- The School
- Tutors and Officers
- Departments & Programmes
- Staff A-Z
- Who should I contact ...?
- Prospective Students
- Start of Term
- Undergraduate Degrees
- SELCS Writing Lab
- Masters degrees
- Research degrees
- Postdoctoral Research
- ELCS modules
- Personal tutoring
- Student resources
- Staff intranet
Cold War Fantasies 1945-1989
Course code: ELCS4014.
Course unit value: 0.5.
Term: taught in Term 1.
This course examines utopian visions and fears of global annihilation and assesses their impact on public and private life during the cold war era. We will examine how expectations of thermonuclear war gave a new sense of urgency to utopian literature and thought. For many nuclear physicists, politicians and writers, the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were of portentous significance: a radically new world order was not only desirable but inevitable, since the only alternative to enlightened world government was certain death. We will then look at novels and films that unmask the naïve confidence and rigid gender roles of early cold war fiction. Fantasies of heroic masculinity will be compared to more subtly pessimistic and satirical works, which explore the anxieties and paradoxical hopes of a generation living and writing “in the shadow of the bomb”.
Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 3000 words each
Tutor: Dr Florian Mussgnug.
Set Texts and Films:
- Dexter Masters and Katharine Way (eds), One World or None: A Report to the Public on the Full Meaning of the Atomic Bomb (1946)
- Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End (1953)
- Pat Frank, Alas Babylon (1959)
- John Wyndham, The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
- Marlen Haushofer, Die Wand (1963), transl. Shaun Whiteside, The Wall (1991)
- Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Roadside Picnic (1971), transl. by Antonina W. Bouis (1977)
- Bernard Malamud, God's Grace (1982)
Günter Grass, Die Rättin (1986), transl. by Ralph Manheim, The Rat (1987)
- Stanley Kramer, On the Beach (1959)
- Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
- Bryan Forbes, The Stepford Wives (1975)
- Nicolas Roeg, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
- Jimmy T. Murakami, When the Wind Blows (1986)
- Todd Haynes, Far from Heaven (2002)
- Boyer, Paul, By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1994)
- May, Elaine Tyler, Homeward Bound: American Families In The Cold War Era (New York: Basic Books, 1990)
- Seed, David, American Science Fiction and the Cold War (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002)
- Weart, Spencer R., Nuclear Fear: A History of Images (Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London: Harvard University Press, 1988)