, Irène Némirovsky, Elizabeth Taylor, Georges Simenon, Jirí Weil, Jorge Semprún, Miron Bialoszewski, Christa Wolf. Films by Humphrey Jennings, Andrzej Munk, Theo Angelopoulos, Péter Forgács, István Szabó, Bill Douglas, Kevin Brownlow. Diaries and memoirs by Victor Klemperer, Anne Frank, Sarah Kofman. We also consider poetry, photography, and art.