Genre: The Novel (tentative)
Philosophy and Literature
Craft of Critical Writing
Studies in Contemporary Literature
Approaches to Genre: The Novel
Linguistic anthropologists think about language ideologies as representing, in the words of Paul Kroskrity, “the perception of language and discourse that is constructed in the interest of a specific social or cultural group.” Arguably, readers and writers of novels form groups of this kind in different times and places. Occasionally novelists attempt to innovate regarding “the perception of language and discourse” that a novel communicates to readers. Flaubert might be one example of this.
Studies in Ancient Literature
In this course, we will explore the meanings or non-meanings of catastrophe and crisis—whether psychological or environmental—by considering a genre, Greek tragedy, that attempts to represent the unrepresentable. Two plays that have deeply influenced the modern imagination—Euripides’ Hippolytus and Bacchae—will be our primary texts, along with works of reception by Sarah Kane, Wole Soyinka, and others.
Methods of Teaching Literature and English Composition
Studies in the Relations Between Literature and the Other Arts
In this seminar, offered jointly under the auspices of the Law School and the Department of Comparative Literature, we will examine some of the conceptual and thematic places where literature and law cross over into each other’s domain. The focus will be on novel reading - Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, Pnin and Lolita - and on texts where crime, judgment and punishment assume particular procedural, narrative, moral or metafictive importance.
Aesthetics as Critique
This seminar (which is cross-listed as Rhetoric 221 and Critical Theory 205) is not an introduction to Theodor W. Adorno’s work; rather, it will involve sustained reading and discussion of Adorno’s last major text, which he was still finishing at the time of his 1969 death: Aesthetic Theory (1970). We will be reading Robert Hullot-Kentor’s English translation of Ästhetische Theorie; though we will sometimes briefly consider the original German text, knowledge of German is not required (though it would of course prove very helpful).
Studies in Renaissance Literature
So-called ‘mystical’ forms of thought and experience have played a major role in the history of modern philosophy and literature from Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Schopenhauer to Lukàcs, Heidegger, Bataille, Benjamin, and Derrida; and from Novalis to Musil, Kafka, Celan, Bachmann, Klossowski, and Cage (to name just a few). In this seminar we will read and discuss key texts written by some of the most significant medieval figures in this tradition.