Course meets the critical/intellectual methods course requirement for students majoring in Comparative Literature. This course will take as its starting point two radical positions that rethink the nature and purpose of theatricality in the 20th Century: Brecht's idea of the alienation-effect and Artaud's theatre of cruelty. It will look at recent playwrights influenced by this tradition, including Heiner Müller, Bernard-Marie Koltès, Valère Novarina, Sarah Kane, Caryl Churchill, Tom Stoppard, David Mamet, Athol Fugard and Jon Fosse. Close attention will be given to how these plays are self-conscious of their own theatricality, and how this self-consciousness is related to these dramas' political message, their investigation into subjectivity, and their violence. All texts will be read in English, but students with knowledge of French or German will be encouraged to read the texts in the original.
Gender and Literature in South Asia
=GNDR 23001/33001, SALC 23002/33002
Prior knowledge of South Asia not required. This course investigates representations of gender and sexuality, especially of females and the feminine in South Asian literature (i.e., from areas now included in the nations of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). Topics include classical Indian literature and sexual motifs, the female voice as a devotional/literary stance, gendered nationalism, the feminist movements, class and gender, and women's songs. Texts in English.
Fiction and Moral Life
This course examines the moral concerns present in a representative selection of literary texts. Topics include love, power, justice, self-determination, self-knowledge, altruism, and individual and society. The reading assignments match philosophical and literary texts. Students majoring in French will be required to read some of the texts in the original French language.
Contemporary Israeli Fiction
This course examines the works of three major contemporary Israeli writers: Yehoshua Kenaz, Orly Castel-Bloom and Yoel Hoffmann. We will study the innovative use of style and genres in these works, as well as the new themes and agendas that they offer. Among the topics to be discussed are social and political critiques, minority representations, and relation to Jewish history and tradition. Classes conducted in English, but students with knowledge of Hebrew are encouraged to read texts in the original.
Soil: Patriotism, Pollution, and Literature
This class investigates the deployment of soil as both symbol and material fact in various texts and traditions, along with the commonly associated practices and concepts of agriculture, property, migration, race, nationhood, and belonging. Our primary and critical texts arrive not only from radically different cultures but also in radically different forms.
Racine's Phdre: Text, Sources, and Translation
=FNDL 29401, FREN 23201
Larry Norman, David Wray
Course meets the critical/intellectual methods course requirement for students majoring in Comparative Literature. We read Racine's Phdre closely for its dramatic and poetic structures as well as its philosophical, psychological, and moral themes. We consider Racine's principal ancient sources, Euripides and Seneca, placing all three versions in their intellectual and aesthetic contexts. We study twentieth-century translations of Phèdre (Wilbur, Hughes) in light of translation theory and practice. Textual study is complemented by scene study performance. Classes conducted in English. Optional French discussion sessions offered weekly. French majors do all written work in French. Comparative Literature majors read one tragedy in the original (French, Latin, or Greek).