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Fiction literature and movies as a primary source

General data

Course ID: 3104-M2OS-17GSZEL-OG Erasmus code / ISCED: 08.3 / (0222) History and archaeology
Course title: Fiction literature and movies as a primary source Name in Polish: Zajecia okołoseminaryjne. Literatura piękna i film w warsztacie historyka
Department: Institute of History
Course groups: General university courses
General university courses
General university courses in the humanities
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
view allocation of credits
Language: Polish
Type of course:

elective courses
general courses

Short description:

The seminar course is focused upon methodological aspects of using poetry, novels and feature movies in historical analysis as primary sources.Theoretical works will be used as practical tool, but mainly the course will discuss particular examples of literature and movies, documentary films included.

Full description:

The main subject of the course is the question how primary sources of a fictional character – like novels and feature movies – could be used by historians in their analysis. Can such sources be regarded as reliable sources at all? What kind of critical questions should a historian formulate when using such sources? Is poetry useful as a source, or is it only a realistic novel that can be used by a historian? The same problems and issues appear when dealing with movies, especially feature (fiction) movies. But what about the documentary? Is a reliable and true primary source? Or an artistic creation of the director? The above questions will be asked when dealing with all examples of literature and movies. As an introduction to the course we’ll discuss methodological and theoretical problems. All movies and novels are only my proposition, I’m open to any new examples.


Hannu Salmi, Nineteenth-Century Europe. A Cultural History, Polity 2008.

A. Aldgate, Cinema and History. British Newsreel and the Spanish Civil War, London 1979.

S. Kracauer, From Caligari to Hitler. A Psychological History of the German Film, Princeton 1947.

Image as Artifact. The Historical Analysis of Film and Television, red. J. E. O`Connor, Malabar, Fl. 1990

Franco Moretti-Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900-Verso (1998)

Learning outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, the student is introduced to the basic knowledge how to deal with fictional primary sources like feature movies and belle lettre. Upon completion of the course, the student is familiar to the methodological aspects and is capable to analyse various examples of the above mentioned sources.

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

The main conditions of evaluation are:

The student’s presence at the meeting (max. three days of absence)

The student’s activity during the course

A proper level of knowledge during the discussion

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
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