NOTE: High School Literature: Classics and Film Adaptations 1 is NOT a prerequisite for this class. They simply cover different texts.

The literary “canon” is a subject of much debate — and it should be. What we decide to elevate to “must-read” status in order to be considered “educated” tells us a lot about the values we place on our society as well as which perspectives we privilege.

Join us in this class that takes canonical works and places them alongside contemporary film versions to open up conversations about the messages they send and their staying power in our pop culture. 

Read Three Classic Works

In this class, we’re going to read three classic canonical works of literature — Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, and Emma by Jane Austen. We will also view their contemporary film adaptations — The Half of ItRomeo and Juliet, and Clueless.  

We’ll focus on a different literary device as we write a paper for each set of texts.

Dig Deep and Gain Analysis Skills

During class discussion, we will not only examine the stories told in these works but also talk about how the idea of the canon has been disrupted and challenged in recent years.

In this way, students will both get familiarity with canonical works while questioning the assumptions used to create a canon in the first place. In addition, they’ll learn key literary analysis skills that will be translatable to a wide range of reading situations as well as learning to “read” film as literary text.

Ages: 14-18

Class Size: 3-10 Learners

Class is weekly from September 5-December 18, 2022 with a fall break from October 17-23. There is no meeting on Thursday, October 20. There are 13 total live meetings.

We’ll meet via Zoom for a live discussion session each Thursday at 11-11:45am Eastern/10-10:45am Central/9-9:45am Mountain/8-8:45am Pacific

If a learner cannot attend a session due to illness or a schedule conflict, they will still have access to all class materials and can check in with the instructor with any questions. 



To participate successfully in class, learners will need the following:

  • Copies of the following books:
  • Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • (Note: There are many, many editions of these books. Any reputable publisher's version is fine.)
  • Access to the following movies:
  • The Half of It (2020) (Currently streaming on Netflix)
  • Romeo and Juliet (1996) (available for rent on many platforms)
  • Clueless (1995) (Streaming on HBO Max or available for rent)
  • (Note: You don't need access to the films for the entire duration of class, so you can rent or borrow them from the library for the times we need them.) 
  • Microphone and camera for in-class participation
  • PDF Reader
  • Zoom (free account)
  • Learners will submit work through Google Drive (a Google (Gmail) account can be acquired for free)

Select a pricing plan and sign up