“London in Literature and Song” provides an opportunity for English and non-majors alike to travel to London in order to become fully immersed in a culture that has produced art that ranges from the high modernist discourse of T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf to the songs and films of Frank Sinatra. Professor Pozorski’s English 458 course will fulfill upper-level literature requirements for English majors and minors. The course will feature close readings of six modern British texts related to World War I and will consider the ways in which the city of London serves as an important backdrop for this history.Professor Gigliotti’s English 213, for general education literature credit, will examine the effects of the musical and film work of three quintessentially American artists, Frank Sinatra, daughter Nancy, and ex-wife Ava Gardner in London, the center of Old World tradition that, in the 1960s (thanks to the Beatles), quickly became THE center of a new youth culture.
Pozorski’s class will focus on the centrality of World War I to the literary landscape of 20th century British literature. Due to its traumatic nature, the events of World War I have captured the global literary imagination in canonical texts that seem to perpetually revisit the scene of violence, partly in an attempt to explain the Great War’s causes and effects. Literature set in London is an exemplary case of this perpetual return to the scene: whether treating the effects of war directly (as in T.S. Eliot’s poetry, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and Sigmund Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle) or somewhat less directly (in the more contemporary texts such as Ian McEwan’s Saturday and Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime), the shattering effects of World War I nonetheless seem to underwrite canonical literature of London published between 1920 and 2005.
Meanwhile Gigliotti’s class will offer a study of, as it were, the American Rat Pack-er in London. While Frank Sinatra’s long career is linked mostly with a variety of American cities ranging from Hoboken and the Big Apple to Chicago and Vegas, Sinatra’s artistic presence was worldwide. And, despite the singer’s primary association with his mining of the Great American Songbook, he rarely met a great song he didn’t try to tackle. ENG 213: The London Sinatra(s) will examine – through the lenses of British scholars Karen McNally (film) and Chris Rojek (sociology) – Sinatra’s artistic production in London itself, including his 1962 collaboration with British composer/arranger Robert Farnon, Frank Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain; the 1967 thriller The Naked Runner; and the 1970 charity concert at Royal Festival Hall. The class will also examine his daughter’s 1966 Nancy in London album and his expatriate ex-wife Ava Gardner’s 1970 film The Devil’s Widow, based on the traditional Scottish border ballad “Tam Lin.” Additionally, Playing Sinatra, by British playwright Bernard Kops, will offer a dispassionate look at isolated London siblings obsessed with the singer.
Through visiting cultural icons of the city (the Tate Gallery, British Library, British Museum, et al.), touring London’s musical heritage, as well as attending such theatrical events as Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mousetrap, The School of Rock, and Guys and Dolls, this program will provide students with the opportunity to become immersed in London’s culture, as well as the literature and music it produced.
The cost of the travel program includes round-trip airport transfers in the U.S. and abroad, economy-class international airfare, multiple-occupancy accommodations, some meals, ground transportation, theater tickets and most entrance fees. All personal expenses (i.e., most meals, medical, souvenirs, laundry, telephone, etc.) are at additional cost. CCSU reserves the right to make changes to the program itinerary at any time, with or without notice.