Reading and Composition (R&C)

R1A.002: Ancients and Modernists

17206
K Liebowitz/J. Bulger
T/Th 9:30-11:00
223 Dwinelle

“Modernism” coarsely describes a cultural movement that began in the sunset of the 19th century and continued through the first half of the 20th century.  Modernists experimented with new ideas and forms in order to liberate their arts from tradition.  Yet as artists strove headlong into the future, they also expressed interest in the distant past – in antiquity.  Greek and Roman ideas, forms and texts litter the modernist literary canon as modernist authors translate and transmute the works of classical antiquity in order to inform their artistic projects.

This course will examine the modernists’ engagement with classical Greek and Roman works in literature, film, and opera. Why does the modernist author use the ancient in a project to make something new? How can ancient material refer to a modern context?  What is lost and gained in the shuttling of material between 2000 years?  Does knowing the ancient sources change our experience as readers of modern texts?

Course materials will introduce us to figures such as Odysseus, Tiresias, Helen, and Medea as both classical and modernist characters. We will first examine how 19th-century authors use classical texts so as to frame what we will discover regarding the Modernists.  As we engage with different texts and their respective heroes, we will focus on not only how the authors rethink “stories” or characters, but also how and why they rework genres, such as epic, lyric and drama.

As we bounce between millennia on the hunt for ancient voices and modernist re-vocalizations in this R1A class, you will be developing your own voice through a number of in-class and take-home writing assignments.  You will learn to read texts closely and analyze them critically.  With respect to your writing skills, you will master the basics of sentence structure, paragraph development and essay composition.  Above all, in the spirit of this course, you will write and revise, revise, revise your old work.

Book List:

Euripides, Euripides II: The Cyclops and Heracles, Iphigenia in Tauris, Helen; Homer, Odyssey; Kafka, The Metamorphosis; Ovid, Metamorphoses; Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra; and Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Additional materials in a course reader, including T.S. Eliot, Freud, H.D., Ezra Pound, and Tennyson.

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.003: “What is Love?” Readings in Scripture and Literature

17209
J Weiner
T/Th 9:30-11:00
175 Dwinelle

This course seeks to ask the difficult question, “What is love?” and how does “love” or the absence of “love” structure experience in literature (scripture, profane literature, mythology) and theology.  The second aim of the course is to apply theological paradigms, metaphors, and reading strategies to the study of literature.  Thirdly, we will bring our understanding of how literature works—the transformative potential of plot, the endearments of characterization, the Sirens of identification—to our study of scripture and theology.

The theoretical aim of the course is to hunt down love through a fruitful dialogue between scripture and literature, but we will also enlist other tools to help us as we, like Jacob, wrestle with a passionate stranger in the dark, drawing on literary theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis, literary criticism, history, and literary history in our secondary readings. Primary Texts may include: Gospel of John; Gospel of Mark; Genesis; Exodus; Romance of Tristan and Iseult; Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde; Purgatorio, Eréndira, Lovers of the Arctic Circle, and Almodovar’s Volver.  There will be shorter readings from Aristotle; Plato; Pseduo-Dionysius; Ovid’s Metamorphoses; Augustine; St. Paul’s letters; Dante’s De Vuglari Eloquentia, Convivio, Vita Nuova, and Inferno; Lacan; Freud; Aquinas; and Averroes.

We will attempt to disentangle what we mean by “love” and how the concept of “love” has been anatomized, classified, and preached.   The approach of the course is to treat all of our primary texts as love stories, whether or not they are conventionally read that way.  In the first part of the course, we will study the “deliverance” model of love in Exodus and the literature directly or obliquely influenced by it.  In the second and longest part of the course, we will trace the development of an anatomization of love into its parts (erotic and spiritual, familial and friendship) through Greek philosophy and Christian theology and scripture, culminating in a reading of Dante’s Purgatorio.  In the final part of the course, we will turn to the most challenging kinds of love, described in Genesis and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, to see whether the painful, violent, and perplexing relationships therein shatter, alter, or redefine the earlier models we have observed.  In the spirit of the course, we will continue to draw connections between theological notions of providence, discipleship, subjection of the will, divine election, salvation, and revelation with literary conventions:  dramatic coincidence, agnorisis, reversal of fortune, agency, victimization, and the role of narrator as God.

In addition to the standard expository writing requirements, the course will also require introspective journal writing.

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.004: Writing on Foot

17212
T. Wolff
MWF 10-11:00
189 Dwinelle

What drives the literary imagination to complement, and sometimes to compare, walking with writing? From the peripatetic philosophers of ancient Greece to the Surrealist urban jaunt, from the social pilgrimage of the “Canterbury Tales” to the solitary Romantic excursion off into nature, literature has often traveled on foot. The comparison takes many shapes: we refer to “rambling,” to “pacing” as a feature of style, and to the “feet” of poetic meter. Writer and critic Paul Valéry declared that prose is to poetry as walking is to dancing, and our course will try on his analogy, then respond by adding many of our own as well. We may, for example, consider storytelling and the writing process in terms of select “pedestrian” themes from our readings: as aimless drifting, healthy exercise, and social recreation; as transportation, quest, and escape; as impassioned exploration, detached observation, and private meditation. Interlocking traditions of “walking literature” covered may include accounts of city walking and country walking; streetwalking and cruising; and the leisured stroll versus mendicant or homeless “loitering” and itinerancy. We will see that walking is sometimes the privilege, sometimes the burden of social origin and class; we will be mindful of the examples of those unable to walk, and those doomed to walk forever.

A word of warning: this course will include frequent writing assignments, a heavy reading load, in-class presentations, and required extracurricular outings. (You could say it will be more fire-walk than cakewalk.) The focus will be on sustained attentiveness to detail in both our own and others’ writing.

Readings will be drawn from the following:

Susan Stewart, from “Poetry and the Fate of the Senses”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Physiology of Walking”

Paul Valéry, from “Remarks on Poetry”

Max Beerbohm, “Going Out for a Walk”

Soren Kierkegaard, “Letter on Walking”

William Hazlitt, “On Going a Journey”

John Dewey, from “Art as Experience”

Raymond Williams, from “The Country and the City”

Old Testament, Plato, Chaucer, Montaigne, Basho, Rousseau, Hölderlin, William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth, Austen, Whitman, Poe, William

Carlos Williams, John Muir, Robert Walser, André Breton, Jack Kerouac, W.H. Auden, Thomas Bernhard, Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, W. G.

Sebald, Laurie Anderson, Agnes Varda

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.011: The Art of the Anticlimax

17248
D. Simon & A. Gadberry
T/Th 9:30-11:00
229 Dwinelle

This course will explore novels, stories, poems, essays, films, and comic books that avoid moments of crisis and emotional intensity.  Our focus will be on texts that (1) construct narratives that do not culminate in reversals or revelations; (2) make use of stylistic devices that draw attention away from moments that might otherwise seem pivotal; (3) make a virtue of mechanical repetition, rather than development or transformation; (4) banalize rather than sensationalize their subjects; or (5) obviate suspense.  Our goal will be to determine the rhetorical, political, and aesthetic functions, as well as the emotional consequences, of phenomena that are ordinarily understood as signs of artistic failure. Although our readings will avoid some of the standard criteria of aesthetic pleasure, none of them will be boring.  Readings and screenings will be drawn from among the following:

Reading List:

Howard Norman, The Bird Artist

John Carpenter, Halloween

Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have you Been?”

Michel de Montaigne, selections from the Essais

Andrew Marvell, selected poems

Paul de Man, “Literary History and Literary Modernity”

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Man of the Crowd”

Archer Prewitt, Sof’Boy (Numbers 1 – 3)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.001: Irony

17218
K. Zumhagen-Yekple
MWF 11-12:00
109 Dwinelle

Irony is not something in an object that you either “get” or fail to “get”: irony “happens” for you (or, better, you make it “happen”) when two meanings, one said and the other unsaid, come together, usually with a certain critical edge. Š it is the element of response–of active participation, both intellectual and affective–that makes for the power.–Linda Hutcheon

Irony involves a gap or incongruity between what a speaker or writer says and what is understood.  It may be defined as the conflict of two meanings which has a dramatic structure peculiar to itself: initially, one meaning, the appearance, presents itself as the obvious truth.  When the context of this meaning unfolds, in depth or in time, however, it discloses a conflicting meaning, the reality, measured against which the first meaning now seems false or limited and, in its self-assurance, blind to its own situation.

In this course, we will look at literary and theoretical texts in order to examine the disjunction between language and meaning, appearance and reality, that characterizes irony in its many forms and uses (verbal, tragic, dramatic and situational).  Using examples of ironic moments taken from a range of low- and high-culture media (fiction, philosophy, academic discourse, film, visual art, television and popular music performances), we will look at the series of elements that work together to make irony happen: its critical edge; its semantic complexity; the discursive communities that make irony possible: the role of intention and attribution in irony; its contextual framing and marker as well as the social and political setting for the use of irony.  We will examine irony as rhetorical trope, as way of seeing the world, as philosophical tool or means of political dissent.  We will also examine some of the ways in which this strange mode of discourse differs from parody parable, metaphor or allegory (all of which demand similar supplementing of meaning), which like them it works to impart special kinds of insight and understanding which some “get”, and some do not.

Readings will be chosen from among the following texts:

Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

William Shakespeare, Othello

Jonathan Swift “A Modest Proposal”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Samuel Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

James Joyce, “Araby”

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room

Samuel Becket, Waiting for Godot

Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, “Good Country People”

Eudora Welty, The Ponder Heart

David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction,” selected essays

Sarah Vowell, selected essays

Viewings may include:

The Simpsons, selected episodes

Charles Chaplin, City Lights

Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest

Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction

A Reader will also contain excerpts from the following texts:

Sigmund Freud, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious

Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Irony, with Constant Reference to Socrates

Linda Hutcheon, Irony¹s Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony

Wayne C. Booth, A Rhetoric of Irony

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.002: Sign and Sight

17221
J. Bodik & N. Estreich
T/Th 11-12:30
109 Dwinelle

When one thinks of the visual arts, literature is not usually the first thing that comes to mind; yet literature has an often-noted tendency to explore its multifaceted relationship with the sense of sight. Visual metaphors are so ubiquitous in discussions of literature that we don’t always even notice them. Characters and narrators occupy a “point of view;” a powerful work changes the way one “sees” the world. This course brings together a number of texts that examine the connections between literature and vision from a variety of angles. Questions we will consider include the following: Does the activity of seeing serve as a metaphor for the writing, reading, and/or effects of literature, and if so how? What light does the interaction between text and image shed on the limitations of each? Does such an interaction make it possible to test or even transcend those limitations? How does literature relate to the visual arts? We will consider these and other questions through close readings of various texts that raise and respond to them.

Required readings:

Homer, The Odyssey

Shakespeare, Othello

William Blake, Songs of Innocence; Songs of Experience

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Derek Walcott, Tiepolo’s Hound

Course reader containing critical readings

Film:

Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.003: En Vogue: Love and fashion from pop culture to haute couture

Instructor: Nina Pick

17224
N. Pick
T/TH 8-9:30
206 Dwinelle

Taking as a starting place philosopher Walter Benjamin’s suggestion that “every fashion is to some extent a bitter satire on love,” this class will examine the politics, and the erotics, of style. We will look at both the fashions of the text and the fashions in the text to examine and question categories of kitsch and art, low- and highbrow, culture and sub-culture. » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.005: Turning Points: Narratives of Youth

17230
A. Henry
T/Th 3:30-5:00
224 Wheeler

From Shakespeare’s tragic Juliet and her Romeo to J.K. Rowling’s courageous Harry, Ron, and Hermione, our reading and writing course will examine two questions: what is the function of childhood and adolescent characters in literature? how do they create a different type of narrative? and what is at stake for these characters? We will examine these through an intense engagement with narratives of development in the form of fiction, poetry, drama, and film. Each work includes a moment of epiphany or turning point that catapults the protagonist into a new world of adults and adulthood. By reading canonical texts and watching films from Europe and America, we shall question how stories of growing up differ across historical periods and cultures.

In addition to answering and challenging the course themes, we will foster your academic reading and writing skills. We will learn how to perform a critical analysis and close reading of a text along with mastering a variety of rhetorical strategies in order for you to craft a research essay. You will leave this course as a confident reader and a strong writer.

Reading List:

Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare

Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

The Long Dream, Richard Wright

The Confusion of Young Törless, Robert Musil

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

Films:

Bad Education, Pedro Almodóvar

The Human Stain, Robert Benton (based upon Philip Roth’s novel)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.006: Masculine Women and Feminine Men: Gender, Genre, and Politics

17233
H. Cruz & S. Scala
T/Th 9:30-11:00
174 Barrows

Taking on the attributes of the opposite gender is as ancient an act as it is problematic. What exactly is so threatening about this kind of crossing? As with most kinds of border disruptions, this one threatens to spread and multiply to other types or kinds of disruptions and must therefore almost always be contained. However, not all crossings are as dangerous. Some even serve to reinforce the received hierarchy of gender while others risk dissolving the very basis of our society. In this class we will examine various examples of masculine women and feminine men across a variety of genres and time periods, in order to identify any possible connections between gender and genre. We will also look closely at the political implications of these crossings for different communities, societies and the states.

Texts:

Euripides, Medea

Catalina de Erauso, Lieutenant Nun

Federico Garcia Lorca, The House of Bernarda Alba

Jovita Gonzales, The Dew on the Thorn

Jose Donoso, Hell Has no Limits

Mauel Puig, The Kiss of the Spider Woman

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

Films:

Pedro Almodóvar, Bad Education/Mala Educación

John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Kimberly Peirce, Boys Don’t Cry

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.007: The Estranged Short-Story Form and Critical Expository Prose

17236
J. Caballero & J. Lillie
T/Th 9:30-11:00
209 Dwinelle

This class takes a somewhat unliterary approach to short forms of literary writing, approaching them from the perspective of expository and argumentative writing to bridge the gap between literary analysis and a more generally-useful form of analytic writing practice.  This class trains its students in the expository essay for non-literary purposes. To study writing that builds an evidenced, paced, structured, streamlined, scannable, and linear argument, we’ll be looking at literature’s most linear, streamlined, and tightly-woven genre, the short story.  The two guiding stars, in our writings as much as in our readings, will be concision and precision.

We’ll start by sketching (although out of chronological order) a certain family tree of forerunners to, classics of, and offshoots from the short story proper.  Without losing sight of the toolkit and skillset of literary analysis and the cultural context inextricable from each work, we’ll look at a wide range of short forms that are driven more by argument that plot, concepts than characters, allegorical than literal sense, social classes than psychologies, and estrangement than familiarity.  These forms include parables, prose-poems, stories of “ratiocination” and detection, the ghost tale, and what Borges called “fantastic literature,” a fanciful form of expository writing that would be factual in the alternate universes where heresies and discredited theories had been proven right instead of those that disproved them.  The emphasis of the class will definitively be on crafting argumentative papers (that are factual in this universe), with a heavy emphasis on graded revision and pre-writing exercises and workshops, even if we arrive somewhat circuitously to the essay in our readings.

Mandatory books:

Weston, Anthony.  A Rulebook for Arguments (3rd ed: 0872205525 )

The Story and its Writer, ed. Ann Charters (7th ed: 0312442718 )

Caricature, Daniel Clowes ( 1560974583 )

The Dupin Stories, Edgar Allen Poe ( 9780679643425 )

A seriously substantial reader (possibly in multiple volumes)

Possible reading nodes include:

Detectives and detection: Poe – Dupin Cycle; Borges – “Death and the Compass”, Isidoro Parodi stories (w/Bioy Casares); Rampo – “Psychology Test”, [“The Walker in the Attic”?]; Death and the Compass (Alex Cox, 2003); Akutagawa Ryunosuke, “In a Grove”

Parables: Selections from Ovid’s Metamorphosis; Toranic/Talmudic parables; Kafka – “Silence of the Sirens”, “Prometheus”, “Coat of Arms,” “Before the Law”

Ghost Stories: Poe – “The Premature Burial”; [Nakagami Kenji – “The Immortal”]; E.T.A. Hoffmann – “The Sandman”; Poe – “William Wilson” ; Selections from Rilke’s Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

The Prose Poem and Short Narrative Poetry: Baudelaire – “Beat the Poor”, etc.; Poe – “Man of the Crowd”; Juan Gelman – Selections from Cólera Buey; Nicanor Parra – Selections from Poemas y Antipoemas; Hans Maria Enzenburger – selections from Untergang der Titanic

The “Classic” Short Story: Poe – “Telltale Heart”; Gogol – “The Overcoat”

The Hardboiled/boiled-down micronarrative: Hemingway – “The Killers”; film: The Killers (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1958, 19min); Selection from Hammett’s Black Mask stories

Logical Puzzles and Knots: Borges – “Garden of Forking Paths”; Cortazar – “Continuity of parks”; Sasturain – “Estos Trece”

It’s so horrible I can’t even tell you: Kafka – “Cares of a Family Man”, “In the Penal Colony”; Komatsu Sakyo – “The Savage Mouth”; Isak Dinesen – “The Blue Jar”, “The Blank Page”; Lovecraft – “Call of Cthulhu”

Politics: Cortazar – “Taken House”; Kenzaburo Oe – “Human Sheep”, Isidoro Blaisten – “Las Tarmas”

Minimalism, banality, naturalism: Murakami Haruki – “Where I’m Likely to Find It”; Borges – “The South”; Lydia Davis – Selections from Break it Down; Sloane Crosley – “The Pony Problem”; Raymond Carver – “What we talk about when we talk about love”; film: Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993)

Reflexive writing—stories that are essays about writing stories, essays that are stories about writing essays: Melville – “Bartleby the Scrivner”; Raymond Queneau – “A Bit of Glory” (!!!); Borges – “Shakespeare’s Memory,” “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” “Funes the Memorious”; Kafka – “Josephine the Singer”, “The Burrow”, “The Truth About Sancho Panza”; film: Film (A Screen Play by Samuel Beckett) (David Rayner Clark, 1979)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.008: Contested Borderlines

17239
S. Sayar
T/Th 3:30-5:00
109 Wheeler

This course will focus on developing increasingly sharper close analysis, concise composition and creative research skills.  We will examine literary works that originate in or concern contested territories and borderlines, particularly Israel-Palestine and US-Mexico.  We will observe the boundaries of national, gender and sexual identity, as well as the (supposed) boundaries of language, as we expand the limits of our cultural perspectives.   Most importantly, we will learn from these border-crossing and -defying works how to negotiate the unresolvable contradictions that inevitably arise when closely reading literature, and how to powerfully account for these in our analytic writing instead of resorting to facile, non-critical “reviews”.

Readings will include:

Genesis (Tr. by Robert Alter)

Selected Poem of Rumi

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist by Emile Habiby

The Fire Stays in Red by Ronny Someck

Persian Brides by Dorit Rabinian

In Spite of Partition by Gil Hochberg

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.009: Invisible Music: The Centrality of Music in the Margins

17242
T. Singleton
T/Th 5-6:30
189 Dwinelle

“You’re hidden right out in the open – that is, you would be only if you realized it.” -Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

A silent character, characterized by sound: music, floats through some literature like the ghost of someone who died much too soon to speak of it. Why can’t we speak of it, or rather, why do we speak of it when perhaps it could be sung? This class explores the relationship that literature has to music when that relationship is problematic. What happens when the loudest character can’t be heard, or in some cases seen? What is the product or byproduct?

We will discuss these questions and also see what happens when we read these texts in conjunction with the music that is central but never heard in the texts themselves. For example, we will listen to Ralph Ellison’s selections of Louis Armstrong and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony that Alejo Carpantier’s text is timed to. In the cases of texts that do not mention specific music, we will listen to some of the musical adaptations that sprung from them.

Required Texts:

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.

Gayle Jones, Corregidora.

Poetry from The Hebrew Bible, “Lamentations”, “Song of Songs” from

The Defiant Muse: Hebrew Feminist Poems from Antiquity to the Present

Alejo Carpantier, The Chase.

Emily Dickenson, Selected Poems.

Films & Television:

The Jazz Singer, 1927

When the Levees Broke, 2006

Recommended texts:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers by Joseph Gibaldi, 6th edition.            ISBN: 0873529863

*This text is optional but strongly recommended.  It is a very helpful guide to improving the quality of your writing. It has not been ordered from the campus bookstore, but should be easily available from an online bookseller.

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.010: Fiction of the Novel: Tradition, Genre, and Reference

17245
B. Clancy
MWF 10-11:00
89 Dwinelle

This course will focus on texts in antiquity and the medieval period to establish a preliminary understanding of genre and narrative before venturing into the aesthetics of the novel form. We will then consider how in certain twentieth-century texts, the narrative language works across several trajectories of meaning that in turn create points of contact with multiple fields of reference both inside and outside of the novels themselves: literary traditions and genres, self-referential or meta-narrative discourse, philosophy, social-historical actuality, politics, and experience. Starting with these questions, we will begin to explore novelistic linguistic technique from the point of view of its potential implications for aesthetics more broadly, but especially in terms of the formation of genre in literary history.

Reading List:

Aristotle, Poetics

Homer, The Odyssey

Virgil, The Aeneid

Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

Stéphane Mallarmé, Prose Writings

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

James Joyce, Ulysses

Franz Kafka, The Trial

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.012: What shall I do with my blouse? Women, Eroticism, and the Power of the Pen

17251
J DeAngelis & S. Chihaya
T/Th 11-12:30
215 Dwinelle

“Into the fire with it too, my pet,” answers the wolf in Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves,” a postmodern feminist rendition of the classic fairy tale, “Little Red Riding Hood,” where the girl performs a seductive striptease for the wolf.  Though frequently the subjects of men’s stories, women spent ages on the margins of the authorial literary landscape.  This class will explore how female authors have negotiated a space for themselves in a male-dominated literary world, and specifically how they have re-treated the female body and the erotic, so frequently the subjects of men’s stories.  Our readings and analyses will span from the connection between rape and rhetoric discernable in some Medieval and Early Modern works to twentieth-century feminist literary engagement with the violent pornography of the Marquis de Sade.

Readings may include:

Poetry by Sylvia Plath, Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Maya Angelou, and others

Chaucer, The Wife of Bath’s “Prologue” and “Tale”

Selections from Chrétien de Troyes, Erec and Enide

Selections from Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron

Selections from Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron

Selections from the works of the Marquis de Sade

Select classic fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and others

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber

Selections from Sigmund Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Caryl Churchill, Top Girls

Virginia Woolf:  Orlando  (We will also study the film.)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.013: Eating and Being Eaten

Instructor: Katrina Dodson

17254
K. Dodson & S. Setter
T/Th 9:30-11:00
155 Barrows

“The mouth, tongue, and teeth find their primitive territoriality in food.  In giving themselves over to the articulation of sounds, the mouth, tongue, and teeth deterritorialize. Thus, there is a certain disjunction between eating and speaking, and even more, despite all appearances, between eating and writing.” So write Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. In this course, we will explore the disjunctions and connections between food, eating, speaking, and writing.Through texts in which food or the act of eating plays a central role, we will consider 1) the relationship between food, pleasure, and society; 2) literary and cultural appropriations of gastronomic metaphors, such as literary cannibalism and raw and cooked cultures; 3) how food plays a key role in social, political, sexual, religious, and ethical practices.

Questions that will guide our semester-long reflection include: How do food and language negotiate the circulatory network of consumption, digestion, and production? How does eating, like language, extend beyond bodily functions to express and influence social relations, political agendas, and aesthetic and ethical considerations?

Readings may include:

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Oswald de Andrade, The Cannibalist Manifesto

Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist

Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats

Harold Pinter, One for the Road

Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma (excerpt)

Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons (excerpt)

Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.014: Mourning and Modernity

17257
S. Herbold
T/Th 9:30-11:00
225 Dwinelle

“Oh, my Lolita, I have only words to play with!”—Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Modernity has often been described as pervaded by a sense of loss and fragmentation. 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. All of our texts could be described as acts of mourning that attempt to restore what has been lost, but also to leave the past behind. Stylistically, these texts often take strikingly innovative forms that compel us to forsake traditional reading modes. We will study how, through the act of writing, these writers negotiate the tension between longing to preserve the past and desiring to move forward into the present (and future). In particular, we will analyze how, and to what effect, these texts’ formal characteristics create continuity or disruption between reader, writer, characters, and time past.

Reading List:

Virgil, Aeneid

Book of Genesis (excerpt, in reader)

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Marguerite Duras, The Lover

Allen Ginsberg, “Kaddish”

Georg Lukacs, “Integrated civilisations” and “The historico-philosophical conditioning of the novel” (in reader)

Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia” (in reader)

Walter Benjamin, “The Storyteller” (in reader)

Sarah Herbold, Learning to Write in Comparative Literature 1A and 1B (in reader)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.015: Irony

17260
K. Zumhagen-Yekple
MWF 10-11:00
262 Dwinelle

Irony is not something in an object that you either “get” or fail to “get”: irony “happens” for you (or, better, you make it “happen”) when two meanings, one said and the other unsaid, come together, usually with a certain critical edge. Š it is the element of response–of active participation, both intellectual and affective–that makes for the power.–Linda Hutcheon

Irony involves a gap or incongruity between what a speaker or writer says and what is understood.  It may be defined as the conflict of two meanings which has a dramatic structure peculiar to itself: initially, one meaning, the appearance, presents itself as the obvious truth.  When the context of this meaning unfolds, in depth or in time, however, it discloses a conflicting meaning, the reality, measured against which the first meaning now seems false or limited and, in its self-assurance, blind to its own situation.

In this course, we will look at literary and theoretical texts in order to examine the disjunction between language and meaning, appearance and reality, that characterizes irony in its many forms and uses (verbal, tragic, dramatic and situational).  Using examples of ironic moments taken from a range of low- and high-culture media (fiction, philosophy, academic discourse, film, visual art, television and popular music performances), we will look at the series of elements that work together to make irony happen: its critical edge; its semantic complexity; the discursive communities that make irony possible: the role of intention and attribution in irony; its contextual framing and marker as well as the social and political setting for the use of irony.  We will examine irony as rhetorical trope, as way of seeing the world, as philosophical tool or means of political dissent.  We will also examine some of the ways in which this strange mode of discourse differs from parody parable, metaphor or allegory (all of which demand similar supplementing of meaning), which like them it works to impart special kinds of insight and understanding which some “get”, and some do not.

Readings will be chosen from among the following texts:

Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

William Shakespeare, Othello

Jonathan Swift “A Modest Proposal”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Samuel Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

James Joyce, “Araby”

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room

Samuel Becket, Waiting for Godot

Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, “Good Country People”

Eudora Welty, The Ponder Heart

David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction,” selected essays

Sarah Vowell, selected essays

Viewings may include:

The Simpsons, selected episodes

Charles Chaplin, City Lights

Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest

Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction

A Reader will also contain excerpts from the following texts:

Sigmund Freud, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious

Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Irony, with Constant Reference to Socrates

Linda Hutcheon, Irony¹s Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony

Wayne C. Booth, A Rhetoric of Irony

Course Catalog Number:

R3B.001: Voices from the Margins

17263
K. Spira
T/Th 9:30-11:00 & an additional tutorial hour will be established
223 Wheeler

Prerequisite: AP Spanish in high school or score of 3 or better on AP Exam, Spanish 4 or 25, or native speaker with adequate skills for the class.  A brief oral examination of Spanish will be given the first day of class.

From its inception, Latin American literature has taken the status and fate of socially marginalized groups as one of its principle concerns.  In this course we will analyze how representations of indigenous populations, slaves, and members of regional cultures change as they move across genres and evolve as they move through time.  We will read texts composed both by authors who come from socially marginalized groups and by those who occupy positions of power in society but choose to write about society’s “others.”  While this distinction will be important in guiding our discussion, we will also keep in mind that from a global perspective Latin American literature as a whole is often considered peripheral.  We will study Latin America’s relationship with Europe and North America through reading both literary and critical texts that engage the subject.

This course will be conducted in both English and Spanish.  Students will read the literary texts in the original, and we will hold up to half of our discussions in Spanish.  This course is writing intensive and satisfies the second part of the R & C requirement (R1B).  Students will write papers in English.

Readings:

“El etnógrafo,” Jorge Luis Borges

“Es que somos muy pobres,” Juan Rulfo

Selections from Los comentarios reales, el Inca Garcilaso

“Nuestra América,” José Martí

“Las alturas de Macchu Picchu,” Pablo Neruda

Motivos de son and selected poems, Nicolás Guillén

Sab, Gertrúdis Gomez de Avellaneda

Yawar Fiesta, José María Arguedas

Selected critical and theoretical articles to be collected in a reader

Course Catalog Number:

Undergraduate

41E: Documentary Film: Fact and Fiction

17281
M. Barzilai
MW 4-5:30
243 Dwinelle
Film Screenings Mon. 2-4:00,  203 Wheeler

The popularity of documentary film has risen greatly over the past decade (witness the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 and The March of the Penguins, among many others), but the genre also has a long history, dating back to the silent films of the 20s. Discussing films produced largely in the United States and Europe, this course surveys some of the major developments in documentary filmmaking.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

41C: Tragedy and the Novel

Instructor: Paul Haacke

17278
P. Haacke
T/Th 9:30-11:00
20 Wheeler

In contrast to traditional theories of the modern novel, which consider its origins in the ancient epic, this course will examine how novels have both inherited and subverted many of the time-honored conventions of tragedy. We will start with Aristotle’s key concepts of the genre(mimesis and plot, empathy and terror, recognition and reversal, character and error) and examples of tragic drama by Sophocles and Euripides. For the rest of the semester we will consider how tragic concepts, methods and themes have been developed and transformed in novels more often categorized in terms of the gothic, science fiction, romanticism, realism, modernism, postmodernism, or post-colonialism.

In addition to reading challenging fiction, criticism and philosophy, assignments will include a short diagnostic essay, regular writing responses, one mid-term essay, and one final essay.

Books will likely be selected from the following:

Aristotle, Poetics

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Euripides, Medea

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

J.W. von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Stendhal, The Red and the Black

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Andre Gide, The Immoralist

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Alain Robbe-Grillet, The Erasers

Reader with selections from: Walter Kaufmann, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukacs, Peter Szondi, Peter Brooks, Raymond Williams, Terry Eagleton, Edward Said, Anne Anlin Cheng, Michael McKeon, Alain-Robbe-Grillet, Toni Morrison, and others

Course Catalog Number:

60AC: Topics in the Literatures of American Cultures

Democratic Verses: The Political and the Literary

17287
M. Bhaumik
T/Th 9:30-11:00
121 Wheeler

In the wake of one of the most performative presidential elections in U.S. history, this class takes up the task of how to read between political and literary texts by particularly centering on how democracy emerges in American literature during various historical periods.  We will delve into how divergent articulations of democracy emerge from the American Revolution and continue until today. We will see how poets, novelists, essayists and Saturdaty Night Live comedians attempt to represent a political ethos through literary techniques.  In addition, we will see how the “minor literatures” of the United States have posed counter-narratives to tales of American suffrage, possibility, perpetual peace and emancipation.  Students will develop tools to examine the relationship between literary form and the political ideal of freedom.  We will analyze the figure of the citizen and non-citizen in the archive of American Literature.  Finally, we will broach the question of responsibility as readers of American Literature.  What is, as Henry David Thoreau as, the “duty” of the citizen?

Books

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899)

John Okada, No-No Boy (1957)

Tomas Rivera, Y no se lo tragó la tierra (And the Earth Did Not Devour Him) (1971 and English translation 1977)

Americo Paredes, George Washington Gomez (1990)

Tony Kushner, Angels in America: ‘A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (first performed in 1990)

A substantial course reader will be assigned as well.  Please don’t buy books until after the first day of class.

Course Catalog Number:

100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

Thinking About Things

Instructor: Sophie Volpp

17302
Sophie Volpp
T/Th 11-12:30
106 Wheeler

In this introductory course to the study of comparative literature, we will consider the role that objects and things play in a series of fictional narratives, asking how we might understand such objects as a western telescope featured in Li Yu’s mid-seventeenth century Chinese short story “A Tower for the Summer Heat,” or the tiki bowls sold in a Detroit junk shop in Michael Zadoorian’s  novel Second-Hand.   The “things” of fiction are often glossed over and read through, yet a growing body of critical literature now is attempting to make sense of how we read “things,” even and especially when they seem to have a non-symbolic significance.  We will read a series of texts written at historical moments when proliferation of “thing culture” was particularly pressing, asking how we might conceptualize the role of objects in creating and dispelling the effect of the real in fiction, and  how we might conceive of the relation of the material world outside the text to the world within. We’ll also engage in close readings of objects in our everyday environment, and engage in research on the objects featured in the texts we read. Texts to be read include Henry James, The Spoils of Poynton;  Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone; Shen Fu, Six Records of a Floating Life; Michael Zadorian, Second Hand; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; short stories by Li Yu, Feng Menglong, Ling Mengchu, Pu Songling and Lao She.

Course Catalog Number:

100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

War Stories

17305
Kathy McCarthy
T/Th 12:30-2:00
101 Wheeler

This course will focus on literature that attempts to represent and make sense of war.  Although our reading will include some instances of battlefield narratives, we will spend most of our time on works that take up the effects of war beyond the battlefield, including the effects on communities, on women, on prisoners, on occupied populations, and on veterans.  This course will have two primary goals: the first is to deepen our understanding of how people have experienced war in different cultures and how they have used literary works both to represent their own experience and to attempt to influence political and military decisions; the second is to study the role of literary form in getting these ideas/experiences across to an audience, in particular using these works as a case study in the ways that the ancient genres of epic and tragedy are in dialogue with the modern genres of novel and film (lyric poetry will provide an example of a genre that cuts across these historical periods).  The readings will be mostly from ancient Greek and Roman literature and from 19th and 20th century French and English literature.  There will be some required screenings of films and of modern performances of ancient drama; these may be scheduled in the evening.  Course requirements will include at least three papers (the longest of which will be in the 8-12 pp. range), some shorter writing assignments (such as response papers, reviews and bibliographies), and a final exam.

Course Catalog Number:

112B: Modern Greek Composition

M/W/F 12:00-01:00 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

17308
Maria Kotzamanidou
MWF 12-1:00
225 Dwinelle

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

Prerequisites: Comparative Literature 112A or consent of the instructor.

A reader for the course is prepared by the instructor.

Course Catalog Number: 17308

151/LGBT 145; Classics 161: The Ancient Mediterranean World

History of Sexualities

Instructor: Leslie Kurke

17311
Leslie Kurke
MWF 12-1:00
213 Wheeler
Discussion Sections: F 12-1, 80 Barrows, F 1-2 109 Wheeler, F 1-2 221 Wheeler. Comparative Lit Majors please sign up for Section 103 as this section will be led by Professor Kurke.

This course will study sexuality and gender in two very different historical periods–ancient Greece and 19th-century Europe.  Sexuality will be defined as including sexual acts (e.g. sodomy, pederasty, masturbation); sexual identities (e.g. erastes and eromenos); and sexual systems (e.g. kinship structures, subcultures, political hierarchies).  Readings and lectures will focus on situating queer sexualities relative to dominant organizations of sex and gender.  Topics will include Greek democracy and male homosexuality; the biology of sexual difference; the politics of sodomy; “romantic” friendship between women and men; and the emergence of strictly defined homosexual and heterosexual identities.  We will read literary texts along with historical documents and secondary readings to constitute a comparative analysis of ancient Greece and 19th-century Europe.

Authors to be read include Hesiod, Sappho, Aeschylus, Plato, Wilde, Freud, and Foucault.

There will be two papers and a final exam.  There will also be regular weekly writing assignments that will count towards your final grade.

(Also listed as LGBT 145 and Classics 161)

Course Catalog Number:

155: The Modern Period

Episodes From Modern Poetry: César Vallejo & American Lyric

Instructor: Robert Kaufman

17323
Robert Kaufman
T/Th 11-12:30
87 Dwinelle
For Comp Lit Major this course can count as CL 190 with Instructor’s permission

[Please Note: (1) although this course has no Spanish-language requirement, much of the poetry and criticism will be read in both the original Spanish and in English translation; it will therefore be of great benefit for students if they possess at least intermediate-level proficiency in Spanish, i.e., the ability to interpret and analyze Spanish texts for form and content. (2) Students will likewise find it extremely helpful to have some basic familiarity with both 19th and 20thcentury poetry (particularly Spanish, English, French and/or German romanticism, impressionism and symbolism, modernism and avant-gardism). (3) Students may, with the instructor’s permission, write a substantially longer final paper and take the course as Comparative Literature 190.]

The Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938) is one of modernism’s greatest and, at least posthumously, most influential poets, known for both artistic and sociopolitical radicalism (the latter eventually developing for him into an intense involvement with and commitment to marxism). His poetry offers generative, at once bracingly experimental and bitingly reality-based possibilities to poets, critics, and other readers throughout the 20th and now the 21st century. Like many artists who come of age early in the 20th century, Vallejo effectively begins his career with romantic and symbolist poetics all but second nature to him; he proceeds to adopt and extend “advanced” formal and thematic experimentation as intended critique, radicalization, and modernization of romanticism and symbolism themselves, and as an intended contribution towards the development of modern poetry’s capacities dynamically to engage, from the Left, the 20th century’s dramatically altered social landscape. While becoming a key figure in modern poetry, Vallejo was also intensely involved in the political life of his native Perú and the rest of Latin America, as well as Spain (whose Civil War he, like so many, became caught up in), and France (where he spent most of the rest of his life after leaving Perú).

We’ll spend the first half¬-possibly almost the first 2/3¬-of the course reading Vallejo.  We’ll pay special attention to his: formidable imaginative energies and intellectual reach; terrific feel for how to work with and stretch inherited poetic forms and genres; singular formal-technical innovations at the level of line, syntax, phrase, syllable, accent, and even phoneme; virtuosic abilities with traditional and novel orchestrations of lyric musicality; profound existential, ethical, and political engagement; and sheer overall poetic talent and ambition.  All this will allow us to see, among other things, how Vallejo’s rigorous investigations and enactments–in verse and criticism–of the compound question “what is poetry, what is aesthetic experience, what is modernism, what is politics and ethics, what might–or should, or should not–bring them all together?” will yield intriguing, often unexpected results (and not only in terms of the relationships obtaining in modern poetry among pleasure, estrangement, judgment, form, structure, genre, aesthetic autonomy, sociohistorical content, and ethical-political commitment).

For the last 1/2 or 1/3 of the course we’ll read Latin American, US, and European poets and critics whose work is marked in significant part by their encounters with Vallejo’s poetry.  In addition to criticism by Vallejo himself and by other poets and critics, we’ll read some of the philosophers whose work was most crucial to Vallejo, including Kant, Feuerbach, Marx, and José Carlos Mariátegui. The ways that Vallejo’s poems appear to grasp or transform these 19th and 20th century political-philosophical texts¬-and the ways later poets grasp Vallejo’s art and criticism¬-may prove telling, not only vis-à-vis modern poetry’s relations to politics and ethics, but also with regard to this poetry’s Peruvian-Latin American, American, and international character.

Course Catalog Number:

165: Myth and Literature

Comparative Mythology: Celtic, Norse, and Greek

Instructor: Annalee Rejhon

17329
Annalee Rejhon
T/TH 2-3:30
109 Wheeler

This course can be used to satisfy the Classical Literature Requirement for Comp Lit majors

A study of Indo-European mythology as it is preserved in some of the earliest myth texts in Celtic, Norse, and Greek literatures.  The meaning of myth will be examined and compared from culture to culture to see how this meaning may shed light on the ethos of each society as it is reflected in its literary works.  The role of oral tradition in the preservation of early myth will also be explored.  The Celtic texts that will be read are the Irish Second Battle of Mag Tuired and The Táin, and in Welsh, the tales of Lludd and Llefelys and Math; the Norse texts will include Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, the Ynglinga Saga, and the Poetic Edda; the Greek texts are Hesiod’s Theogony and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.  All texts will be available in English translation.

Course requirements include a midterm and final examination.

No prerequisites.

Reading List:

Fitzgerald, Robert, tr.  The Odyssey.  Farrar, Straus & Girous, 1998.

Ford, Patrick K., tr.  The Mabinogi & Other Medieval Welsh Tales.  Univ. of California Press, 1977.

Gray, Elizabeth, ed. & tr.  Cath Maige Tuired:  Second Battle of Mag Tuired.  Irish Texts Society, 1982.

Kinsella, Thomas, tr.  The Táin.  Oxford Univ. Press, 1970

Lattimore, Richmond, tr. The Iliad of Homer.  Univ. of Chicago Press, 1961.

________________, tr.  Hesiod: The Works and Days—Theogony.  Univ. of Michigan Press, 1991.

Young, Jean  I., tr.  The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson.  Univ. of California Press, 1964.

Course Catalog Number:

170: Special Topics in Comparative Literature

The Literature of Need: Historical, Social and Economic Context, 1930-1975

Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

17332
Maria Kotzamanidou
F 2-5:00
125 Dwinelle

The forty five year period between 1930-1975, between the two dictatorships, that of Ioannis Metaxas in 1936 and that of the Colonels’ junta of 1967, present enough historical, social and economic challenges to mark an entire century.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

170: Special Topics in Comparative Literature

Anime

Instructor: Miryam Sas

17335
M. Sas
T/TH 2-3:30
142 Dwinelle
Film Screenings: Mon 5-7 142 Dwinelle, Also a weely discussion section on Thurs 2-:3:30 in 223 Dwinelle or 103 Moffit

Japanese Visual Culture: “Anime.” This course is an introduction to Japanese animation, or anime, from its earliest forms (in relationship to manga) to recent digital culture, art, and games.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

The Modernist Masterpiece

17341
Michael Bernstein
T/TH 2-3:30
210 Dwinelle

Although our subject is “The Modernist Masterpiece as a Genre and a Goal,” I will not be concentrating solely upon the relationships of the works we are reading to any single over-arching motif, nor to various more traditional literary-philosophical taxonomies. Instead, I want to explore a set of works whose specific family resemblance will only emerge as our discussion itself unfolds. Close attention will be paid to the ways in which each of these writers experimented with the technical issues of form and structure as well as with their innovative use of new thematic materials.

In the first part of the semester, we will be reading texts and listening to music by several of the most important modernists figures involved in both the theoretical conception and the artistic creation of a new sense of what a masterpiece entails. These figures, in all likelihood, will include Wordsworth, Baudelaire, Wagner, Eliot, and Celan. In the second part of the semester we will read James Joyce’s Ulysses, the archetypal modernist prose masterpiece. Regular and active in-class participation and a willingness to engage in copious reading are the principal prerequisites for the course.

Required Texts

James Joyce, Ulysses, Random House (paperback)

The Course reader and various hand-outs

Course Catalog Number:

190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

Songs and Sonnets: Lyric Poetry and Selfhood

Instructor: Timothy Hampton

17338
Timothy Hampton
MWF 10-11:00
203 Wheeler

“You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet?” -Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

In this seminar we will study the relationship between poetic form and the representation of the self in language. Through close readings of work by a number of major lyric poets from the Renaissance to the present, we will consider the ways in which poetic subjectivity and literary form interact.  We will study a variety of poetic forms, ranging from the epigram to the song.  However, the thread that will guide our inquiry will be the history of the sonnet–at once the briefest and most widely used poetic form in the modern Western literary tradition. We will ask how and why this strange little verse form has become the privileged poetic medium for the exploration of human subjectivity. We will begin by focusing on the work of a few particularly influential poets (Shakespeare, Petrarch, Baudelaire, Darío, Rilke), before branching out to study other writers whose work engages traditions of sonnet writing–from the Renaissance to the contemporary avant-garde. Among the topics to be considered: How do different poetic forms interact and draw from each other’s conventions? How does lyric poetry register the experience of loss or mourning? How does it depict the body?  What can it teach us about political power? How does it figure gender? What happens when the sonnet travels to America? How are poems like money?

Students will have the opportunity to develop projects drawing on their own interests and linguistic competencies.  Because we will be reading a certain amount of material in bi-lingual editions, we will also take some time to talk about the problems faced by translators of poetry. Reading knowledge of some language in which sonnets are written is a pre-requisite. Students will be asked to write two short papers, a longer comparative paper, and to do a class presentation. Come prepared to read slowly.

Books on order:

Petrarch, Petrarch’s lyric poems, trans. Durling (Harvard UP) ISBN 978-9674663480

Shakespeare, Sonnets, ed. Orgel (Pelican Shakespeare: Penguin) ISBN 978-01400714531

Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil, Ed. Culler  (Oxford World’s Classics) ISBN 978-6199535583

Rilke, New Poems, trans. North (North Point Press) ISBN 978-065476127

Darío, Songs of Love and Hope.  (Duke University Press) ISBN: 978-0822332718

Recommended:

The Oxford Book of Sonnets.

Course Catalog Number:

Graduate

200: Approaches to Comparative Literature

An Introduction to the Comparative Study of Literature

Instructor: Robert Alter

17380
Robert Alter
M 2-5:00
211 Dwinelle

The course will concentrate on two enduring 20th-century works of comparative theory and criticism, Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis and M.M. Bakhtin’s The Dialogic Imagination, which will be read in conjunction with two ancient books and one modern novel, the Odyssey, Genesis, and Joyce’s Ulysses.

Course Catalog Number:

202C: Approaches to Genre: The Novel

The Mysteries of Paris--Utopia, Salvation, and the Urban Gothic

Instructor: Eric Naiman

17383
Eric Naiman
TH 2-5
129 Barrows

This seminar will focus on a lengthy reading of The Mysteries of Paris, Eugene Sue’s fantastically popular and very long serialized novel of the 1840s.  We will examine in detail the narrative and ideological peculiarities of the novel and pay particular attention to its debt to the Gothic novel and to its successors in urban fiction.  In addition to Sue’s novel, we will read Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of  the Sublime and the Beautiful, Fedor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens.

Please note a reading knowledge of French or Russian is not required, texts will be available in translation.

Course Catalog Number:

212: Studies in Medieval Literature

Medieval (Latin) Love Lyrics

Instructor: Frank Bezner

17385
Frank Bezner
Wed 2-5:00
201 Wheeler

While much has been written on medieval vernacular love lyrics and the concept of ‘courtly love’, love poems written in Latin have gained much less attention. In consequence, this course will not just discuss some of the inevitable (and complex) big questions in medieval poetry (e.g. manuscript setting; performance; variance; unreliabilty of the speaker; ‘courtly love’). Rather, the course hopes to become an intellectual laboratory, in which we develop reading strategies and critical concepts for a (comparatively) understudied genre: how do medieval Latin love poems function as literary works? What is their relationship to the rich and complex cultural intellectual and social environment in which they originated, the (so-called) ‘Renaissance of the Twelfth Century’? And what springs from a close comparison with contemporary vernacular texts (esp. in Middle High German): marked difference, unexpected similarities, or even common ground?

In the first weeks of the course we will be close reading medieval Latin, Middle High German and ancient love poems (esp. Ovid), both in translation and in the original. Then, after a discussion of the most important critical approaches, we will study the complex genre from a number of interrelated systematic perspectives.

Three papers: (i) review of a seminal work of scholarship; (ii) literary analysis of one or more poems; (iii) research paper related to the texts, themes, and questions of the course.

Pre-requisite: preparation in Latin

Books:

P.G. Walsh, Love Lyrics from the Carmina Burana, 1993

Course Reader

Course Catalog Number:

C 221: Aesthetics as Critique

Marxian Aesthetics, Literary Theory & Criticism: Some Classic Texts

Instructor: Robert Kaufman

17386
Robert Kaufman
T 2-5:00
233 Dwinelle

Note: This course is cross-listed with Rhetoric 221 and is also approved for coursework in the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory

Though marxian theory will inevitably be one of its chief concerns, this seminar will not be primarily a course in marxian theory’s relations to aesthetics, literary theory, and/or criticism–much less a course in marxian theory itself.  Rather, the seminar will reconsider in a very sustained manner some classic, highly influential texts within marxian thought that virtually take for granted–or at least take extraordinarily seriously–the existence, and the importance to cognition (and therefore to critical thought and agency), of a distinct mode of human experience and activity known as aesthetic (with a particularly crucial  version of aesthetic experience being found in the literary).  The classic texts we’ll read will likely include writings by Kant, Hegel, Marx and Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Lukács, Korsch, Brecht, Bloch, Benjamin, Adorno, Horkheimer, Sartre, Beauvoir, Williams, and Jameson

Course Catalog Number:

225: Studies in Symbolist and Modern Literature

Modernism and Minor Literature

Instructor: Chana Kronfeld

17389
Chana Kronfeld
W 2-5:00
186 Barrows

In this seminar we will look at international modernism through the prism of some of its decentered articulations. Calling into question Deleuze and Guattari’s still influential thesis that a “truly minor” literature can only be written in a major language, we will try to unpack the diversities of modernism in a variety of historically non-hegemonic works in the participants’ languages of study, including – but not limited to– Hebrew and Yiddish. Focusing on poetry, we will examine modernist trends and works in their historical and (trans)national contexts, with participants introducing the seminar group to examples from their literatures. These works will then help us read critically a variety of competing theoretical and historiographic models of literary mosdernism on the one hand, and of minor literature on the other. The poetry of the marginalized American Yiddish modernist Anna Margolin (1887–1952) will serve us as a textual anchor.

Pre-requisite: Preparation in two languages. Students will work on texts in their languages in the original. Collaborative work will be encouraged.

Readings:

*Drunk From The Bitter Truth: The Poems of Anna Margolin (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005) (Series:Women Writers in Translation; bilingual edition) (Hardcover)

*Course Reader

Course Catalog Number: