Reading and Composition (R&C)

R1A.002: Nowheresville

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 229 Dwinelle Instructor: Jordan Greenwald Marianne Kaletzky

Comp Lit R1A:2
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
229 Dwinelle
CCN: 17206
J.Greenwald & M. Kaletzky

Where does literature take place? We usually think of setting as a mundane element that we briefly acknowledge before moving on to the more compelling features of plot and character. This course will move setting from the background to the foreground.

Our class takes place in Nowheresville or, as the narrator of Don Quixote declares, “a place whose name I do not wish to remember.” » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17206

R1A.004: Love

Comp Lit R1A:4
Tu/Th 11-12:30
229 Dwinelle
CCN 17212
L. Forrest-White & M. Renolds

I love you: Who says this? Who/what is this I, who/what is this you, & what is happening in the loving? In this class, we will look at many possible ways to answer this question, from philosophia to patriotism, from lovesickness to familial love. Along the way, we intend to create new & nurture old love affairs: the love of reading & the love of writing, of course! This course will have several short essay assignments (4 pages) and their resultant revision, culminating in a 5-6 page paper at the semester’s end.

Required Texts:

Phaedrus Plato

The Great Gatsby F.S. Fitzgerald

King Lear Shakespeare

Eugene Onegin Pushkin

Course Reader

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.005: Like a Virgin: Chastity in Literature

Instructor: Katie Kadue

Comp Lit R1A:5
Tu/Th 8-9:30
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17215
K. Kadue

When chastity works, nothing happens. A story centered on the absence of sex might not sound like much of a story at all, but chastity, along with its sister virtues of modesty and moderation, has long been a hot topic for hit plays and best-selling novels.

In this course, we will see what happens, or doesn’t happen, when men and women try to control women’s (and, less often, men’s) bodies, and when chastising husbands get chastened themselves. We will meet pious “revirginators” and impotent schoolmasters, ice princesses and coy mistresses, cuckolds and cads, and multiple virgins who turn into trees. We will ask what cultural obsessions with preserving sexual purity have to do with discourses of public morality, public health, and environmentalism. We will try not to get frustrated when texts don’t easily surrender their meanings, and we will even try to think of reading as something other than forcing texts to give something up to us.

This is a writing-intensive course, with an emphasis on the salutary self-chastening process of revision, and students will be asked to complete short creative writing assignments as well as formal analytical essays.

Potential texts include:

Aristophanes, Lysistrata

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Ovid, Metamorphoses

Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe

Shakespeare, Othello

Milton, Comus

Molière, The School for Wives

Lafayette, The Princess of Clèves

Goethe, Elective Affinities

Joyce, “A Painful Case”

Lorca, The House of Bernarda Alba

Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

selected poems by Ronsard, Shakespeare, Donne, Herrick, Marvell,

Shelley, Hopkins


Sembène, Xala (1975)

Heckerling, Clueless (1995)

Herzog, Grizzly Man (2005)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.001: Urban Interiors

Instructor: Suzanne Scala

Comp Lit R1B:1
MWF 9-10:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17221
S. Scala

Flip through the cable channels and it’s easy to see that we, as a culture, are very interested in other people’s homes. From Hoarders, where we can gawk at other people’s misfortunes, to the home makeover reality shows on HGTV, you could spend a few hours a day peeping into others’ private spaces.

What’s so interesting about these spaces? Is our pleasure purely voyeuristic? What can you learn about other people from their homes? To explore these questions, we’ll peek into characters’ houses and apartments, both in text and on film. The course will focus on urban interiors, allowing us to examine the relationship between intimate interiors and public city streets. We’ll be asking whether there is a specific literature of apartments and apartment buildings, and move towards articulating the relationship between interior and exterior in these works. Students will respond to these questions through active class discussion and guided writing assignments (culminating in a research paper).

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.002: Clothing Makes the Man: The Politics of Drag

Comp Lit R1B:2
MWF 10-11:00
215 Dwinelle
CCN 17224
G. Bonetti& D. Thow

“Every time I bat my eyelashes it’s a political statement.”


Drag queens are not known for their subtlety.  But tucked away underneath the bedazzled outfit and the painted face is a scathing critique of gender categories.  You think a girl should have curves?  Well, it’s just a question of a little padding.  Eyelashes that can wink seductively?  All it takes is a few tricks from a make-up bag.  Should a lady sparkle?  Then my dress will be covered from head to toe in sequins.  The drag queen deconstructs the concept of femininity, embellishing and eventually reproducing the elements that “organically” or “naturally” belong to women in general.  Through exaggeration, drag reminds us how every element of gender is in some way constructed.  It forces us to think about the way we attach meanings to the body.

In this class, we’ll be looking at texts that hinge on a drag performance, understood here in a broad sense as a moment in which male or female cross-dressing becomes a vehicle for critique.  We’ll be exploring how drag calls attention to the “constructedness” of assumed categories, gender or otherwise.  Our sources will come from a variety of historical periods, and it will be our task to understand what is at stake in each drag performance.  What does it mean for a woman to perform as a man in a particular historical moment, and vice-versa?  How is drag linked to questions of desire, both queer and heterosexual?  In what way is every drag performance political?

Furthermore, we’ll be looking at drag not only as an object of study, but also as a metaphor for our own reading practice—what we’ll call “close reading.”  If it is true, as Erasmus states, that “clothing is to the body as style is to thought,” we’ll use drag to interrogate what makes each text uniquely “form-fitting.”  As readers and writers, we’ll consider our cultural objects as performances in their own right, with drag providing a model for us to think about the complex relations between form and content.

Texts will be chosen from the following:

Euripides, The Bacchae

Ariosto, Orlando Furioso

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Catalina De Erauso, Lieutenant Nun

Rachilde, Monsieur Vénus

Balzac, Sarrasine

George Moore, Albert Nobbs

David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly

Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues


Wilder, Some Like it Hot

Livingston, Paris is Burning

Elliot, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Almodovar, All About My Mother


A small reader will include a weekly writing workshop, as well as critical articles by Freud, Barthes, Butler, and Phyllis Rackin.

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.003: Strange Sensations

Comp Lit R1B:3
Tu/Th 5-6:30
262 Dwinelle
CCN 17227
B. Clancy

In everyday life, we seem to know an object when we see it, perhaps less when we hear it, but our senses don’t usually have a tendency to fool us, and far less often do they baffle us. In contrast, it happens quite often in literature that a clear and reliable relationship between sensation and perception does not exist. This course focuses on literary works after 1600 where the senses are not what they seem, where the interpretation of sensation through perception is radically different than what it might be in reality. Indeed literature might often be considered as a world where sensations become strange and perception somewhat astounding, or even terrifying. We will therefore look at how the relationship between the human senses and perception takes a radically different form in literature and the effect that this has on our understanding of these human faculties. What is the value of a literary world where the senses are not what they seem or where they seem to create altogether new objects? Here we might also consider themes like madness and magic, as well as philosophical terms like sense-data. In exploring these pressing literary issues, a large amount of analytical writing will be performed in this course. We will learn how to perform sophisticated close-readings of the assigned texts while examining the literary techniques that authors use in the exploration of the human senses. We will then learn how to interpret specific passages and form original arguments on the basis of our close-readings.

Required texts:

Aristotle, The Poetics

Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (this text will be read in selections)

Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil

 Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy

James Joyce, Ulysses (this text will be read in selections)

Alain Robbe-Grillet, The Voyeur





Course Catalog Number:

R1B.004: Transformations

Comp Lit R1B:4
Tu/Th 11-12:30
205 Dwinelle
CCN 17230
S. Cochran

In this course we will explore literature of transformation: texts in which characters, or entire communities, undergo some change of form or change of mind.  Something in these characters, plots, or even narrative structures gets rearranged or reconfigured.  We’ll think, too, about how literature can sometimes ask us to become different as readers, in order to interact with a text at all.  Exploring the topic of metamorphoses, even revolutions (internal ones and external sociopolitical ones too) can help us reconsider our assumptions about reading and interpretation, including how we interpret the world around us.  As we try changing the way we read—exploring different ways of approaching fictional works—we’ll discuss how we might look differently at the most basic structures and value systems in place in our own minds and in the political and human relations that surround us.

Considering how our own ideas can transform, we’ll focus especially on the processes of brainstorming and revision in our writing: how changing the language of our thoughts can change the thoughts themselves.  This will be a course in which we encounter great texts, reflect together on what we take from them, and express our individual interpretations in several longer, and shorter, papers designed to develop the best of skills in reading, writing, and research.

Franz Kafka, “The Metamorphosis”

Ovid, Metamorphoses (selections)

Charlotte Perkins Gillman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Shirley Jackson “We have always lived in the Castle”

Nella Larsen, Passing

Jane Campion, The Piano (film)

David Lynch, Mulholland Drive (film)

Selected poems of Gottfried Benn, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton


Course Catalog Number:

R1B.005: Telling Tales

Comp Lit R1B:5
Tu/Th 8-9:30
210 Dwinelle
CCN 17233
L. Wagner

In this course we’ll consider texts that reflect on and interrogate the act of storytelling in which they and their characters are engaged.  Each of the texts we’ll examine, whether a fairy tale or work of literary theory, Renaissance drama or Romantic poem, graphic novel or novel of ideas, is interested in the act of communication between storyteller and listener, or writer and reader, that characterizes the sharing of a story.  We’ll think about what forms these stories take when they come to us on the page or the stage and consider what’s at stake in the choice to tell a story in a particular way.  We’ll look at the relationship between stories and physical space, narrative and the self, and speech and the written word; we’ll question the ethics and politics of telling or receiving a story; we’ll interrogate the relationship between stories, memory, history, and trauma; and we’ll consider what happens to stories when language reaches its limits and communication break down.  Most importantly, we’ll devote ourselves to the development of critical reading, basic research, and analytical writing skills, learning to become careful readers of stories of all types and to better shape the critical stories that we tell in writing our own interpretations of literary texts.

 Required texts:

 The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Embassytown, China Miéville

Texaco, Patrick Chamoiseau

Maus, Art Spiegelman

“Max Ferber,” The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald

A course reader will include the following: “Eckbert the Fair” by Ludwig Tieck, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Storyteller” by Walter Benjamin, critical articles on selected primary texts that will serve as models for our own writing, and optional readings on writing and research.

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.006: Literature, Empathy, and Human Rights

Comp Lit R1B:6
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
156 Dwinelle
CCN 17236
I. Popescu & C.  Scholl

What are human rights? How did this concept begin and where? How can literature engage with human rights as a discourse and a practice? In this course we will be reading/viewing texts that deal with the issue of human rights through a variety of genres and media: graphic novels, novels, plays, poems, songs, photographs, and films. We will begin to explore how aesthetics and the manipulation of genre work on us as readers of texts that often deal with traumatic historical events. How do literature, film, and photography manipulate a reader’s empathy? What role have these genres and media played in calling such sentiments into being and normalizing them? The texts we read will come from several geographical regions and historical periods, and one of our tasks will be to critically evaluate distinct, sometimes problematic articulations of human rights as we begin to formulate a more global definition and understanding of them. In addition to literary texts, then, we will also read theoretical essays by scholars from Plato to Lynn Hunt to help us understand how literature contributes to the human rights discussion and vice versa.

Readings may include: Narrative of a Life of Fredrick Douglass, Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje, Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman, Maus (a Graphic Novel) by Art Spiegelman, short stories and/or poems by Julio Cortazar, Sherman Alexie, Americo Paderes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, and Pablo Neruda, among others.


Course Catalog Number:

R1B.007: Speaking Spanish in America’s Schools

Comp Lit R1B:7
Tu/Th 3:30-5:00
89 Dwinelle
CCN 17239
J. Caballero

For the Spanish-speaking population of America, in particular those populations intent on staying the rest of their lives, the classroom is a very loaded site for discussions of identity, assimilation, agency and citizenship.  Perhaps this is because many immigrants brought with them a Latin American ideology that puts education at the core of citizenship and the national project.  Or perhaps this conception of the high school as a factory for identities and a battleground to determine which identities can be recognized is as American as apple pie.  Regardless of the origins of these ideas, they’ve become a burning question in contemporary American politics, with state legislatures banning books and attacking tenured faculty to prevent the wrong histories or identities from being taught.  In this course, we’ll study various examples of the Latino Bildungsroman, looking at how innocuous fictions about getting zits and being late to gym class could become so hotly contested.

Note: This course has an intensive formal writing component, a research component, and an average weekly reading load of approximately 100 pages.

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Book List

–          Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands (2012 edition – 1879960850 )

–          Patrick Chamoiseau, Schooldays (1997 – 0803263767)

–          Junot Diaz: Oscar Wao (2007 – 1594483299)

–          Richard Rodriguez: Hunger for Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982 – 0553382519)

–          Esmerelda Santiago, “When I Was Puerto Rican” (1993 – 0679756760 )

–          William Shakespeare: The Tempest (No Fear edition – 1586638491)

Possible Films and Excerpts

–          Frontierland (Jesse Lerner/Ruben Ortiz, 1995)

–          Quinceañera (Glazer/Westmoreland, 2005)

–          Mur Murs (Agnes Varda, 1981, 85min, featuring the A.S.C.O. performance art troupe)

Shorter pieces and elective readings likely to include:

–          Rodolfo Acuña, “The Stairway to the Good Life,” from Anything But Mexican: Chicanos in Contemporary Los Angeles (1995) and excerpts from Occupied America: a history of Chicanos (2004 edition)

–          Junot Diaz: excerpts from This is How You Lose Her (2012)

–          Guillermo Gomez-Peña, excerpts from Warrior for Gringostroika (1993) and New World Border (1996)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.008: Plotting

Comp Lit R1B:8
Tu/Th 12:30-2:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17242
M. Gordon & K. Budner

This course will deal with scams, schemes, and conspiracies, from bloody revenges to amorous pursuits to government takeovers. We’ll look at these plots from a number of angles: What, if anything, motivates the masterminds behind them? By what means are they carried out? What are their moral, legal, or personal consequences? We will also consider some of the broader issues plotting raises: Does plotting reflect a fundamental desire to exercise free will? When does an innocent plan become a devious plot? Can a plot ever be deemed necessary or legitimate? And finally, we will explore our core definition of plot as scheme in relation to its other definitions—as land, as chart, and most importantly, as the main action of a text.

As this is a writing intensive course, a significant portion of our time will be dedicated to refining your prose. You will be responsible for writing and revising a total of three papers: a two-page diagnostic essay and two longer essays. In addition, there will be a number of shorter assignments designed to hone your skills as critical readers, researchers, and writers. At the end of the semester, you will present a multimedia group project, showcasing an original interpretation of one or more of our texts.



Course Catalog Number:

R1B.008: Books About Books

M/W 4-5:30pm
242 Dwinelle
CCN: 17254
Jenny Tan

How do we talk about books that talk about books? Why do we do it, and what can we learn from it? In this class, we will examine texts that are explicitly concerned with textual processes in some form or fashion: texts that depict and problematize acts of reading and writing, texts that talk about their own authorship and production, and texts that respond to and interact with other texts. By doing so, we will build up and develop our own vocabularies and conceptual toolboxes for discussing literary texts and analyzing how they produce meaning.

This course is designed to develop the skills obtained in Reading and Composition 1A. In this course, you will learn how to write research-based literary analysis. To this end, we will work on interpreting literature, producing close readings, developing solid literary arguments, understanding literary theory, doing and presenting outside research, and analyzing and critiquing theoretical work in class discussions and writing assignments.

Reading List

Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
Edgar Allan Poe, “The Purloined Letter”
Chrétien de Troyes, Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart
Albert Camus, The Plague                                                                                         
Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year (selections)
Sappho, “To a Beloved Girl”
Ovid, Heroides
Madeleine de Scudéry, The Story of Sapho                                                      
Spike Jonze, Adaptation (film)

Secondary Texts

Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author”
Michel Foucault, “What Is an Author?”
David Hult, “Author/Narrator/Speaker: The Voice of Authority in Chrétien’s Charrete
Joan DeJean, “Fictions of Sappho”

David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen, Writing Analytically (selections)
Nancy Sommers, “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers”

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.009: Voices on Paper

Comp Lit R1B:9
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
211 Dwinelle
CNN 17245
J. Nelsen

Does a text “speak”? How, and to whom, do the words on a page make their unique voices heard? In this course, we will attempt to pinpoint and define some of the different voices that come together to create a work of literature. Our investigation will begin with a few mythical and infernal depictions of haunting songs and sounds that tell their stories in seductive and disturbing ways. In our readings of lyric poetry, we’ll explore how we might characterize the speaking “I” and the different interlocutors he or she engages. From ventriloquism to radio to futuristic talking machines, we’ll also consider various distortions and disruptions of the spoken voice and how these get transposed onto the literary text. Beyond these specific questions, we will of course consider each text on its own terms, paying attention to how its multiple voices intertwine with other central, complex themes and motifs. Throughout the semester, students will hone their own critical and analytical voices with regular writing assignments, revision exercises and in-class presentations.

Readings will include:

Homer, selections from The Odyssey

-Dante, selections from Inferno

Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land

Selected poems by Sappho, Petrarch, Gaspara Stampa, Robert Browning,

Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars,

F.T. Marinetti, Harold Pinter, Frank O’Hara, Amelia Rosselli, and others

A course reader will also include selected essays by Roland Barthes, Jonathan Culler, Adriana Cavarero, Walter Benjamin, J.S. Mill, T.S. Eliot, William Waters, Mladen Dolar, and others, as well as a collection of writing resources



Course Catalog Number:

R1B.010: Lost Girls: Constructing and Desiring Girlhood

Comp Lit R1B:10
Tu/Th 3:30-5:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17248
B. Ruberg

The girl-child, as we find her in literature, embodies far more than sugar, spice, and everything nice She is simultaneously the gateway of the imagination, inspiring (mostly male) authors to project themselves into her daydreams and create whole new, surreal worlds. She is likewise the object of erotic fascination: corruptible, enigmatic, ripe for the picking. At the same time, she becomes a powerful figure for (mostly female) authors seeking to reinstate her sexual agency; they show us a version of the girl-child who is herself desirous, playful but quick-witted, and self-aware.

This course will use texts such as Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Nabokov’s Lolita, and Duras’ The Lover to examine, through literature, girlhood as a construct, a retelling, and a fantasy. We will close read graphic novels, video clips and visual art as well as short stories, novels, and plays. Creative activities will supplement analysis. Be aware that we will cover and discuss potentially sensitive material, such as sexuality. Since this course is an R1B, we will focus not only on reading but also on writing and research. Students should come prepared for daily writing workshops and extensive revision.

Reading List

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

A Young Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil, Max Ernst

Lost Girls, Melinda Gebbie and Alan Moore

How I Learned to Drive, Paula Vogel

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Eugénie de Franval, Marquis de Sade

The Lover, Marguerite Duras

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.012: Eating and Being Eaten

Comp Lit R1:12
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
210 Dwinelle
CCN 17254
K. Dodson

“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. How does eating extend beyond its bodily function to express and influence social relations, cultural and religious practices, aesthetic experience, and political and ethical considerations?

Through examining texts in which food or the act of eating plays a central role, we will consider 1) the relationship between food, pleasure, and rituals of society; 2) literary and cultural appropriations of gastronomic metaphors, such as cannibalism, raw and cooked cultures, and analogies of consumption, digestion, and circulatory networks; 3) the political and ethical tensions embedded in what we choose to eat and how our food is produced.

This course will also focus on developing students’ critical reading and analytical essay writing skills. Students should be prepared to participate actively in class discussion and group work. Assignments will range from shorter written analyses and creative responses to two argumentative essays based on careful textual analysis, one 6-page paper and one 10-page research paper.


“Poor Man’s Pudding” and “Rich Man’s Crumbs,” Herman Melville

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (excerpt), Alice B. Toklas

“Food” poems from Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein

The Book of Salt, Monique Truong

The Civilizing Process (excerpt), Norbert Elias

The Raw and the Cooked (excerpt), Claude Lévi-Strauss

“Of Cannibals,” Michel de Montaigne

“The Cannibalist Manifesto,” Oswald de Andrade

The Futurist Cookbook (excerpt), F.T. Marinetti

“A Hunger Artist,” Franz Kafka

“The Philosophers and the Animals,” J.M. Coetzee

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

Selected essays by MFK Fisher

The Physiology of Taste (excerpt), Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


Macunaíma, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

Tampopo, Juzo Itami

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.013: The Experienced Text: Plasticity, Hybridity and Multimedia

Comp Lit R1B:13
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
215 Dwinelle
CCN 17257
S. Schneider

Writing can be considered a heroic task in that the writer navigates a space and experience and serves as guides for the next to come, directing their attention at certain sights and sounds. In fact, writing shares much with space-building and architecture. Many of the texts and films we will read foreground their made-ness by incorporating multiple layers of media and perspective, as well as encouraging flexibility and plasticity in their readers.

As this is a writing intensive course, many of our activities will be dedicated towards sharpening your awareness of environmental cues and their relationship to your reactions and feelings. You will then explore these correlations in your prose using precise examples from the text. Assignments include a diagnostic paper, a 6-7 page analytical paper and a 10-page research paper. The two larger papers will include a draft and the final paper, and we will place a major emphasis on the process of revision. Other assignments include approximately bi-weekly bSpace postings, group presentations, a final, independent presentation and in-class writing exercises.


Course Objectives

This is the second class in the Reading and Composition series, and will specifically address the process of writing a research paper. We will build upon the analytical writing skills students have acquired through their experience in R1A, and gradually work towards producing a final research paper.


N.B. Books are available for purchase at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way across from MLK student union, (510) 548-0585.

Edwin A. Abbott. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. ISBN: 978-0486272634

Mikhail Lermontov. A Hero of Our Time. Trans. Natasha Randall. Penguin. 978-0143105633

Tayeb Salih. Season of Migration to the North ISBN: 978-1590173022

Virginia Woolf. A Room of One’s Own. Harvest Books. 0156787334



2001: A Space Odyssey, dir. Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1968 (148 min)

A Sixth Part of the World. dir. Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1926 (73 min)

Stalker, dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR, 1979 (163)

A Flood in Baath Country. dir. Omar Amiralay, Syria, 2003 (45 min)

Modern Times. dir. Charlie Chaplin, USA, 1936 (87 min)

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.014: Everyday Drama

Comp Lit R1B:14
MWF 11-12:00
109 Dwinelle
CCN 17260
R. Lorenz

This course will explore the interplay of drama and tedium in day-to-day life. All of the works we will read eschew a purely heroic or marvelous mode and instead focus on petty concerns or mundane experience. But these texts do so in a way that is far from ordinary or boring; each offers a distinct creative perspective on everyday life. Some of the works we’ll read highlight the intense and dramatic undercurrents of routine existence. For example, Virginia Woolf “tunnels” deep into the inner life of a middle-aged woman who views each day as a “dangerous” feat; Nikolai Gogol turns a bureaucrat’s quest for a new coat in a darkly humorous, overblown farce; and Emily Dickinson, although she hardly left her room, wrote poetry suffused with extremes of despair, exultation, passion, faith and doubt. Other texts take the opposite approach, underlining the contrast between our romantic dreams and the monotony of daily experience. Euripides, for example, will show us how a heroic quest deteriorates into bickering and jealousy; Platonov, one of the most remarkable writers of the Soviet era, portrays the tragic failure of utopian hopes; and Chekhov’s plays offer masterful depictions of lassitude and gradually fading ambition. As we read each text, we’ll discuss how it illuminates the intertwined monotony and intensity of everyday experience, but we’ll also move beyond the course topic to read each text for its own sake, paying attention to multiple prominent themes and motifs. We will also devote substantial class time to instruction in argumentative writing and research skills. As in all R&C courses, you will write several papers. The ultimate goal of the course is to develop your critical thinking and writing skills as well as your ability to enjoy the creative complexity of literary texts.


Platonov, The Foundation Pit

Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Chekhov, The Seagull

Gogol, “The Overcoat”

Dickinson, selected poetry

Euripides, Medea

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.015: Knowing It All: Encyclopedic Fictions

Instructor: Paco Brito Johnathan Vaknin

Comp Lit R1B:15
Tu/Th 8-9:30
175 Dwinelle
CCN 17263
P. Brito & J. Vaknin

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.

Readings will be drawn from the following:

Stories by Jorge Luis Borges

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolaño

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Bouvard and Pecuchét by Gustave Flaubert

Poetry by Lucretius, John Donne, Charles Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, César Vallejo, Marianne Moore, Bertolt Brecht, Elizabeth Bishop.




Course Catalog Number:

R1B.016: Everyday Drama

Comp Lit R1B:16
MWF 10-11:00
109 Dwinelle
CCN 17266
R. Lorenz

This course will explore the interplay of drama and tedium in day-to-day life. All of the works we will read eschew a purely heroic or marvelous mode and instead focus on petty concerns or mundane experience. But these texts do so in a way that is far from ordinary or boring; each offers a distinct creative perspective on everyday life. Some of the works we’ll read highlight the intense and dramatic undercurrents of routine existence. For example, Virginia Woolf “tunnels” deep into the inner life of a middle-aged woman who views each day as a “dangerous” feat; Nikolai Gogol turns a bureaucrat’s quest for a new coat in a darkly humorous, overblown farce; and Emily Dickinson, although she hardly left her room, wrote poetry suffused with extremes of despair, exultation, passion, faith and doubt. Other texts take the opposite approach, underlining the contrast between our romantic dreams and the monotony of daily experience. Euripides, for example, will show us how a heroic quest deteriorates into bickering and jealousy; Platonov, one of the most remarkable writers of the Soviet era, portrays the tragic failure of utopian hopes; and Chekhov’s plays offer masterful depictions of lassitude and gradually fading ambition. As we read each text, we’ll discuss how it illuminates the intertwined monotony and intensity of everyday experience, but we’ll also move beyond the course topic to read each text for its own sake, paying attention to multiple prominent themes and motifs. We will also devote substantial class time to instruction in argumentative writing and research skills. As in all R&C courses, you will write several papers. The ultimate goal of the course is to develop your critical thinking and writing skills as well as your ability to enjoy the creative complexity of literary texts.


Platonov, The Foundation Pit

Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Chekhov, The Seagull

Gogol, “The Overcoat”

Dickinson, selected poetry

Euripides, Medea

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.017: Vietnamese Literature in Translation

Com lit R1B:19
T/Th 8-9:30
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17275
T. Luu

This is a reading and composition course that will introduce a selection of Vietnamese fiction translated into English. The course will explore the development of Vietnamese literature from the pre-modern period to the present, focusing on works that emerged from the civil and international conflicts that defined 20th century Vietnam. We will interrogate the dynamics of cultural production under colonial and communist regimes, the shifting relations between intellectuals and the state, the effects of political reforms on literary sensibilities, and the limits of literature in representing the aftereffects of war and socialist experiments. A diverse range of scholarship on Vietnamese social and political history will inform discussions of these thematic concerns.

Required Texts:

Ho Xuan Huong, Spring Essence: The Poetry of Ho Xuan Huong (translated by John Balaban)

Vu Trong Phung, Dumb Luck: A Novel (translated by Nguyen Nguyet Cam and Peter Zinoman)

Nguyen Huy Thiep, The General Retires (translated by Greg Lockhart)

Duong Thu Huong, Paradise of the Blind (translated by Phan Huy Duong and Nina McPherson)

Pham Thi Hoai, The Crystal Messenger (Ton-That Quynh-Du)

Monique Truong. The Book of Salt

Recommended text:

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


Course Catalog Number:

R1B.017: Alternative Worlds

Instructor: Kfir Cohen

Com Lit R1B:17
MWF 1-2:00
254 Dwinelle
CCN 17269
K. Cohen

In this course we will develop writing and argumentative skills through exploring imaginative and theoretical texts that offer us models of alternatives worlds whose social structures attempt to solve some of the perennial problems of modern living. We will think through questions concerning the consequences of industrialization, gender relations, and the conditions needed to bring about a just society, among others. We will watch several contemporary films, and read a variety of texts from different historical periods and cultural traditions, focusing specifically on utopian fiction and sci-fi. We will consider some of the following questions: under what social conditions an “alternative world” becomes desirable? What do we mean by “world” and what might be its opposites? What role do literary form and genre have in constructing an alternative world? What kind of attitude do we adopt vis à vis such texts whose implicit or explicit aim is to be “more” than an imaginary experiment?

Books Required

Thomas More, Utopia

Isaac Asimov, Prelude to Foundation

Course Reader


Wachowski Brothers, Matrix I

Jean-Luc Godard, Alphaville



Course Catalog Number:

R1B.021: Imitation

Comp Lit R1B:21
Tu/Th 12:30-2:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17278
J. Hock

Imitatio, the Latin word for “imitation,” was an important literary and rhetorical principle in ancient Rome. In his “Institutes of Oratory,” Quintillian explains the importance of imitatio: “a great portion of art consists in imitation, since, though to invent was first in order of time and holds the first place in merit, it is of advantage to copy what has been invented with success.” To learn to speak well, one had to train oneself by imitating more accomplished orators. In the Renaissance, imitatio was taken up as a pedagogical tool, and students and scholars painstakingly copied and mimicked ancient writings in order to become great stylists themselves. In this class, “imitation” will bring together three different strands of study. In the first place, an introduction to poetry, one of the most fertile grounds of imitation. Taking the classical period (primarily in Latin), the continental Renaissance, the Romantic period and the contemporary periods as our touchstones, we will trace the most important poetic forms – the sonnet, the epic, the ode, and free verse – through the poetic tradition, seeing how writers imitated each other. In order to understand historical practices of writerly imitation, but also to understand poetry from the inside out, we will write our own imitations of the poets we read for class. This writing practice will transition nicely with the second goal of the class, to acquaint students with the skills necessary for researching and writing academic papers. Thirdly, we will take a broad view of imitatio, looking at the ways imitation has been an important practice in religion (“imitatio christi,” for example), art (schools of painters, fakes), and contemporary culture (plagiarism, lip-syncing, Elvis impersonators).


Readings will include selections from the following authors and works:

Mary Oliver, Rules for the Dance, A Poetry Handbook, Gordon Braden, Petrarchism; Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ; Aristotle, Poetics; Quintillian, Institutes of Oratory, and poems by Bishop, Celan, Collins, Dickinson, Donne, Emerson, Gongora, H.D., Hopkins, Horace, Jonson, Keats, Lucretius, MacLeish, Mallarmé, Millay, Milton, Moore, Petrarch, Pope, Pound, Quevedo, Rilke, Rimbaud, Sexton, Shakespeare, Shelley, Sidney, Spenser, Stevens, Tennyson, Valéry, Verlaine Virgil, Whitman, Wyatt, and Yeats.

Course Catalog Number:

R1B.021: Imitation

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students

Comp Lit R1B:21
Tu/Th 12:30-2:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17278
J. Hock

Imitatio, the Latin word for “imitation,” was an important literary and rhetorical principle in ancient Rome. In his “Institutes of Oratory,” Quintillian explains the importance of imitatio: “a great portion of art consists in imitation, since, though to invent was first in order of time and holds the first place in merit, it is of advantage to copy what has been invented with success.” » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17278

R1B.023: Nostalgia: ‘it isn’t what it used be’

Comp Lit R1B:23
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
104 GPB
CCN 17284
J. Raisch

Although originally coined as a medical condition (literally “homesickness”), nostalgia has come to describe a usually harmless, and deeply sentimental, longing for the past. In this class, we’ll think about the transformation of this concept from the medical to the emotional, as well as its connection to ideas of both home and history. Just how harmless is nostalgia? Does nostalgia keep us grounded and attached to where we come from or does its sentimentality necessarily distort our vision? What is it about an unattainable time or place that seems so appealing? By reading texts and viewing films that either represent nostalgia at work or are clearly employing a nostalgic lens, we’ll think, discuss, and write about what provokes nostalgia and why.

Texts and films will include:

Homer, Odyssey

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time (selections)

Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park

Gary Ross, Pleasantville

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

 And a course reader will additionally include selections from: Ovid, Hesiod, Theocritus, Joachim Du Bellay, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Wordsworth, Novalis, Alfred Lord Tennyson, various Pre-Raphaelites, and Sigmund Freud.


Course Catalog Number:


20: Episodes in Literary Cultures

Shakespeare and the World

M/W/F 11:00-12:00 126 Barrrows Instructor: Timothy Hampton

Comp Lit 20:1
MWF 11-12:00
126 Barrows
CCN 17308
T. Hampton

Discussion Sections:

20:101, Mon 10-11:11, 210 Dwinelle, A. Gadberry
20:102, Tu 11-12:00, 189 Dwinelle, K. Crim
20:103, Wed 10-11:00 214 Haviland, K. Crim
20:104, Wed 2-3:00, 204 Dwinelle, A. Gadberry

In many ways Shakespeare is the literary inventor of modernity. His plays depict the psychological, political, economic, and social upheavals that mark the transition from the pre-modern world to a world that is recognizably our own. But he is also the most international of all writers. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17308

100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

New Media, Old Media, and Comparative Literature

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 215 Dwinelle Instructor: Miryam Sas

Comp Lit 100:2
Tu/Th 11-12:30
215 Dwinelle
CCN 17335
M. Sas

What does literature do in the digital age? How have literature and art confronted their relationship with mass media or broader cultural and historical trends? How do media forms condition our relationship with time, and with identity? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17335

100: Introduction to Comparative Literature

The Marriage Plot (and its Unplotting)

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 258 Dwinelle Instructor: Kathleen McCarthy

Comp Lit 100:1
Tu/Th 9:30-11:00
258 Dwinelle
CCN 17332
K. McCarthy

In many genres and periods, marriage has been the privileged choice for marking a text’s “happy ending.” Why should this one social institution have come to stand as the symbol of the plot’s resolution? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17332

112B: Modern Greek Language and Composition

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

CL 112B
MWF 12-1:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17293
Maria Kotzamanidou

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: Consent of the instructor.

A reader for the course is prepared by the instructor.

Course Catalog Number: 17293

120: The Biblical Tradition in Modern Literature

W 02:00-05:00 122 Barrows Instructor: Chana Kronfeld

Comp Lit 120:1
Wed 2-5:00
122 Barrows
CCN 17347
C. Kronfeld

Also listed as Near Eastern Studies 190H

This course satisfies the Classical Literature Requirement for Comparative Literature Majors

This course will explore the biblical tradition in modern literature beyond the dichotomy of East and West. We will focus on close readings of selections from the Hebrew Bible in English translation in conjunction with a series of poems written in different languages that make central use of these biblical sources, from William Blake to Leonard Cohen, from Itzik Manger to Yehuda Amichai, and from Rilke to Else Lasker-Schuler. One underlying concern of the course will be the function of various types of biblical intertextuality (allusion, parody, translation, etc).   » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17347

153/Italian 160 : The Renaissance

Mapping the Global Renaissance: Italian Encounters with the Expanding World

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 221 Wheeler

Comp Lit 153:1,
Tu/Th 11-12:30
221 Wheeler
CCN 17524
D. Pirillo

Also listed as Italian Studies 160: 2

In what sense can our contemporary multicultural global world be traced back to the Renaissance? Did the Renaissance take place only in Florence, Rome, Venice and a few other Italian city states, or did it extend itself beyond Europe to include Africa and Asia? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17524

154: Eighteenth- and 19th-Century Literature

From Basho to Rilke: Studies in Modern Poetry in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Tu/Th 03:30-05:00 103 Wheeler Instructor: Anne-Lise Francois

Comp Lit 154:1
Tu/Th 3:30-5:00
103 Wheeler
CCn 17341
A. Francois

Also listed as English 165:2

A comparative survey of late seventeenth to early twentieth-century poetry written in English, French, German, and Japanese, during the height of print culture or what Walter Benjamin called the “age of mechanical reproduction.” » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17341

155: The Modern Period

Literature and Colonialism

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 259 Dwinelle Instructor: Karl Britto

Comp Lit 155:1
Tu/Th 12:30-2:00
259 Dwinelle
CCN 17344

In this course we will read a number of literary texts set in colonized territories, largely though not entirely under French domination.  » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17344

171: Topics in Modern Greek Literature

That Obscure Object of Desire, Art and Politics: Reading the Female Body in Modern Greek Fiction and Film

F 02:00-05:00 125 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

CL 171:1
Fr 2-5:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17350
M. Kotzamandiou

In 1844 the American sculptor Hiram Powers unveiled, in Boston, his nude statue, the first full scale American nude, by the title “The Greek Slave”. The fictional identity given to the subject, as stated in the pamphlet accompanying the tour of the statue in 1848, was that of a beautiful young Greek woman chained to a column, completely naked, ready to be sold in the Ottoman slave market. Since by 1844, the Greek War of Independence, which had effectively ended in 1827, had produced a miniscule, though free, European nation, images of chained bodies, replete with a background of Turkish violence, did not, exactly, represent the Greek historical reality.  The critical responses to the exhibit insisted that the statue, classical in style, reflected pathos rather than seduction. The woman, the newspapers wrote, was, clearly, Greece itself suffering in barbaric hands.  Since the statue continued to be reproduced through the 1860’s, the American public accepted it also as a part of the abolitionist discourse of slavery in the American society of the North, the fledgling feminist movement accepted it as an example of man’s oppression of women, and the Europeans accepted it as an image of the rhetoric of orientalism and Turkish barbarism still hovering about the sad remnants of the erstwhile powerful Ottoman Empire.

Using the above materials as a springboard, this course intends to examine the relationship between the body and politics, between art, sexuality and nation, exemplified by the use of the female body in literature and film. The use of the woman’s body as a trope continues to reflect the national and nationalist politics in Greek literature and film in the 20th century.

Please note:  There are no prerequisites for this course.



Course Catalog Number: 17350

190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

From Myth to Magical Realism

W 02:00-05:00 125 Dwinelle Instructor: Harsha Ram

Comp Lit 190:2
Wed 2-5:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17356
H. Ram

Literature has always been linked to fantasy and magic, even as it has sought to imitate or approximate reality. The goal of the course is to reflect on the fantastical or derealizing impulse in literary narrative, from ancient myth, the folk tale and medieval romance to the revival of the fantastical in nineteenth-century romanticism and early realism, before moving finally to three 20th-century novels from Russia, Cuba and India, whose “magical realism” can be read as arising out of the productive collision between the pressures of modern history and the archaic legacies of myth and oral storytelling.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17356

190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

Reading Character

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 89 Dwinelle Instructor: Sophie Volpp

Comp Lit 190:1
Tu/Th 11-12:30
89 Dwinelle
CCN 17353
S. Volpp

In this senior seminar, we will examine our assumptions regarding the study of fictional character. Long-ingrained habits have trained us not to speak of characters as though they were implied people.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17353


202C: Approaches to Genre: The Novel

The Autobiographical Moment: From Augustine to Darwish

M 02:00-05:00 125 Dwinelle Instructor: Gretchen Head

Comp Lit 202C:1
Mon 2-5:00
125 Dwinelle
CCN 17395
G. Head

The genre of autobiography is often assumed to offer faithful mimetic representations of individual life stories. In the West, it is generally thought to be characterized by a post-enlightenment sense of interiority or self-reflexion, considered a requirement of the genre. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17395

210/Classics 211: Studies in Ancient Literature

Greek Choral Lyric in its Ritual Context

F 02:00-05:00 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Leslie Kurke

Comp Lit 210:1
Fri 2-5:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17398
L. Kurke

Also listed as Classics 211

The seminar will be devoted to consideration of archaic Greek choral poetry as embedded in its ritual and religious contexts (focusing mainly on Pindar’s epinikia, but possibly also including some compositions of Alkman, Simonides, and Bacchylides).  My starting point is the reflection that monodic lyric (e.g., Sappho, Alkaios, Anakreon), although it does not really conform to post-Romantic models of the privacy and subjectivity of lyric voice, is still much more accessible to a style of reading informed by post-Romantic assumptions.  Archaic choral lyric, in contrast, is often difficult, obscure, and inaccessible not just because it is fragmentary, but also because it is so deeply enmeshed in (partially or entirely lost) contexts of religious occasion and ritual action.  I would therefore like to approach the reading of epinikion by trying, insofar as it is possible, to reconstruct the ritual surround and re-embed therein the bare texts we possess.  This will entail simultaneous reading of other kinds of sources (e.g., epigraphic, later prose) to try to develop a “thick description” of archaic choral performance contexts.

 We will start with several weeks reading Plato’s Laws Books 1-3 and 7, and then move to choral lyric poetry.  Possibly some work on “Pindar and the Monuments,” setting individual poems or clusters of poems in their local religious/ritual /topographic contexts (e.g., P.4, P.5, P.9 in Kyrene; Pindar fr. 94b, P.11, I.1, I.3/4, I.7 in Thebes; Aeginetan Odes).



Course Catalog Number: 17398

212/German 205; History of Art 258: Studies in Medieval Literature

The Sacred: Images, Texts and Theories

Tu 02:00-05:00 425 Doe Library Instructor: Niklaus Largier Beate Fricke

Comp Lit 212:1
Tu 2-5:00
425 Doe Library
CCN 17401
N. Largier and B. Fricke (History of Art)

This course is being co-taught by Professors Largier and Fricke and is listed as Comp Lit 212:1, German 205:1 or History of Art 258

The Sacred has become a key term in recent debates in a number of disciplines. However, what is at its core is often astonishingly undefined, open and ambivalent. Important theories of the Sacred have been articulated in the 20th century by Otto, Eliade, Caillois, Benjamin, Bataille, Auerbach, Feigel, Girard, Ricoeur, Smith, Agamben. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17401

C 221/Rhetoric C221, Critical Theory 240: Aesthetics as Critique

Marxian Aesthetics, Literary Theory and Criticism: Some Classic Texts

Instructor: Robert Kaufman

Comp Lit C221:1
Tu 2-5:00
210 Dwinelle
CCN 17404
R. Kaufman

This course is also listed as Rhetoric C221 and Critical Theory 240

This Ph.D. seminar will reconsider 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 critical thought and agency–of a distinct mode of human experience and activity known as the aesthetic. Though our readings will engage various arts and cultural practices, they will emphasize literary art. The classic texts we’ll read will include writings by Kant, Hegel, Marx and Engels, Luxemburg, Lukács, Du Bois, Brecht, Benjamin, Adorno, Horkheimer, Sartre, Beauvoir, Raymond Williams, and Jameson. Time permitting, we’ll also try to look briefly at (or at least gesture toward) aesthetics-focused texts by Percy Shelley, Heine, Lenin, Trotsky, Gramsci, Korsch, Mariátegui, Kracauer, Bloch, Marcuse, and Althusser.



Course Catalog Number:

240/Portuguese 275: Studies in the Relations Between Literature and the Other Arts

Brazilian Concrete and Intermedia Poetry

Tu 03:00-06:00 129 Barrows

Comp Lit 240:1
Tu 3-6:00
129 Barrows
CCN 17406
Claus Clüver

Course is also listed as Portuguese 275

The seminar will examine Brazilian Concrete poetry in its international, intermedial, and historical contexts. We will analyze the “verbivocovisual” poems of the “Noigandres” group and their theoretical foundations as elaborated primarily by Décio Pignatari and the brothers Haroldo and Augusto de Campos.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17406

260: Problems in Literary Translation

The Art of Literary Translation

Th 02:00-05:00 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Robert Alter

Comp Lit 260:1
Th 2-5:00
225 Dwinelle
CNN 17407
R. Alter

This course is conceived as an advanced workshop in literary translation, founded on the assumption that the practice of translation is fundamental to the study of literature. Each student should have a semester-long translation project (a collection of poems or stories, part of a novel, a long poem, a memoir, etc.). There are no restrictions as to languages translated or periods from which the texts are taken. Each week the class will discuss samples from two of these projects in progress. The seminar sessions are intended to be collaborative discussions on the problems of literary translation rather than critiques of the work of the translators. We will not be reading translation theory.

Course Catalog Number: 17407

266/Spanish 280.002: Nationalism, Colonialism, and Culture

Fin de siglo, 1880-1920

W 03:00-06:00 Instructor: Francine Masiello

Comp Lit 266:1
Wed 3-6:00
Location: 5303 Dwinelle
CCN 17419
F. Masiello

This course is also listed as Span 280:2

This course is designed to question the conventional critical categories with which we have learned to speak about literature at the close of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth. Instead of reinforcing the oft-stated divisions between naturalism and aestheticism, we will look at the corpus of fin de siglo writing through a different lens in order to probe certain issues that broadly define culture of the times: hence, the ways in which different aesthetic proposals negotiate the transformation of Latin America and Europe from a rural to urban society, and the representation of the body, illness, and criminality as markers of a society in transition. Along with this, we will look at the kinds of literary languages produced in fin de siglo texts in order to produce a disruption of traditional modes of representation, emphasizing performance or masquerade as rituals of modernization. Finally, we will consider the polemics triggered by cultural modernization, including the professionalization of the writer, the marketing of literary phenomena, the “fashion” of aesthetics and literature destined for a leisure class audience, and the creation of an intellectual bohemia as a counter-public sphere. Texts will be drawn from the literatures of the Southern Cone, the Caribbean, and Peru along with several texts from the British and French traditions.

This course will be continued in the following year with emphasis on literature at the close of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, but it is not required that you continue; nor will students interested in recent culture be required to take this course as prerequisite for admission to the next one.

You need to be fluent in Spanish in order to take this course.



Course Catalog Number: