Prof. Tom Whalen, Staatliche Akademie der Künste Stuttgart (Winter Term 2013/14)

"The American Crime Novel (1929-1969)"

Like evil, the roots of crime fiction run deep. Sophocles, Poe, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, Camus, Cela, and Nabokov are a few of the masters of crime narratives. This course covered American novels from the Depression era to the mid-1960s by writers such as Dashiell Hammett, Dorothy Hughes, Chester Himes, and Jim Thompson, in part with the goal of learning how to write a critical paper.

"The Short Fiction of Poe and Melville"

After the financial failures of Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851) and Pierre; or, The Ambiguities (1852), Melville turned to writing the short stories collected in The Piazza Tales (1856). Though artistic successes, once again his writing could not support him financially; 1857 would be his last year as a publishing fiction writer. Eight years earlier, Poe's short life and writing career came to an even more dismal close. This course analyzed key works by these two mid-19th century masters of short fiction, with special emphasis on their aesthetic and ethical complexities.

"Innovative Short Novels of the 1970s"

A declining decade, the 1970s – Nixon's resignation, Ford's pratfalls, Carter's collapse – but also a decade of striking literary innovations in the U.S. and internationally, especially in the short novel form. This course examined six innovative short novels from the 70s by such writers as Beckett, Calvino, Abish, Barthelme, Karapanou, and Frisch.

"The Films of Orson Welles"

This course provided a close examination of five films by Orson Welles (1915 – 85) – Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Lady from Shanghai (1948) Touch of Evil (1958), The Trial (1963) – focusing on Welles's career as a filmmaker within and outside Hollywood and the relationship between the films' cinematic elements and their themes.

The Instructor

Tom Whalen is a novelist, poet, critic, short story writer, translator and lecturer on film at the Staatliche Akademie der Künste in Stuttgart. He has written for Agni, Bookforum, Film Quarterly, The Hopkins Review, The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, Studies in Short Fiction, The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Washington Post and other publications. His recent books include the novels The Straw That Broke and The President in Her Towers.