Studies in Ancient Literature

In the current return to formalism, the humanities have seen a re-evaluation of poetic form in terms of its capacity for unruly, queer ways of being and becoming, or unbecoming. The unsettling geometries of poetic form—its breaks and cuts, as well as its power of obstruction through repetition, congestion, expansion, and contraction—create a potential for resistance or willfulness, or wild escapes from meaning.

Intro to Comparative Literature

It is famously not that interesting to listen to someone else describe a dream. But dreams have always recurred in literature, and they continue to inspire poets, artists, and filmmakers, taking a fascinating range of cultural forms. Dreams have been seen as mere illusions, as visitations from the beyond, and as disclosing secret desires. They’ve been “read” for what they reveal about individual wishes, fantasies, and traumas, but they’ve also been understood as scenes of collective struggle and aspiration, as laboratories for the formation of other waking worlds.

Studies in Contemporary Literature

Contemporary abolitionist thinking is often discounted or derided in mainstream political discourse. So is literature. Calls to abolish institutions including prisons, detention centers, and policing are framed as out of touch and impossible, as impractical, irresponsible, and politically counterproductive. So too is the reading of fiction and poetry regarded as a waste of time at best, as an adolescent pastime or an armchair indulgence that distracts us from serious work.

Problems in Literary Translation

This course is based on the conviction that translation is an essential process for all students of comparative literature.  Obviously, everyone is dependent on translations in order to have access to the many literatures written in languages we do not know.  But more urgently for us as people who want to attain a full understanding of literature, the process of turning a rich literary text into English, word by word and sentence by sentence, illuminates like nothing else how language choices make literature what it is.   There are no secondary readings in this course.  Instead, ea

Craft of Critical Writing

This seminar is intended for literature students at all stages of the dissertation writing process, from developing a prospectus to completing the dissertation and preparing a chapter for publication as a scholarly article.

Relations Lit and Other Arts

The Russian Empire and its successor states constitute the largest unified contiguous territory in the world while also being one of the most ethnically diverse. From the Caucasus to Ukraine and the Baltics, Central Asia, Siberia, and the Far East, Russia-Eurasia contains numerous peripheral regions, even as it arguably constitutes a semi-peripheral region with respect  to the West. Just as the Soviet Union constituted the core of the “second world” during the Cold War, so today post-Soviet space complicates the recent binary division of the globe into North and South.

Study Symbol Modern Lit

We will use this seminar to survey a range of ways people have thought about the relationship between music and writing, particularly literary forms of writing, over the past few centuries. Our survey will be somewhat idiosyncratic (and weighted toward French language materials -- although you are welcome to read along in English); in the course of it we will encounter a good range of critical schools of thought and a number of different types of music.

Genre: Lyric Poetry

The Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938) is one of international modernism’s greatest and—at least posthumously—most influential poets, known for twinned radical commitments: to artistic-aesthetic experimentation with lyric form; and to progressive and Left politics (a political commitment that eventuated in Vallejo’s intense, complex involvement during the last 15 years of his life with marxian theory, along with his connected  activism in three "fraternally aligned" communist parties: those of France, Spain, and--albeit from the distance of his exile in Europe--his homeland, Perú).

Berkeley Connect

Senior Seminar

What happens when we create a community of readers in a comparative literary dialogue around the works of one author? What happens if we delve deeply together into the intricacies of Virginia Woolf’s inimitable language, the translucency of her images, the development of her modernist literary voice across multiple works?

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