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Core Curriculum Video Library Language and Arts
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Alice Walker [electronic resource]: Everyday Use

Maggie sees the old family quilt-an heirloom already promised to her-as something with practical utility as well as tradition. Her educated, social activist sister wants to hang it on the wall as folk art. With whom will their mother side? A study in class differences and the reclamation of Black history, Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use" is beautifully realized in this dramatization.
2005; 2003

Walt Whitman [electronic resource]

A self-styled sketch runs, "Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos." He could have added journalist, carpenter, nurse, and one of the greatest poets in English. This program presents a unique literary biography, tracing Whitman's childhood, various careers, and the evolution of the masterpiece that proved his lifelong work, Leaves of Grass. A collage of photos, paintings, and manuscripts accompanies excerpts of letters from Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as readings from sections of Leaves of Grass, such as "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "Native Moments.
2005; 2004

Emily Dickinson [electronic resource]

While many of her literary peers achieved notoriety, "the woman in white" remained virtually unknown-by choice. The self-imposed obscurity of Emily Dickinson is just one of many aspects of her life that this program explores. Blending daguerreotypes, paintings, manuscripts, excerpts from Dickinson's letters, and readings from nearly a dozen of her poems, this program presents the biography of one of America's most unique and influential voices in poetry.
2005; 2004

Wuthering Heights [electronic resource]: Critical Guide

Imagery and narrative style are examined in this critical analysis of Emily Bronte's classic novel of passion and death on the Yorkshire moors. Imagery in the novel springs directly from the wild landscape of Haworth-Bronte's birthplace. "The eternal rocks beneath" are compared to Catherine's love for Heathcliff; moths on the heather and flowering harebells reflect Catherine's peaceful resting place in "heaven. "Barrier" images of windows, doors, and gates convey the geographical, spiritual, and emotional isolation of the characters-their rising passion accompanied by narrative descriptions of wild streams and windy cliffs. An interesting segment explains Bronte's use of double narrators to move back and forth in time.
2005; 1992

Understanding Sir Gawain and the Green Knight [electronic resource]

Like Malory's Le Morte Darthur, the anonymously authored Sir Gawain and the Green Knight represents a watershed in the development of the Arthurian tradition. Drawing on insights from Nicholas Perkins, a specialist on medieval English literature and manuscripts at the University of Cambridge; Arthurian expert Kevin J. Harty, of La Salle University; and Helen Cooper, authority on medieval literature at the University of Oxford, this program explicates this complex alliterative poem, examines its treatment of familiar Arthurian themes, and illustrates why it is considered one of the finest romances of the Middle Ages. A Films for the Humanities & Sciences Production.
2005; 2002

Langston Hughes [electronic resource]: Salvation

I was saved from sin when I was going on 13. But not really saved. It happened like this. So begins this powerful dramatization of "Salvation," Langston Hughes' eloquent autobiographical story that illustrates how his aunt's well-meaning efforts to bring him into the spiritual fold resulted in a moral crisis. Calmly waiting for Jesus to appear to him in the hot, crowded church, young Langston's anticipation changes to confusion and disillusion when pressured to choose between being true to himself or fulfilling the expectations of the preacher, his aunt, and the rest of the congregation.
2005; 2002

Oedipus the King [electronic resource]

Sophocles often won the leading prize at the Dionysia, the principal dramatic festival of Athens; but Oedipus the King was a runner-up, winner of the second prize. Posterity, however, considers the play second to none. The play tells the beginning of the Oedipus saga, setting the stage and creating the characters who will continue the story to its conclusion in Antigone. With Michael Pennington, John Gielgud, and Claire Bloom.
2005; 1986

Charlotte Perkins Gilman [electronic resource]: Yellow Wallpaper

Touted as one of the first major feminist writers, Charlotte Perkins Gilman spent her life fighting to liberate women from the yoke of domesticity. This is a stunning BBC dramatization of Gilman's autobiographical account of a woman driven to madness by the repressive mores of Victorian culture. Stephen Dillon as the husband, John, and Julia Watson as the despondent heroine give stellar performances in this production directed by the BBC's John Clive.
2005; 1989

Joseph Conrad [electronic resource]: Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad's compelling novella, marked by an ominous tone and a sense of unspeakable menace, is a literary introduction to the savage 20th century. In this program, noted Conrad scholars Bruce Harkness, Frederick Karl, Jerome Meckier, and Dwight Purdy examine the author's life within the context of his times: the pervasive influence of his Polish background, the impact of the sense of isolation he experienced as a merchant marine, and the nightmarish conditions in King Leopold's Belgian Congo. Historic photos and maps help set the tale in the context of time and place. In addition, experts analyze Marlow, Kurtz, the Accountant, the Manager, and Kurtz's fiancé; discuss the importance of literary techniques such as juxtapositioning; interpret the meaning of Kurtz's last words and M [...]
2005; 1998

Geoffrey Chaucer [electronic resource]: Canterbury Tales

Written in the 14th century, The Canterbury Tales has stood the test of time as a landmark in the development of English literature. This innovative "frame story" owes its classic standing and impact to the diversity both of the narrators and of the styles of tales they tell. In this program, expert commentators Dr. Christiania Whitehead and Dr. Peter Mack, both of the University of Warwick, discuss the tradition of 14th-century poetry, the General Prologue, Chaucer's social grouping of the pilgrims and the themes they explore, and the poem as a reflection of Medieval English society. Dramatic reenactments of the pilgrims on horseback and numerous period images help bring the tales to life.
2005; 1998

Eudora Welty [electronic resource]: Worn Path

On a "bright, frozen day" in Mississippi, 95-year-old Phoenix Jackson makes her mythic journey into town for the medicine her grandson needs. Touching upon themes of family, love, aging, and poverty, this dramatization of Eudora Welty's classic story "A Worn Path" provides both a heroic image of the human spirit enduring against tremendous odds and a poignant commentary on the African-American experience. An interview with Welty herself by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley concludes the program.
2005; 1999

Zora Neale Hurston [electronic resource]: Heart With Room for Every Joy

I have the strength to walk my own path, no matter how hard, in my search for reality, and not cling to the splendid wagon of desperate illusions. A writer of novels, short stories, folktales, plays, and essays, Zora Neale Hurston combined a hunger for research and a desire to penetrate the deepest of popular beliefs with a truly exquisite narrative talent. This illuminating biography of Hurston-a compelling story of a free spirit who achieved national prominence yet died in obscurity-examines the rich legacy of her writings, which include Mules and Men, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tell My Horse, and Dust Tracks on a Road. Interviews with Lucy Anne Hurston, Zora's niece and author of the biography Speak, So You Can Speak Again, and with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W. E. B. DuBois Profe [...]
2006; 2005

John Steinbeck and the American Experience [electronic resource]

This program is a comprehensive portrait of John Steinbeck and the America he depicted, providing students with an appreciation of one of the 20th century's definitive literary voices. Incorporating historic events ranging in magnitude from the devastating Dust Bowl to poignant local histories, Steinbeck portrayed a nation ravaged by poverty and injustice, in which his characters, often drawn from real life, grapple with conditions and events beyond their control.
2005; 1990

Nathaniel Hawthorne [electronic resource]: Young Goodman Brown

Was there evil lurking in the gloomy New England woods the night that young Goodman Brown went on his secret errand? Or did he bring the evil with him, locked within his own heart? This program features an outstanding adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic tale-shot on location in historic Salem-that deftly captures the story's mystery and menace. In addition, a discussion of the life of Hawthorne and the Salem witch trials provides the historical context for this dark gem of American fiction.
2005; 1999

Greek Drama [electronic resource]: From Ritual to Theater

Why do plays well over two millennia old still speak to audiences today? This program traces Greek theater from ancient harvest rites to the golden age of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. Key scenes from Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, Medea, and Lysistrata show how these works remain relevant by exploring the timeless themes of honor, class, gender, sexuality, and politics. Essential concepts such as catharsis, hamartia, and the use of masks and a chorus are discussed. Scholarly commentary by Helene Foley of Barnard College, Jeffrey Henderson of Boston University, Princeton University's Robert Fagles, and Peter Meineck of NYU's Aquila Theatre Company emphasizes the vitality of classical drama and the essential role it played in the everyday lives of the ancient Greeks.
2005; 2001

Macbeth [electronic resource]: Critical Guide

In this program, the major themes of Shakespeare's most popular tragedy are investigated by noted experts. Analyzing key scenes from an award-winning film production, Professor Robert Smallwood of the Shakespeare Centre and Professor Stanley Wells of the Shakespeare Institute examine how the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth changes during the course of the play; how Banquo's character serves as a counterpart to Macbeth's; whether Macbeth's character is at all admirable; and whether the play confirms that all tragedies are uniformly pessimistic. Host Graham MacTavish, an actor with the Stratford Shakespeare Company, establishes context and background for the play.
2005; 1997

Shakespeare and His Theatre [electronic resource]: Globe

A fifth of London's population in the year 1600 were regular playgoers. Examination of the Globe Theatre shows where they stood, how the stage was constructed, and how the special effects so beloved by the audience were achieved, from thunder and lightning to fairies flying through the air and ghosts emerging from the earth. Rehearsals were minimal and there was no producer or director-just the play, the actors, and the audience of two to three thousand, which could be kept under control only by the interest of the play itself. The program points out that Shakespeare himself wrote the plays to be adaptable to different theaters when the company was on tour, and to different audiences.
2005; 1993