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Study Abroad

London Calling: A Creative Writing Seminar

                 Conducted in English

 “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

—Samuel Johnson

What richer city landscape and culture to inspire writing than London-town. This city where Shakespeare held court. William Blake’s on again, off again muse. Dickens’ social burden yet undying love. The city to spawn Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and James Bond.  It is a city of many guises, dominant across many historical eras, but still it remains the city, the place called London.  In this writing-based, thematic course, we will immerse in the “place” of London as we walk its physical, temporal, and cultural landscape.  We’ll dive into relevant writings across genres, exploring the London locales to inspire these works or where the writer lived or was his frequent haunt.   We will also delve into some of the significant films and principle music inspired by or situated in the city of London.  In the last fifty years, in fact, music more than anything has captured the sense of London in its time and place—songs from the likes of the Beatles to the Clash, the Sex Pistols and Blur, Elvis Costello and Robyn Hitchcock, and most recently Adele, Amy Winehouse, and P.J. Harvey.  Other writers considered in this course include: Samuel Pepys, Karl Marx, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, Graham Greene, Doris Lessing, China Mieville, and Zadie Smith.  Ultimately, through our study, experience, and imagining, each student will write their own sense of London, its place, its mystery, its secrets, its nightmares and dreams. 

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