Introduction to Comparative Literature

“Now, there is a teacher of nuance, literature.” The literary critic Roland Barthes makes this claim in a defence of nuance that will provide us with a point of departure. In this introduction to comparative reading, we will begin with the premise that an appreciation for nuance can be taught, and that the study of literature can sharpen our perception and understanding of nuance.

Methods of Teaching Literature and English Composition

Studies in Contemporary Literature

As a literary movement, “Decadence” came into existence by means of an act of cultural re-signification; taking up an epithet meant as an insult, Anatole Baju transformed “decadence” into a rallying cry. This course will mime this inaugural gesture by grouping together a number of fin-de-siècle (for the most part) writers and intellectuals (including Freud and the sexologists) whose works are, we will suggest, the locus of a series of cultural re-significations.

Studies in Symbolist and Modern Literatures (Canceled 08/26/21)

[Note: Although this seminar emphasizes the importance of 19th and 20th-century poetry and poetics to the development of Frankfurt School aesthetics, criticism, and theory, and likewise considers more recent dialogues between later 20th and  21st-century poetry/poetics and Frankfurt-oriented criticism, the seminar is also co-listed as a Critical Theory 205 “Frankfurt School” Core-Curriculum Course (for students enrolled in the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory).

Studies in Renaissance Literature

This seminar provides an introduction to one of the key works of European modernism, Robert Musil’s unfinished novel The Man Without Qualities. Starting with two shorter narrative texts and the first chapters of the novel, we will focus on Musil’s modernist prose style. We will then move on to his understanding of the ‘essayistic novel’ and its engagement with science and psychology; psychiatry, the law, and morality; questions of perception and affect; the role of gender, sexuality, and violence; and the desire for “other states” of experience.


Approaches to Comparative Literature

Literature and Critical Theory

Why study literature and culture? What is comparative literature? What approaches have been prominent in literary and cultural  studies historically and how can we continue to draw from them today?  Where are the humanities disciplines going in this new and strange era?

Berkeley Connect (upper division)

Senior Seminar

Often in Comparative Literature we speak of “national literatures” and assume there is a correspondence between a nation and a language. We think about translation as moving text from one language into another, and migration as moving from a place where one language is spoken to a place where another language is spoken. There are theories and ideologies that undergird all of this kind of thinking.

Modern Greek Literature

All of this semester's readings, both prose and poetry, hold onto one common trait: They all reflect a traveled path of experience that brings about profound internal change. This internal journey, which is manifest within the confines of each work, is framed by exterior social and political challenges that propel the individual characters toward`the assumption of new responsibilities and the reformulation of their personal identity.