Introduction to Comparative Literature

This introduction to the study of literature in comparative contexts will focus on the essay. We may have come to think of the essay as an academic chore, but at its best, and throughout its long history, the essay form is characterized by curiosity, openness, intimacy, patience, provisionality, paradox, and play. Neither treatise nor memoir, neither exposé nor op-ed, the essay enjoys what Theodor Adorno called a “freedom from identity” that makes it an apt place from which to begin to think seriously about literature’s place in the modern world.

Freshman Seminar

Cervantes' "Don Quixote" (1605-1615) is the first great European novel and the most influential novel ever written.  It is also one of the funniest and most moving.  In this seminar we will read and discuss as much of it as we can.  The instructor will provide context and historical background and will guide conversation among members of the group.

Special Topics in Comparative Literature

What can computation allow us to discover about literature and how might machine learning transform literary theory? Can we use algorithms to challenge gender norms and complicate ideas about race and authorship in novels and other narratives? And what can quantification tell us about the markers of poetic form, stylistic innovation, or literary prestige?

Senior Seminar

It’s been said that poetry is what is untranslatable, yet one poem often translates another, and many of us only read one another’s languages in translation. As a catch-all concept for whatever “out there” can’t quite be captured in human terms, “Nature” can also be thought of as a language only ever encountered in translation.

Berkeley Connect (upper division)

Senior Seminar

It’s been said that poetry is what is untranslatable, yet one poem often translates another, and many of us only read one another’s languages in translation. As a catch-all concept for whatever “out there” can’t quite be captured in human terms, “Nature” can also be thought of as a language only ever encountered in translation.

Modern Greek Literature

The Modern Period

In this course we will read a number of literary texts set in colonized territories. Dating primarily from the turn of the twentieth century to the period of widespread decolonization a half-century later, these texts represent a variety of forms and genres and emerge out of a number of different cultural situations and geographic locations (including Southeast Asia, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa).

Modern Greek Language and Composition

This is a course in beginning Modern Greek, involving speaking, reading and writing.

Modern Greek is unique among languages in that it is the only modern language directly descended from Ancient Greek. In this course, the student studies reading, writing, pronunciation and use of contemporary spoken idiom, all within the historical and cultural context of the language. By the end of the course, the student should have a grammatical and linguistic foundation in Greek as it is spoken today.  In this course, there is also an emphasis and practice of oral language skills.

Introduction to Comparative Literature

The question of what it means to live a good life has been of perennial concern to thinkers and artists across historical periods and national boundaries. Sometimes competing visions of what it means to do the right thing leads to intractable conflict. Sometimes the fantasy of attaining the good life (for instance, in the form of the American dream) keeps us attached to particular behaviors or social structures, including ones that may actually be harmful to us.

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