London Calling - Depictions and Images of London in Literature, Music and Film

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“You might laugh, you might frown / Walkin’ round London town.” (Lily Allen, LDN)

Great Britain’s capital is one of the most famous cities of the world; it attracts millions of people every year, because of its history, culture and liveliness. Who hasn’t heard of Big Ben, Notting Hill, or the Windsors? But what makes this metropolis so special? The course will deal with various texts – both fiction and nonfiction – in order to try to get behind the fascination and importance of London. Starting in the 17th century with the diary of Samuel Pepys and working our way to the futuristic London of Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, we will encounter hymns to the city, as well as depictions of a corrupt and morally dubious society. Additionally, there will be a comparison with another well-known metropolis as to determine London’s uniqueness – or is it not that special after all? We will also deal with current problems such as the youth gang killings and focus especially on the people who inhabit London: In how far do their lives affect the city and vice versa? Is there a difference between how men perceive London and how women react to and interact with it?

Students should get hold of a copy of the following texts: Helen Fielding Bridget Jones’s Diary and Meera Syal Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee. A Reader with additional material will be made available by the start of the semester (copyshop below ‘Sonnendeck’).

Link to EWS