2001: A Space Odyssey (Part I)

I. Which came first--the film or the novel?

  1. Difficult of establishing authorial intention
  2. Novel is based on screenplay, which is creditied to both Kubrick and Clarke
  3. Clarke: neither he nor Kubrick has the "'right' interpretation--whatever that means."
  4. The New Critics: The Intentional Fallacy
II.  Differences in Media, Narratives (Film vs. Book)
  1. Book's narrative "explains" much more for us
  2. Kubrick takes different track, seeks to go beyond verbal, force view to engage in interpretation (cf. Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes)
  3. Clarke's "academy" narrative condensed into single image, left to our interpretation.
  4. Clarke's "transparent" monolith vs. Kubrick's always opaque monoliths.
  5. Kubrick compares his narrative style to music.
III.  Technology and the Dawn of Man
  1. Principal novum of 2001: alien element affecting evolution of humanity.
  2. Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra vs. Nietzsche's Zarathustra; "man" as a bridge between the ape and the "super-man"; the necessity of interpretation
  3. Clarke's "Academy": alien experimenters determine "new way of life" with their success.
  4. Focus on TOOLS/TECHNOLOGY: man-apes become masters of environment.
  5. Clarke's "Ascent of Man": the "toolmakers" are "remade by their own tools."
IV. From Pre-historic Africa to 2000/2001
  1. "News black-out" and the second monolith: TMA-1
  2. Fear of a paradigm shift: "cultural shock" and "social disorientation"
  3. Monoliths as a function of that which transcends human understanding. "...its origin and purpose is still a total mystery"
  4. The mythic element of the quest (Homer's Odyssey)
V. Artificial Intelligence, as novum: The Question of HAL.
  1. Does HAL have feelings? (The Turing Test)
  2. Is HAL a "conscious entity"?
  3. HAL and the symbol of the eye.