Reading and Composition (R&C)

R1A.001: New York

MWF 9-10:00
20 Wheeler
S. SCHWARTZ &A GOLDSTEIN

The bustling, feverish, neon heart of America, where dreams come a dime-a-dozen and are sold again for less, the next morning: New York City. We’ll settle into the fascinating border-neighborhood between the “fact” and “fiction” of turn-of-the-century New York with E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime: here real-historical legends like Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, and Sigmund Freud make cameos in the interwoven fictions of Jewish immigrants, black revolutionaries, and white American blue-bloods. » read more »

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R1A.002: Raising the Dead: Ghosts and the Literary Imagination

T/Th 8-9:30
125 Dwinelle
L. Ramos

Ever thought about ghosts? Are you among those who believe to have been among their presence?  Or do you consider such matters complete non-sense?  This course is designed for both the die-hard skeptic and the unabashed believer.  Situated on the threshold between faith and reason, visual perception and logical disbelief, ghosts offer a privileged vantage point for understanding the relationship between life and death, time and space, and between the magical and the real.  In this course we will ask ourselves the following kinds of questions:  What accounts for contemporary culture’s ambivalent and yet intense fascination with ghosts? What space have ghosts traditionally occupied in the past and what role do they continue to serve in the present?  What challenges do ghosts and notions of the “magical” offer to Cartesian modes of thought? What place, if any, can we ascribe to “culture” in the persistence of a ghostly imagination across space and time?  Finally, what relationship does literature (and by extension, art in general) maintain with the spectral and the other-worldy?

Requirements:  Four formal papers, two presentations, and regular attendance and participation.

Readings:

Pedro Paramo, Rulfo

Austerlitz, Sebald

Land of Green Ghosts, Khoo Thwe

Hamlet, Shakespeare

Le Colonel Chabert, Balzac

The Communist Manifesto, Marx

El Reino de este Mundo, Carpentier

The Odyssey (selections)

A course reader including texts by Freud, Marx, Derrida, Benjamin, Carpentier, among others.

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R1A.003: The Voyage In: Migrant Subjects, Transnational Forms

MWF 10-11
100 Wheeler
M.Bhaumik and V. Eleasar

This class investigates the relationship between immigration, language politics and aesthetic form. Through discussion, group work and essay writing, we will be analyzing the relationship between involuntary and voluntary migration and cultural production – interrogating how the neo-colonial state both relies on immigrant labor and criminalizes such displacement and cultural expression.   » read more »

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R1A.004: The Enclosed, the Captive, and the Kept

T/Th 9:30-11:00
125 Dwinelle
S. Green

In The Enclosed, the Captive, and the Kept, we shall explore different forms of confinement: physical, psychological, spiritual, and social.  In our study of literature of different genres, periods, and places, we shall identify characteristic components of the “captive’s tale”, consider the importance of narrative voice in the sympathetic involvement of the reader, and analyze the means by which themes of captivity communicate ideas and ideals of freedom. » read more »

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R1B.001: Passing on Trauma: Haunting Texts

MWF 9-10:00
189 Dwinelle
S. Popkin

Writers of trauma often feel compelled to pass on, or retell, on their story.  However, writers of trauma also often pass on, or avoid, the essential parts of the story.  The literature of trauma is ridden with this paradox: the compulsion to tell a story which is too difficult to be told.  How, then, do writers end up narrating stories of trauma? » read more »

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R1B.001: Romance and Colonialism

T/Th 2-3:30
210 Dwinelle
M. Fisher

The critic Sara Suleri has written that one of the most obvious strategies of postcolonial literature has been to write in a context of a romance gone wrong. But what makes such a context meaningful? Why are the themes of romance and colonialism so often intertwined?   » read more »

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R1B.002: Text and Image

MWF 9-10am
121 Wheeler
Fort and Demeestere

This will be a course of intensive reading and composition exploring the relationship between language and visual images in a selection of works that address and embody this relationship in various modalities. We will begin by examining a selection of poems that speak of or to paintings and visual images, particularly from the Classical world; we will then move on to examine the highly descriptive verbal text of Homer’s Odyssey.   » read more »

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R1B.003: Shock

MWF 10-11:00
219 Dwinelle
H. Freed-Thall and L. Gurton-Wachter

Modern literature is fascinated by chance, possibility, and surprise. Valorizing the shock of the unknown and of the wild, ungraspable NOW, nineteenth and twentieth century texts grant the unforseen event the power to spark acts of artistic creation. At the same time, however, modern literature often dramatizes a desire to harness and suppress the ephemeral and the unknowable.   » read more »

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R1B.004: Telling the Truth

MWF 11-12
121 Wheeler
A. Ben-Yishai and R. Lorenz

How do we know that a storyteller is telling the truth?

Many writers of fiction, poetry and non-fiction use different ways to convince us that they are telling the truth. Some do so by insisting that they are, others by hinting that they are not. In this course we will look at the different narrative and poetic strategies for truth telling.   » read more »

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R1B.005: Things That Go Bump in the New World

MWF 9-10:00
125 Dwinelle
L. Gold

This course invites consideration of literary and cinematic production of and related to the African and Asian diasporas.  Of particular interest will be the representation of supernatural beliefs.  What do these writings and films indicate about how this aspect of culture travels to a new homeland?  » read more »

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R1B.007: History and Fiction: Text and Context

MWF 10-11:00
242 Dwinelle
M. Yanson

The purpose of this course is to teach critical reading of literary texts and effective essay writing. We will examine representative texts from different literary and historical backgrounds and try to determine how does a particular text communicate its message to the audience.   » read more »

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R1B.009: Mourning and Modernity

T/Th 11-12:30
222 Wheeler
S. Herbold

Modernity often seems to be defined by a sense of loss. We will read several texts in which here and now seem largely to be defined by a there and then that are painfully absent, yet still consume the present. Paradoxically, the acts of remembrance performed in these texts take a strikingly innovative form. Moreover, writing itself can be said to be a way of leaving the past behind as well as of sustaining it.   » read more »

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R1B.010: Cities and Terror

Instructor: Paul Haacke

T/Th 12:30-2:00
130 Wheeler
HAACKE/CABALLERO

How is urban life both a source and an object of terror? This course will examine some of the ways in which cities have been represented as sublime, gothic, uncanny, savage, sinful or dangerous: as centers of memory, power and desire as well as violence, oppression and dread. In reading selected works of literature, film, and criticism, we will consider cities as both political-economic places of development, work and exchange as well as symbolic spaces of aesthetic and cultural experimentation. » read more »

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R1B.011: Borderlands

T/Th 8-9:30
182 Dwinelle
S. Sayar and M. Barzilai

In this class we will explore the literatures of borderlands.  From Palestine to El Paso, Livorno to London, we will ask what it means to write “in between” political entities, but also between identities,cultures, wars, genders, and sexualities » read more »

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R1B.012: Child Heroes and Childhood Memories

T/Th 9:30-11:00
160 Dwinelle
A Dwyer and S. Milkova

In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes everybody but the child is duped by the trappings of convention: only the child can see that the emperor is naked. In the Romantic period, poets and artists aligned the child’s naiveté and innocence with genius. Nietzsche claimed there was a playful child in every man. » read more »

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R1B.013: Drag

MWF 10-11am
20 Wheeler
S. Schwartz & R. Chan

“Ivy in the Boston Gardens, 1973” is a black and white photograph by Nan Goldin; a shot of Ivy walking along the broad gravel path in a tailored suit, hat set at a jaunty tilt, with a fur stole flung over one shoulder.  Ivy’s appearance—right down to the short, elegant veil and the nicely heeled pumps—is exacting in its adherence to feminine details.  » read more »

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R1B.014: The Fear of Books

T/Th 8-9:30am
279 Dwinelle
J. Hill

The list of banned books is long and venerable.  In this research and composition course we will consider a few of them, from ancient Greece to contemporary America.   Why are some books forbidden?  What are the motives for censorship?  What is “obscene” and who gets to define it?  » read more »

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R1B.015: Representing War and the Writing of the Disaster

T/Th 3:30-5:00pm
4 Evans
A. BRUCKEL

“With the [First] World War a process began to become apparent which has not halted since then.  Was it not noticeable at the end of the war that men returned from the battlefield grown silent – not richer, but poorer in communicable experience?”  (Walter Benjamin, “The Storyteller” – 1936) » read more »

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R1B.016: Youth in Revolt: Bad Kids We Love So Good

MWF 10-11:00
206 Wheeler
T. Singleton

The oldest story in the world, Gilgamesh, concerns “growing up” and coming to terms with the ultimate consequence of life: death. There exists no shortage of this topic in Literature and Film as it continues to intrigue us. The rebellious youth remains a heroic symbol that dominates the ‘coming of age’ stories of today. In the process of reading and viewing we ask however, ‘when is it too much?’   » read more »

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R2B.001: French Theater of the Absurd

MW 10-12 & F 10-11
123 Dwinelle
A. BRUCKEL

In this course, we will study French theater ranging from a seventeenth century comedy to an eighteenth century mock epic, to plays representative of some major trends in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on surrealist/absurdist and existentialist theater.  » read more »

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R3B.001: Archive Fever

MW 2-4 & F 2-3
125 Dwinelle
S. Wells

This is a course about the archive, and, in particular, about the archive in Latin America.  We’ll take as our critical departure point Roberto Gonzalez Echeverria’s Myth and Archive, a work that explores the relationships between archival fictions and the questions of authority and knowledge that have shaped Latin American literary historiography since the colonial period.  » read more »

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Undergraduate

41B: Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Lyric

Word, Sound, Image

MWF 10-11
121 Wheeler
P. Dimova

In this course we will read closely a wide selection of lyric poetry in its relation to the aural and visual arts. We will take a cross-cultural and cross-temporal approach to the study of the lyric mode and examine how the constellation word-sound-image developed and operated in Greco-Roman verse; Classical Chinese verse; Romantic, Modern, and avant-garde lyric poetry. » read more »

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41C: Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Novel

Experiencing the Novel

T/Th 8-9:30
121 Wheeler
B. TRAN

“Experiencing the Novel” will examine how both “experience” and the genre of the novel are points of intersection for private subjectivity and a social body, individual interiority and public language.  We will approach our topic in a threefold manner.  First, we will read novels that address the experiences of desire, marginality, and coming of age.  » read more »

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41E: Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Cinema

Moving Pictures, Moving Bodies: Illusions of Motion in Film

T/Th 12:30-2:00
209 Dwinelle
Louise Hornby

Screenings: Th 5-8, 219 Dwinelle

This course is about the ways in which film thematizes, theorizes and depicts motion. As moving sequence of still frames, film is a formal construction of motion that, from its inception, was celebrated for its ability to be about motion—to represent moving bodies.   » read more »

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60AC: Topics in the Literature of American Cultures

The Heart of Darkness within America

T/Th 12:30-2:00
121 Wheeler
J. White

We often don’t think of the U.S. as an empire, but history doesn’t bear this out, as the nation’s past (and present) is characterized by conquest and expansion, conflict and resistance, as well as immigration and incorporation.   » read more »

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100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

Dislocated Narratives

Instructor: Karl Britto

T/Th 11-12:30
2062 VLSB
K. Britto

In this course we will consider a selection of texts produced within the past thirty years, 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?  How do they seek to render into language and narrative the confusion of conflicting cultural structures, and in what ways are their characters defined and deformed by their status as immigrants?  » read more »

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112B: Modern Greek Composition

M/W/F 12:00-01:00 279 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

MWF 12-1pm
279 Dwinelle
M. Kotzamanidou

This Course examines forms of writing (prose, poetry, drama) in Modern Greek and the reading of literary texts as auxiliary to the acquisition of compositional skills.

Prerequisite: 112A, or consent of the instructor.

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120/NES 190C: The Biblical Tradition in Western Literature

Gender, Love, and Sexuality in the Bible and Modern Poetry

Instructor: Chana Kronfeld

W 2-5:00
174 Barrows
C. Kronfeld and R. Hendel

(cross-listed as Near Eastern Studies 190C)

Disc. Sec 101: F 10-11:00, 78 Barrows,   Disc. Sec. 102: F 11-12:00, 78 Barrows

In this course we explore the diverse constructions of gender, erotic love and human sexuality in the Hebrew Bible, and some of the ways in which modern poets have recycled and reinscribed these foundational texts. » read more »

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155: The Modern Period

The European Avant-Garde: From Futurism to Surrealism

Instructor: Harsha Ram

T/Th 12:30-2:00
221 Wheeler
H. Ram

The literary avant-garde of the early twentieth century was the most radical expression of European modernism in literature and art. We will be focusing on the four most radical and creative of the avant-garde movements to have swept through Europe between the 1910’s and the 1930’s: Italian and Russian futurism, dada in Zurich and Paris, and French surrealism.   » read more »

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170: Special Topics in Comparative Literature

Poverty and the City in Black and White: Images of Contemporary Greek Cinema

Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

F 2-5
233 Dwinelle
M. Kotzamanidou

The two decades that followed the civil war in Greece were a period of reconstruction, modernization and intense social change. The social change came about primarily in two ways, through internal migrations and urbanization. According to government statistics, in 1951, 37.7% of the population lived in towns of ten thousand or more. In 1961, urban populations rose to 43.3% and in 1971, to 53.2%.   » read more »

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190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

The Image of Arthur in the Middle Ages

Instructor: Annalee Rejhon

T/Th 11-12:30
6307 Dwinelle
A. Rejhon

The course will focus on Arthurian romance in medieval French, Welsh, and English literatures.  The figure of Arthur—his image and social function—will be examined in the three cultural contexts with special attention devoted to how his reception in each culture reflects the concerns of that particular milieu. The French works that will be read are Chrétien de Troyes’ romances, Erec and Enide, Yvain, and Perceval; Marie de France’s Lanval and the anonymous lais, Graelent and Guingamor; Robert de Boron’s Romance of the Grail; The Quest of the Holy Grail; and Perlesvaus.  » read more »

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190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

20th-21st Century Lyric Poetry and Sociopolitical Engagement

Instructor: Robert Kaufman

T/Th 12:30-2:00
321 Haviland
R. Kaufman

Very close, intense, sustained–and a lot–of reading in: lyric poetry (mostly later 20th C., some early-mid 20th C., some 21st C., some 19th C.). Also, readings in related texts by poets (letters, essays, meditations, journals) and critics, theorists, and philosophers.  » read more »

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Graduate

202C: Approaches to Genre: The Novel

W 2-5pm
175 Dwinelle
M. Bernstein

According to Friedrich Schlegel, the nineteenth-century writer, philosopher, and critic, “Novels are the Socratic dialogues of our times.” What is at stake in such a view of the novel? What is its relationship to subsequent theoretical formulations like Georg Lukács’ influential pronouncement that “the novel is the epic of an age in which the extensive totality of life is no longer directly given, in which the immanence of meaning in life has become the problem, yet which still thinks in terms of totality?” » read more »

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210: Studies in Ancient Literature

Archaic Greek Poetry: Pindar

Instructor: Leslie Kurke

F 2-5pm
308B Doe Library
L. Kurke

This course will serve as an introduction to the poetry of Pindar, especially the epinikia.  We will be concerned with formal issues of genre, structure, performance mode, and occasion, as well as with broader issues of epinikion’s imbrication in various religious, cultural, economic, and ideological systems.  We will survey the various scholarly approaches to Pindaric epinikion since Bundy, and, if time permits, I would like to work on epichoric clusters or dossiers of poems—e.g., Theban odes, Aeginetan odes, odes for Sicilian tyrants.

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225: Studies in Symbolist and Modern Literatures

Modern Poetry and Frankfurt School Aesthetics

Instructor: Robert Kaufman

T 3-6pm
89 Dwinelle
R. Kaufman

Readings in modern (especially lyric) poetry in relation to major Frankfurt-School texts on aesthetics, criticism, and social theory in relation to literature (as well as the other arts) in general and poetry above all; special concentration on the writings of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, and on their development of Kantian, Hegelian, and Marxian traditions of aesthetics and critical theory; sustained attention to how and why poetry turns out to be so crucial to the Frankfurters’ (and, in particular, to Benjamin’s and Adorno’s) overall analyses of modernity, » read more »

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