Reading and Composition (R&C)

R1A.002: Knowing It All: Encyclopedic Fictions

Instructor: Paco Brito

CL R1A:2
TuTh 8-9:30
209 Dwinelle
CCN 17206
P. Brito

This class is about texts that want to take in entire worlds. It’s about stories, novels, and poems that aspire to the comprehensiveness of encyclopedias. This ambition gives them a strange, hybrid quality: the way that they catalog and communicate vast quantities of information often makes them seem more like non-literary texts than what we traditionally think of as literature. They will allow us to think about the often-complicated relationship between fiction and non-fiction, to consider the many ways in which texts connect both to the “real world” and to one another, and to reflect on what it means to read literature at a time when seemingly everything worth knowing is instantly available on the Internet.

First and foremost, however, this is a writing course. It will be focused on the process of writing–on the many choices, simple and sophisticated, that go into communicating an interpretation of a literary text to a reader.

Texts will include:

The Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot

Sans Soleil by Chris Marker

The course reader will feature selections from the work of François Rabelais, Herman Melville, Gertrude Stein, Thomas Pynchon, and Helen DeWitt; short fiction by Vladimir Nabokov, Donald Barthelme, Italo Calvino, Roberto Bolaño, Lydia Davis, and Charles Stross; and poetry by Marianne Moore, César Vallejo, Bertolt Brecht, Pablo Neruda, Elizabeth Bishop, and Anne Carson.

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.003: Allegories of Reading

Instructor: Laura Wagner

CL R1A:3
Tu/Th 8-9:30
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17209
L. Wagner

 

In this course, we will consider a range of texts that challenge us to engage critically with the act of reading itself.  From unreliable narrators to mystified characters, from wordplay to narrative holes, from histories of trauma to postmodern detective stories, these texts complicate and frustrate our initial attempts at interpretation.  And yet it is through their gaps, silences, and ambiguities that these works retrain their readers in the art of reading, forcing us to pay close attention not only to their meaning, but also to the manner in which they create (or obscure) this meaning.  As we interrogate the very process of reading, we will seek to develop a careful and critical stance not only as readers of fiction but also as writers of our own analytical prose.

Texts and films will be chosen from among the following:

The Marquise of O—, Heinrich von Kleist

The Unknown Masterpiece, Honoré de Balzac

Beloved, Toni Morrison

The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon

Atonement, Ian McEwan

Rope, Alfred Hitchcock

The Usual Suspects, Bryan Singer

 

A course reader will include excerpts from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, short stories such as “The Vane Sisters” by Vladimir Nabokov, “The Figure in the Carpet” by Henry James, and “Eckbert the Fair” by Ludwig Tieck, and poetry such as “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” by John Keats.

 

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.004: Reading Globalization

Instructor: Kfir Cohen

CL R1A:4
MWF 11-12:00
175 Dwinelle
CCN 17212
K. Cohen

In this course we will explore the relation between globalization and literary representation, asking how literary works come to imagine colonial encounters and the expansion of capitalism. We will explore several key aspects of globalization – colonization, consumerism, ethnicity, and images of totality – through novels, films, travel narratives, and critical essays. Through these texts, we will try to asses not only how works of literature and expository texts think of globalization but also what are the limits of such attempts at giving a figure to systems and totalities.

Assignments will include: short analytical responses and other writing assignments; occasional responses to other students’ work; 2 short papers engaging texts studied in class and one longer paper. All papers will require a first draft and a revision

Course Reader

The course reader will include articles of and excerpts from: Stuart Hall, Fredric Jameson, Naomi Klein, Montesquieu, Michel de Montaigne, Immanuel Wallerstein, and others. Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana will be screened.

Books (required)

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

The Committee, Sun’allah Ibrahim

A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid

Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism, V.I. Lenin

Sherazade, Leïla Sebbar

Film

Syriana, Stephen Geghan

Recommended Texts

Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, Joseph Williams

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.005: Lost in a Book

CL R1A:5
MWF 11-12:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17215
J. Raisch

In this course, we will be examining a number of texts that tell the story of being lost: at sea, in labyrinths, in time. In thinking about how being lost functions as mode of story-telling, we will necessarily spend time also thinking about travel narratives and the genre of fantasy. What is it about “the wrong-turn” or “the shipwreck” that so captures our imagination? How does going the wrong way allow us construct other worlds and better understand our own? Beginning with the prototypal journey of Homer’s Odysseus, we will trace lost travelers from Lemuel Gulliver to Dorothy and Toto to the ensemble cast of J. J. Abram’s influential television show.

Texts will include the following novels and short stories:

Homer, The Odyssey

Shakespeare, The Tempest

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

Ferenc Karinthy, Metropole

Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths and The Immortal

Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore

Victor Flemming, Wizard of Oz

Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away

Television episodes of Lost

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.007: Becoming Unbalanced

CL R1A:7
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
24 Wheeler
CCN # 17221
R. Lorenz & J. Nelsen

In this course, we will read stories of people seduced away from a well-balanced life by the allures of beauty, art, revenge, sex, sentiment—or even by rational thought pushed to extremes. Although we could label these characters as mentally ill, many of the texts we will read portray their deviance as an ambiguous sort of exaltation. Accordingly, we will analyze how each text presents the terrible costs of losing grip, as well as how the characters, from the point of view of their extreme principles, offer a twisted justification for the unbalanced life.

These texts will offer stimulating material for the primary aim of the course, which is to teach you how to write convincing essays filled with intelligent analysis and argument. A considerable amount of class time will thus be devoted explicitly to writing instruction, so that you can exit the course with some well-honed and very useful practical skills. As in all R & C courses, 32 pages of writing are required, including first drafts and rewrites.

Texts:

Euripides, Medea
E.T.A. Hoffman, The Golden Pot
Thomas Mann, Death in Venice
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Poetry by Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath

Films:

Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard
Luchino Visconti, Death in Venice

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.001: Picking up the Pieces: The Poetics and Politics of Salvage

Instructor: Gabriel Page Karina Palau

CL R1B:1
TuTh 9:30-11:00
109 Dwinelle
CCN 17224
K. Palau & G. Page

 

‘Found’ poems, novels preoccupied with how to recover and retell a lost story, anthropologists obsessed with saving threatened cultures, museum installations that give new life to remnants of a past.  What do these imply about questions of rescue, recovery, reuse?  What is at stake in projects—literary, anthropological, cultural, and historical—driven by the intent to salvage?

 

This semester we will explore salvage as a problematic alongside our intensive work on writing.  This course fulfills the second half of the University Reading & Composition (R&C) requirement, and we will dedicate ample time to crafting our critical thinking and essay-writing skills, paying special attention to argumentation, analysis, and the basics of how to put together a strong and convincing academic paper.

 

 

Possible Primary Readings and Viewings (Please do not buy texts before the first day of class):

“Diving in the Wreck,” Adrienne Rich

The Hampton Project and selected photographs, Carrie Mae Weems

“Exit at the Gift Shop,” Directed by Bansky

Dictee, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Selected ‘found’ poems by Annie Dillard and others

“Everyday Use,” Alice Walker

Iracema, José de Alancar

Los pasos perdidos, Alejo Carpentier

The Heights of Macchu Picchu (Las Alturas de Macchu Picchu), Pablo Neruda

Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, Saidiya Hartman

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz

The Witness, Juan José Saer

Nove Noites, Bernardo Carvalho

“Wasteland,” Directed by Lucy Walker

Possible Theoretical Readings:

Selections from Levi-Strauss, James Clifford’s Routes and “The Salvage Paradigm,” Johannes Fabian’s Time and the Other, and essays by Diana Taylor and Susan Stewart

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.002: LITERARY GAMES: An Introduction to Comparative Literature

Instructor: Irina Popescu

CL R1B:2
T/Th 9:30-11:00
88 Dwinelle
CCN 17227
D. Inciarte & I. Popescu

The Roman poet Horace famously wrote that our stories should aim to instruct and delight. Through the centuries authors have interpreted his advice in many different ways. One important way is by linking the experience of literature to the experience of play.  This connection—between literature and play—will be the focus of our course. Among the questions we will ask: How do our authors play with language? How do they play with their readers? Are their playful creations simply fancy mind games, akin to chess, or are they serious philosophical inquiries that, in the words of Mary Poppins add a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down?

Students will improve their analytical reading and expository writing skills through close reading, theoretical and contextual discussions, and critical research. Along with works of fiction, we will read sections from Raman Selden’s, A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory, which will introduce students to some of the different ways critics have developed theoretical approaches to the discipline of literary studies. Requirements will include a three to four-page diagnostic essay; short free writing assignments; writing workshops; short critical group presentations; regular postings for online discussion; and two progressively longer essays, each of which will be revised. While we will practice the basic skills of writing argumentative essays, the focus of the longer essays will also be on incorporating and utilizing research in an essay.

Please buy the editions specifically ordered for this class.

Course Reading

Plato, Symposium ISBN 0-14-044024-0

Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, selected chaps from Book 1 ISBN 0-14-044-047

Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1st five chapters, 0-06-093434-4

Nabokov, Pale Fire, 0-425-03784-3

Shakespeare, As you Like It 0-451-52678-3

Bernhard, Old Masters 0-226-04391-6

Strunk & White, Elements of Style 0-205-31342-6

 

In reader: Selections from Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Franz Kafka, Donne, Lucretius, Clément Marot, James Joyce, Alice Munro, Shirley Jackson, Mary Oliver, Wislawa Szymborska

Movies: Dancer in the Dark

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.003: Mythic and Monstrous Motherhood

CL R1B:3
8-9:30
109 Dwinelle
CCN17230
S. Battis

In this course, we will look at representations of motherhood between two extremes: mythic and monstrous. If the mythic mother is defined by self-sacrifice and self-effacement, then the monstrous mother is the perversion of that ideal.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.004: Body of Literature: Literature and Human Transformations

Instructor: Layla Forrest-White

CL R1B:4
T/Th 11-12:30
215 Dwinelle
CCN 17233
T. Singleton & L. Forrest-White

This course will follow the body in literature by looking at texts that deal with physical, religious, social, cultural and psychological transformations. How do our bodies experience and perform changes within and outside of ourselves? Are bodily performances representations or products of change? We will examine texts from the early and late classical periods and follow the theme of bodily and mental change reaching into the late 20th century. If, as Husserl argued, one must “get back to the things themselves, we will attempt instead to go forward to ourselves as things by considering the function of the body in marginalized literatures.

Texts include:

Kafka’s Metamorphosis
Beckett’s Endgame & Krapp’s Last Take
Ovid’s Metamorphosis
Nella Larsen’s Passing
St. Augustine’s Confession
Gloria Anzaldua Borderlands

Films:

Passing Strange (2009)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.005: Vision and Revision

T/Th 9:30-11:00
110 Wheeler
CCN 17236
P. Haacke & S. Schneider

This course will revolve around the arts of reading and re-reading, viewing and re-viewing, writing and re-writing. » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.005: Voices of Babel

Instructor: Celine Piser Katie Kadue

CL R1B:5
MWF 11-12:00
109 Dwinelle
CCN #182 Dwinelle
C. Piser & K. Kadue

In this course we’ll study the connections between multilingualism, multiculturalism, and marginalized communities in literature. We’ll look at different ways of storytelling to determine how narratives are structured formally and linguistically. We will read literature as a political tool for the assertion of a marginalized identity, and to this end, question the use of multilingualism in the representation of multicultural communities. We will look at space as well – both the space of identity formation, and the space of communities living on the margins, separated by race, culture, ethnicity, language, and class. We will read literature from a wide variety of cultural and linguistic traditions, and our discussions will be informed by critical readings.

Our goal this semester will be to learn how to read, write, and talk about literature; ultimately, we will write research papers that take our literary analysis a step further. Completing all reading and writing assignments in a timely manner and actively participating in class are key components of discussion courses, and you should be prepared to do both. Course grade will be based on demonstrating careful reading and analytical ability through class participation, short assignments, a group project, and analytical and research papers.

Primary Texts will be chosen from the following:

The Old & New Testaments

Honoré de Balzac, “Sarrasine”

Joachim du Bellay, Défense et illustration de la langue française

Erez Biton, “Summary of a Conversation” and “Shopping Song on Dizengoff”

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee

Michel de Montaigne, “On Cannibals”

Vladimir Nabokov, “The Seaport”

Emine Sevgi Ozdamar, Mother Tongue

Rabelais, Pantagruel

Henry Roth, Call It Sleep

Leila Sebbar, Sherazade

Critical Texts:

Walter Benjamin, “The Task of the Translator”

Jacques Derrida, “What is a ‘Relevant’ Translation?”

Anne Donadey, “The Multilingual Strategies of Postcolonial Literature”

Joshua L. Miller, “Multilingual Narrative and the Refusal of Translation: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee and R. Zamora Linmark’s Rolling the R’s

Aneta Pavlenko & Adrian Blackledge, Negotiation of Identities in Multilingual Contexts

Hana Wirth-Nesher, Call It English: The Languages of Jewish American Literature

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.006: Imposters and Psychopaths

Comp Lit R1B:6
MWF 11-12:00
182 Dwinelle
CCN 17239
J.  Caballero

This is a writing class, and our top priority will be the teaching of process writing, collaborative cultural analysis, and incorporating multiple kinds of feedback from different sources into your writing process. » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.008: Frienemies

CL R1B:8
TuTh 12:30-2:00
107 Mulford
CCN #18245
R. McGlazer

The label “frienemy” has only recently entered English-language popular culture and conversation, but figures combining characteristics of the ally with features of the foe are not at all new.  On the contrary, at least since Homer’s Iliad, literature has represented such figures and imagined the consequences of their hovering between friendship and enmity.  » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.009: Crisis

R1B:9
TuTh 3:30-5:00
233 Dwinelle
CCN 17248
Margarita Gordon (formerly: Zaydman)

Stories usually spring from extraordinary circumstances, when the quiet hum of everyday life is disrupted by a climactic event.  Crisis, defined as a turning point, can take many forms, from the economic one currently plaguing our country to the psychological and physical crises we face in our personal lives.  In this class, we will explore by what means crises arise, what they look like, and how, if at all, they are managed.  These verbal, visual, and cinematic texts will lead us through the disasters of war, the vertiginous heights of romantic obsession, the shame of betraying one’s own ideals, and the challenges of self-understanding and self-formation.

“Crisis” is also the root word for “critical.”  This class is designed to encourage critical thinking, an attention not just to what a text might be saying but to how it goes about saying it, what linguistic or visual devices it draws upon.  You will learn to read attentively, write analytically, and participate actively and creatively in class discussion.

Readings will be chosen from the following:

Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
William Shakespeare, Othello
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
Imre Kertész, Kaddish for an Unborn Child
Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint
Vladimir Nabokov, The Eye
Heinrich von Kleist, “The Marquise of O.”
George Eliot, The Lifted Veil
Franz Kafka, “A Report to an Academy”
Bruno Schulz, “Birds”
Ovid, Metamorphoses

 

Film & Visual Art

Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon
Ari Folman, Waltz with Bashir
Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times
Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo
Chris Marker, La Jetée
Francisco Goya, The Disasters of War
Jeff Wall, selected photographs

 

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.010: Wild Things: Gender, Sexuality, Monstrosity

Instructor: Bonnie Ruberg

CL R1B:10
TuTh 3:30-5:00
206 Wheeler
CCN: 17251
B. Ruberg

Monsters come in many forms: furry and clawed, grotesque and menacing, mysterious, dangerous, unclassifiable, sometimes surprisingly human. Every society constructs its own monsters, and so does every piece of literature. Here, we’ll question what makes a creature a monster in the first place: an unusual body, violence behavior, unacceptable passions? With an emphasis on queer and feminine monstrosity, this course explores the “wild” while emphasizing reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.

Main Texts

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter
Herculine Barbin, Michel Foucault (ed.)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Loius Stevenson
The Little Mermaid (film)
How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster
The Elements of Style, William Strunk and E.B. White

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.011: Literary Games

Instructor: Katie Kadue

CL R1B: 11
MWF 11:00 – 12:00
109 Dwinelle
CCN 17254
D. Inciarte & K. Kadue

 

The Roman poet Horace famously wrote that our stories should aim to instruct and delight. Through the centuries authors have interpreted his advice in many different ways. One important way is by linking the experience of literature to the experience of play.  This connection—between literature and play—will be the focus of our course. Among the questions we will ask: How do our authors play with language? How do they play with their readers? Are their playful creations simply fancy mind games, akin to chess, or are they serious philosophical inquiries that, in the words of Mary Poppins add a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down?

Students will improve their analytical reading and expository writing skills through close reading, theoretical and contextual discussions, and critical research. Along with works of fiction, we will read sections from Raman Selden’s, A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory, which will introduce students to some of the different ways critics have developed theoretical approaches to the discipline of literary studies. Requirements will include a three to four-page diagnostic essay; short free writing assignments; writing workshops; short critical group presentations; regular postings for online discussion; and two progressively longer essays, each of which will be revised. While we will practice the basic skills of writing argumentative essays, the focus of the longer essays will also be on incorporating and utilizing research in an essay.

Please buy the editions specifically ordered for this class.

Course Reading

Plato, Symposium ISBN 0-14-044024-0

Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, selected chaps from Book 1 ISBN 0-14-044-047

Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1st five chapters, 0-06-093434-4

Nabokov, Pale Fire, 0-425-03784-3

Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice (any edition)

Bernhard, Old Masters 0-226-04391-6

Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

Strunk & White, Elements of Style 0-205-31342-6

 

In reader: Selections from Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Franz Kafka, Lucretius, Clément Marot, Shakespeare (sonnets), Shirley Jackson, Mary Oliver, Wislawa Szymborska

Movies: Dancer in the Dark

Syllabus

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.012: Past and Present

Instructor: Nina Estreich

CL R1B:12
T/Th 5-6:30
189 Dwinlle
N. Estreich

In this course we will explore how the passage of time is expressed in a range of literary works, including lyric, narrative fiction, and testimony. In thinking about various genres, we will ask questions about how the past is described and sometimes reimagined or mythified in relation to the present.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.013: Ancients and Modernists

CL R1B:13
Tu/Th 11:00-12:30
109 Dwinelle
CCN 17260
J. Bulger

 

The term “Modernism” coarsely describes a cultural movement that began during the sunset of the nineteenth century and continued into the first half of the twentieth century.  » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.015: Wordplay and Language Games

Instructor: Jordan Greenwald

CL R1B:15
TuTh 9:30-11:00
130 Wheeler
CCN 17266
T. Wolff & J. Greenwald

This course experiments with different approaches to close reading through the diversions and subversions of comedy. We will get used to treating the forms of wordplay that provide most jokes with their punchlines as corresponding to aspects of literary style, from ambiguity to anticlimax, from clashing registers to the much-maligned pun. We will also look for ways that the same slipperiness of meaning plays a role in our own everyday speech habits, and in the media that saturate our social formation and participation. The course theme is intended primarily to attune the undergraduate reader and writer to fine stylistic distinctions in literary texts, but also secondarily to reveal, and to offer descriptive terms for, the ways language plays games in our lives at large (a central topic throughout will be problems of translation and communication). For this reason we will read particularly with an eye out for the ways language and comedy structure and reconfigure broader social themes, from gender and sexual politics, to childhood and family psychology, to the establishment of cultural and legal norms. The course balances texts from a range of genres and media (including film, television and advertising) with critical texts that suggest the unexpected force of play and the “comic attitude” in and out of literature. As always, students should be aware that an R/C course is especially writing-intensive, but in this course an additional willingness to pause over, discuss and play with linguistic details is a must.

Readings will be chosen from the following:

Aristophanes, Lysistrata

William Shakespeare, As You Like It, selected Sonnets

Honoré de Balzac, “The Girl with the Golden Eye” or “Sarrasine”

Emily Dickinson, selected poems

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (& Through the Looking Glass, “The Hunting of the Snark”)

Gerard Manly Hopkins, selected poems

Edward Lear, selected poems

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Ernest

Donald Barthelme, selected stories

Harryette Mullen, Muse & Drudge

Georges Perec, from Life: A User’s Manual (and further Oulipo excerpts)

Marx Brothers, Duck Soup

selected episodes of Arrested Development

Friedrich Schiller, Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man

Friedrich Schlegel, from Athenaeum Fragments

Johan Huizinga, from Homo Ludens

Sigmund Freud, from The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

D. W. Winnicott, from Playing and Reality

Kenneth Burke, from Language as Symbolic Action

Ludwig Wittgenstein, from Philosophical Investigations

Susan Sontag, “Notes on Camp”

Erving Goffman/Vivian Gornick, Gender Advertisements

Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.016: Body of Literature: Literature and Human Transformations

CL R1B:4
T/Th 8-9:30
219 Dwinelle
CCN 17233
T. Singleton & T. Luu

This course will follow the body in literature by looking at texts that deal with physical, religious, social, cultural and psychological transformations. How do our bodies experience and perform changes within and outside of ourselves? Are bodily performances representations or products of change? We will examine texts from the early and late classical periods and follow the theme of bodily and mental change reaching into the late 20th century. If, as Husserl argued, one must “get back to the things themselves, we will attempt instead to go forward to ourselves as things by considering the function of the body in marginalized literatures.

Texts include:

Kafka’s Metamorphosis
Beckett’s Endgame & Krapp’s Last Take
Ovid’s Metamorphosis
Nella Larsen’s Passing
St. Augustine’s Confession
Gloria Anzaldua Borderlands

Films:

Passing Strange (2009)

Course Catalog Number:

Undergraduate

20: Episodes in Literary Cultures

Literary Servants and Slaves

Instructor: Kathleen McCarthy

CL 20:1
MWF 11-12:00
20 Barrows
CCN 17272
Professor K. McCarthy

Discussion Sections:

Mon 1-2:00, 206 Wheeler CCN 17272, Brock, A
Tue 11-12:00, 47 Evans, CCN 17278, Brock, A
Wed 9-10, 2032 Valley Life Science Bldg, CCN 17281, Agbodike, K
M 2-3:00, 55 Evans, CCN 17284m, Agbodike, K

How similar should we expect the portrait of a slave in an ancient Roman comedy to be to the portrait of a household servant in a nineteeth-century British novel?   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

24: Freshman Seminar

Polyglots, Vagabonds, and Interpreters in the European Renaissance

Instructor: Timothy Hampton

CL 24:2
Fri 12-1:00
123 Dwinelle
CCN 17289
T. Hampton

“I understand,” he said, “but what?”

-Rabelais

What language do they speak in Utopia?  What does it sound like?  How about on the moon, or in America?  What is the best way to read invisible writing?  » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

24: Freshman Seminar

Reading and Reciting Great Poems in English

Instructor: Steve Tollefson

CL 24:1
Tu 4-5:00
203 Wheeler
CCN 17287
S. Tollefson
(1 unit P/NP only)
Enrollment Limited to Freshman only

People today do not have enough poetry in their heads, and everyone should be able to recite one or two of their favorite poems. In addition to its purely personal benefits, knowing some poetry by heart has practical applications: in a tough job interview, you can impress the prospective boss by reciting just the right line, say, from Dylan Thomas: “do not go gentle into that good night/rage rage against the dying of the light.” Or at a party some time, you’ll be able to show off with a bit of T.S. Eliot: “in the room the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo.” In this seminar, we will read a number of classic poems as well as a number of other (perhaps lesser, but still memorable) poems, and discuss them. The poems cut across centuries and types. Students will be encouraged to find other poems for the group to read. Participants will be required to memorize and recite 50-75 lines of their choice, and to prepare a short annotated anthology of their favorite poems.
Steve Tollefson, a lecturer in the College Writing Programs, is the author of four books on writing and grammar as well as articles on a variety of subjects and several short stories. He is a recipient of the campus Distinguished Teaching Award.

Course Catalog Number:

60AC: Topics in the Literature of American Cultures

The Imaginary West and the Making of American Identity

CL 60AC:1,
MWF 10-11:00
110 Wheeler
CCN: 17293
Enrique Lima

(Pending final approval of course from American Cultures Committee)

In this course we will examine the development of “the West” as a historical and literary concept. We will investigate its role in the creation of American identities and as a space in which those identities may be contested and refigured.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

Dislocated Narratives

Instructor: Karl Britto

CL 100:2
TuTh 2-3:30
251 Dwinelle
CCN 17308
Prof. Britto

In this course we will consider a variety of written and cinematic texts, largely produced in the last decades of the twentieth century, all of which foreground the movement of individuals or communities across national borders.  Over the course of the semester, we will discuss a number of interrelated questions: how do contemporary immigrant writers attempt to come to terms with the profound historical ruptures and geographic displacements brought about by the experience of transnational movement?  » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

The Literary Hero

Instructor: Harsha Ram

Comparative Literature 100
Tue/Thu, 3.30-5.00 p.m
205 Dwinelle
CCN 17305
Harsha Ram

 

Course Description: What is a hero? What are the origins of the hero as a cultural and literary construct? Originating in myth, the folktale and religious cult-worship, the hero is also present in most literary genres as a central protagonist who acts or is acted upon, and around whom the plot generally revolves. Literary genres determine the kind of heroes that arise, their internal traits and their mode of being in and acting upon the world. This semester we will be examining various types of heroes as they relate to their fictional worlds and to the genres they inhabit: the mythic hero, the tragic hero, the epic hero, the hero of romance, and variants of the romantic hero such as the Gothic and the Byronic. We will be reading extensive literary criticism and some literary and philosophical theory, from Joseph Campbell and Northrop Frye to Hegel, Kojève, and Bakhtin. We will be examining different approaches to literary texts, from traditional historical philology to structuralism, philosophical criticism, and feminism. The course can also be read as a survey of certain aspects of the Western tradition from ancient Greek myth and tragedy, via Milton’s epic, down to nineteenth-century British and Russian romanticism. Throughout the semester we will be following on the heels of the hero Prometheus – rebel and trickster, the stealer of fire and mentor to the human race. Prometheus is the prototypical hero, embodying the collision between human creativity and freedom and the constraints of a social or divine order. He has surfaced at different moments in Western history, from archaic Greece to Athenian democracy to modern Europe in the wake of the French Revolution. The crisis of the Promethean hero delineated by the European romantics allows us to ask what kind of hero – or antihero – is still possible in modern literature.

Syllabus

Books to be purchased at the Student Bookstore:

Hesiod, Theogony, trans. Richard S. Caldwell (Focus Classical Library) 0-941051-00-5

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, trans. J. Scully and C.J. Herington, (OUP) 0-19-506165-9

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Shelley’s Poetry and Prose (Norton Critical Edition) 0-393-09164-3

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Norton Critical Edition) 0-393-96458-2)

Lord Byron, The Major Works (Oxford World’s Classics) 978-0-19-953733-4

Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of our Time (Penguin Classics) 0-140-44795-4

Course Catalog Number:

100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

The Literary Hero

Instructor: Harsha Ram

Introduction to Comparative Literature:

The Literary Hero

Comparative Literature 100

Fall 2011:    Class hours Tue/Thu, 3.30-5.00 p.m., 205 Dwinelle

Instructor:  Professor Harsha Ram. E-mail: ram@berkeley.edu

Office:           6108 Dwinelle Office Hours: Mon. 11.30-1.30

Course Description: What is a hero? What are the origins of the hero as a cultural and literary construct? » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

112A: Modern Greek Language

M/W/F 12:00-01:00 125 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

Open to all students, no prerequisites

MWF 12-1:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17332
M. Kotzamanidou

Modern Greek is unique among languages in that it is the only modern language directly descended from Ancient Greek. In this course, the student studies reading, writing, pronunciation and use of contemporary spoken idiom, all within the historical and cultural context of the language. By the end of the course, the student should have a strong grammatical and linguistic foundation in Greek as it is spoken today. (No Prerequisite)

Course Catalog Number: 17332

152: The Middle Ages

Medieval Literature

Instructor: Annalee Rejhon

CL 152:1
TuTh 2-3:30
215 Dwinelle
CCN 17314
Instructor:  A. Rejhon

Course Description:

The course will present a survey of major works of medieval literature from some of the principal literary traditions of the Middle Ages, with an emphasis on epic and on Arthurian romance.  The epics that will be examined are the assonanced Oxford version of the Song of Roland (with an extract from the rhymed Châteauroux/Venice 7 version) and Beowulf, as well as the Old Irish saga of the Táin; the romances are those of Chrétien de Troyes, along with Gottfied von Strassburg’s Tristan, Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s Lanzelet, and the Middle English Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Included in the survey will be the Arthurian section of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, and several of the native tales and romances of the Middle Welsh Mabinogion.  A selection of troubadour lyrics will round out the survey.

All texts will be available in English translation.  Course requirements will include a midterm and a final examination.

Required Texts:

Anon., The Song of Roland

Anon., Beowulf

Anon., The Táin

Anon., The Mabinogion

Anon., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Chrétien de Troyes, Erec and Enide

-“- ,  Lancelot or the Knight of the Cart

-“- ,  Perceval or The Story of the Grail

Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain

Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan

Ulrich von Zatzikhoven, Lanzelet

Troubadour Lyrics

Course Catalog Number:

155: The Modern Period

Protagonists, Individuals, and the Novel

CL155:2
MWF 12-1:00
88 Dwinelle
CCN 17317
Enrique Lima

The Hungarian Marxist thinker Georg Lukács argues in his influential The Theory of the Novel (1920) that the outward form of the novel is essentially biographical. That is, the novel explores a problem symbolized by the story of a character’s life.  Ian Watt, a thinker of a very different political and aesthetic temperament than Lukács, says in his equally seminal The Rise of the Novel (1957) that novels are obligated to convince their readers of the individuality of their characters. Most theorists and historians of the novel would concur with Lukács and Watt on the centrality of the individual to the development of the novel. But what if a novel orders its narrative universe with something other than a central figure whose experiences provide the organic limits to the story? What if in complicating the seeming naturalness of the biographical form a novel manages to perform a critique of the historical association between the “rise” of the novel as a literary mode and the universalization of the discourses of the individual that sustained the emergence and global spread of capitalist modernity? This course addresses these questions through careful readings of British, U.S., and Latin American novels. We will also read significant theoretical works on the novel.

Possible readings include: William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom!, José María Arguedas Yawar Fiesta, Georg Lukács The Theory of the Novel, Nancy Armstrong How Novels Think, Alex Woloch The One vs. the Many, and Charles Taylor Sources of the Self.

Course Catalog Number:

156: Fiction and Culture of the Americas

Human Rights and Representation

M/W 04:00-05:30 189 Dwinelle Instructor: Francine Masiello

CL 156:1
MW 4-5:30
189 Dwinelle
CCN 17320
Professor F. Masiello

This is a course that addresses the questions: What can literature do to expose social injustice? What can literature do to help us come to terms with the horrors of human rights violations, torture, censorship, and disappearance? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17320

170: Special Topics in Comparative Literature

Honors Thesis Seminar: Literary Theory, Criticism, & Methodology

Instructor: Robert Kaufman

CL 170:1
Tu 2-5:00
204 Dwinelle
CCN: 17232
R. Kaufman

Enrollment in this seminar is limited exclusively to Comparative Literature students who will be writing an Honors Thesis during the 2011-2012 academic year. Although this seminar is optional rather than required for Comparative Literature Honors Thesis students (i.e., students who will be taking Comparative Literature CL H195  in 2011-2012, in which they will write an Honors Thesis under the direction of a faculty advisor), the seminar is nonetheless designed to help provide students with a strong background and training in what their Honors Thesis will entail.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

171: Topics in Modern Greek Literature

Voices of Children and the Experience of History in the Creation of Modern Greek Fiction

Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

CL 171:1
Fri 2-5:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN: 17326
M. Kotzamanidou

This course examines the role of the child’s voice in Modern Greek fictional narratives, novellas and novels, in which the common thematic thread is the impact of historical events on Modern Greek life, society and family.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

171: Modern Greek Literature

Homes and Homelands: Narratives of Displacement, Spaces of Desire

F 02:00-05:00 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

Fridays 2-5 PM 225 Dwinelle:  Maria Kotzamanidou

CCN:  17326

How vulnerable are the walls of the home or the boundaries of the homeland? Always, political and historical upheavals and wars have most impacted the homes and families of local populations. To the inhabitants of the Greek island of Lesbos, the contemporary refugee crisis is almost like a replay of the events of 1922, a result of the failed, Greek expansionist war shrouded with emotional and apocalyptic overtones. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17326

190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

Traveling Fictions

Instructor: Barbara Spackman

CL 190:2
TuTh 12:30-2:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17332
Professor B. Spackman

This course will examine a selection of travel narratives within the context of contemporary postcolonial theory and “mobility studies.”  Throughout the course, we will be acquainting ourselves with recent theoretical work on travel, Orientalism, and tourism.  Readings of primary texts will begin with a glance backward to Marco Polo’s thirteenth-century account of his travels to the East and Columbus’s account of what he thought was his voyage to the East, as well the early modern accounts of the voyages of discovery by Bartolome de Las Casas and Jean de Léry. We will then shift to a selection of modern travel narratives, both fictional and non-fictional.  Questions to be addressed include: the relation between power and the production of knowledge as it manifests itself in such narratives; intertextuality and its ideological effects; modes of representation of racial, cultural, historical, and sexual otherness.   How does travel contribute to the construction of a place called “home,” and how might it disrupt that construction? What happens to Orientalist discourse when the Orientalist who enters and exits the harem happens to be a woman? What fantasy compels Europeans to find “cannibalism” in the East and the New World, over and over again? Authors read will include Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Bartolome de Las Casas, Jean de Léry, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Mark Twain, Xavier de Maistre, and Italo Calvino.  We will also read theoretical work by Said, Greenblatt, Culler, Kaplan, Pratt, Hulme, and others.

Course Catalog Number:

190/German 104: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

Figure and Figuration: Baroque and Cyberspace

Instructor: Niklaus Largier

CL 190:1
MWF 1-2:00
263 Dwinelle
CCN 17329
Also listed as German 104: 1
N. Largier

European cultures of the 16th and 17th centuries have been obsessed with the power of images and imagination, of figures and figuration. Poetic practices of mirroring, linking, and folding are at the center of this culture of the imagination that in recent years has often been compared to forms in which images and texts are used in cyberspace. The seminar will deal with this topic from different angles. First, we will discuss rhetorical theories of the power of images and some theoretical approaches to baroque literature. Then we will analyze texts and images from the early modern period, especially visionary texts, baroque theater, poetry, and the art of emblems. Based on this and on the individual projects of the participants, we will investigate analogous structures of the uses of images and texts in cyberspace. This will include the question of how pre-enlightenment uses of images might help to understand postmodern imagination and the production of virtual worlds.

Course Catalog Number:

Graduate

200: Approaches to Comparative Literature

What Is Comparative Literature?

Instructor: Robert Kaufman

CL 200:1
M 2-5:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN #17368
R. Kaufman
Enrollment in this graduate seminar is limited exclusively to first-year Ph.D. Students in Comparative Literature. This seminar is an introduction to graduate study in Comparative Literature.  » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

201: Proseminar

F 12:00-01:00 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Robert Kaufman

F 12-1:00
4104 Dwinelle, (Comp Lit Conference Room)
CCN 17377
TBD

This course is designed to give all new graduate students a broad view of the department’s faculty, the courses they teach, and their fields of research. In addition, it will introduce students to some practical aspects of the graduate career, issues that pertain to specific fields of research, and questions currently being debated across the profession. The readings for the course will consist of copies of materials by the department’s faculty.

Course Catalog Number: 17377

212: Studies in Medieval Literature

Latin Love Lyrics in the Middle Ages (and beyond): Readings, Histories, Geneologies

Instructor: Frank Bezner

CL 212:1
Tu 2-5:00
Location: TBA
CCN 17374
F. Bezner

Much has been written on medieval and early modern vernacular love poetry – and the many approaches that have been developed for the understanding of Troubadour lyrics, German Minnesang, or Petrarcism, can be seen as an indicator of the past and present state of medieval literary studies in general (think of “courtly love”, formalist studies, “fictionality in Minnesang”, Lacanianism, or the new emphasis on manuscript contexts). » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

215: Studies in Renaissance Literature

Idols and Ideology

Instructor: Victoria Kahn

CL 215:1
Th 2-5:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN: 17377
Professor V. Kahn

The history of Western literary theory is often told in terms of the concept of mimesis. But there is another, equally powerful, anti-mimetic strand to this history, and that is the critique of mimesis as a form of idolatry. In this course, we will explore this critique from the prohibition against images in the Hebrew bible up through modern attacks on mimesis as inherently ideological. Our main literary texts will be taken from Plato, the Hebrew Bible, Tertullian and Reformation England (especially Marlowe, Bacon, and Milton), when there was a fierce debate about the harmful power of images and the necessity of iconoclasm. But we will also discuss the afterlife of iconoclasm in Kant, Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Baudrillard, and Althusser . Students whose interests lie primarily in other national literatures are welcome, and may write their final papers on primary texts not discussed in class, though they must engage the theoretical texts assigned for the seminar.

Course Catalog Number:

254: Studies in East-West Literary Relations

Sentimentality and the Object

Instructor: Sophie Volpp

CL 254:1
Tu 2-5:00
109 Wheeler Hall
CCN 17380
Professor S. Volpp

The course aspires to provide an introduction to two fields of critical discourse that have developed rapidly in recent years, affect studies and “thing theory,” asking how it might be productive to consider these fields in tandem.  Why do things play such an important role in the discourse of sentiment?  » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

258/German 268: Studies in Philosophy and Literature

Tragedy and the Tragic

CL 258:1,
Tu 4-6:00
262 Dwinelle
C. Tang
(This is a room-share with German 268.   Professor Teng notes that Students should be able to read German. However, the texts will be also available in English, so those students not as proficient in German may also take the course. French is not required, the French texts will be in translation.)

In recent years, both literary studies and philosophy have taken great interest in tragedy, a literary genre usually considered the highest and – since German idealism – the most philosophical in the generic hierarchy. Against the background of recent literary scholarship and critical theory, this seminar examines the development of tragedy from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Concerned with the irresolvable conflicts in ethical life, tragedy in this period registers the vicissitudes of European modernity by means of ever evolving poetic and aesthetic programs. The seminar will try to map three interrelated domains: Poetics of tragedy from Aristotle through French classicism and German classicism to formal innovations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; philosophy of the tragic from German idealism (Hoelderlin, Hegel) through cultural theories around 1900 (Nietzsche, Simmel, Benjamin) to contemporary critical theory (Adorno, Menke, Cavell); main issues of the modern age as reflected in the key works of the tragic genre such as sovereignty (French classicism and the baroque Trauerspiel), moral and legal order (Diderot, Lessing, Goethe, Ibsen), exigency of history (from Schiller to Heiner Mueller), and crisis of selfhood (expressionism). Conducted in English.

Course Catalog Number:

265: Gender, Sexuality, and Culture

Queer Ecologies

Instructor: Anne-Lise Francois

This course has been canceled. It will be offered in Spring 2012.

CL 265:1
W 2-5:00
210 Dwinelle
CCN 17383
Professor A. Francois

A comparative course exploring the intersections of literature, psychoanalysis, queer studies, and environmental studies.

Popular environmentalist discourse is often portrayed as the province of misanthropes, lonely-hearts and “kill-joys,” whose “downer” ethics can only be articulated in the negative—as the demand to curb and curtail hedonistic consumption.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

298: Special Study

Reading Hegel Now

Instructor: Judith Butler

Reading Hegel Now
Comp Lit 298:2
CCN 17389
2.0 units
Professor Judith Butler

Enrollment in the class is by instructor approval. Enrollment will be done from the waitlist.

This two-credit seminar will meet 6 times throughout the semester and each meeting will be devoted to one of the following questions: Why read Hegel now?  How do we read Hegel now?  Why is reading the Phenomenology different from reading other Hegelian texts? Why is Hegel so difficult?  What is the relation between Hegel and contemporary critical theory?  A final session will be arranged for student presentations.

Students will be asked to write a 9-10 page paper.

Texts:
Hegel, Early Theological Writings
Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
sections from Hegel’s The Philosophy of Right and the Logic

A course reader will be available in late August that will include various critical essays

Class Days and Location (all begin at 5 PM):

Thurs, Sept 1: 3335 Dwinelle Hall
Thurs, Sept 15: 370 Dwinelle Hall
Tues, Sept 27: 370 Dwinelle Hall
Tues, Oct 18: 370 Dwinelle Hall
Thurs, Nov 3: 370 Dwinelle Hall
Thurs, Dec 1: 370 Dwinelle Hall

Course Catalog Number: