Understanding the Arts: Literature and Cinema

Open to students entering grade 9 or 10 in the fall
I - June 25–July 13, 2018
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10 – 4:00 p.m.
Peter Conolly-Smith , Gabriel Wilson

“I have gained analytical skills and become a more mature student.” — Daniela Pierro

“A fantastic survey of literature and film.” — Clare Maleeny

Course Description

A two-course curricular option for students wishing to develop their appreciation of film and literature. Both courses meet daily, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon.

What is Great Literature?
Peter Conolly-Smith

Students attempt to answer this question by examining a number of literary works, seeking to determine what differentiates great literature from mere entertainment. They analyze selected scenes from Shakespeare and examples of his poetry, as well as works by writers such as Keats, Shelley, Emerson, Poe, Melville, Stevenson, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Through readings, class discussion, film clips, and short essays, students enhance their ability to write, speak, and think effectively about literature.

The Art of Moving Pictures
Gabriel Wilson

In this course students explore film as a serious mode of artistic expression and a rich source of cultural information while taking into account its role as a phenomenally popular form of entertainment.  Students learn the basics of film language through brief lectures, discussions, and screenings of a variety of film clips, short films, and feature films. Each class gives participants the opportunity to compare and contrast the cinematic elements at work. Students come away having increased their visual literacy and having heightened their knowledge of the methods filmmakers use to tell stories visually. They gain full comprehension that cinema is an art of “moving pictures.”  Students keep a daily film journal and work on final projects which are presented orally with film clips (readily available) to support their explorations and discoveries.  


Peter Conolly-Smith

Peter Conolly-Smith received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. He has worked extensively in fiction and documentary film and teaches history, culture, and film at CUNY-Queens College, where he received the 2009 President's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He is the author of Translating America (Smithsonian Press, 2004), as well as numerous academic articles on ethnicity, culture, film and history.

Gabriel Wilson

Gabriel Wilson is a director and cinematographer living in New York City. He has taught film at both Columbia University and the School of Visual Arts. His films have screened at numerous festivals including the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival Boston, the River Run International Film Festival, and the Urbanworld Film Festival. He has also worked extensively both directing and shooting advertisements for brands such as Quicksilver, Harper Collins, and Mashable. Gabriel holds a BFA in English from Tufts University and a Masters in directing from the School Of Visual Arts.

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.