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Literary Criticism from Plato to Burke

Submitted by vickylim on
50105
ENGL 52502
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Joshua Scodel

This seminar will explore Western literary criticism from Plato to the late eighteenth-century conceived of as a prehistory of comparative literature as a discipline.  The course will take as its particular lens the critical treatment of epic in some of the following authors: Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Horace, Montaigne, Tasso, Giraldi, Sidney, Boileau, Le Bossu, St. Evremond, Dryden, Addison, Voltaire, Fielding, and Burke. The course will also examine both twentieth-century comparative approaches to epic (e.g., Auerbach, Curtius, Frye) and more recent debates within comparative literature with an eye to continuities and discontinuities in critical method and goals. 

Nowhere Lands: Utopia, Dystopia, and Afterlife of Empire

Submitted by vickylim on
21702
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Leah Feldman

Otherworldly, fantastic and futuristic spaces often offer a forum for social critique or a window into the formation of systems of knowledge. This course examines the ways in which the experiences of empire, revolution and globalization produced utopian and dystopian spaces that challenged the boundaries of the human and society. While utopia has a long history in European literature and thought, this course will focus on the ways in which space is constructed outside of the imperial centers of the west including a selection of novels and films from Eastern Europe, Central/West Asia and the Middle East.

Intercultural Adaptation: Kurosawa and his Russian Sources

Submitted by vickylim on
21704
REES 29810
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Olga Solovieva

Focusing on Akira Kurosawa’s cinematic adaptations of Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot, Tolstoy’s short novel The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Gorky's drama "The Night Asylum," and Arseniev's travel narrative Dersu Uzala, we will analyze these texts and their film counterparts in the context of Japanese postwar cinema. The course is meant to provide hands-on training in the interdisciplinary methodology of Comparative Literature, through close analysis of films, texts, and their relationships.

Writing Towards Freedom: Slave Narratives and Emergent Black Writing

Submitted by vickylim on
25014
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Mollie McFee

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, slave narratives were authored to convince Europeans of the injustices of slavery as an institution and the humanity of enslaved black Africans. However, these texts were more representative of anti-slavery rhetoric and conventional morals than the voices of enslaved men and women. In this course we will investigate many of the central slave narratives of 18th and 19th centuries in order to understand how these texts worked to redefine concepts of the human. We will also examine the ways slave narratives relied upon and bolstered norms of gender, family, and religion. Using comparative methods, this course will investigate why the overwhelming majority of slave narratives come from the Anglophone world. We will compare American and British narratives, and examine the genres used in the francophone and hispanophone worlds to demonstrate the rights of the enslaved, particularly law. Major texts to be examined will include The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano; The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave; My Bondage, My Freedom by Frederick Douglass; Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriett Jacobs; and Autobiography of a Slave by Juan Francisco Manzano. Shorter readings would include excerpts from Saidiya Hartman, Michel Rolph Trouillot, The Memoires of Toussaint Louverture, and The Haitian Constitutions of 1801 and 1805.

Literature as Trial

Submitted by vickylim on
38815
28815
GRMN 28815, GRMN 38815
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Florian Klinger

The affinities between literary and judicial practice seem as old as literature itself. Countless literary works take the form of a trial, revolve around a case or trial scene, or negotiate competing ways of seeing and talking. What is the relationship between judgment and poetic form? Can "trial" be understood as a distinct form of discourse? What role can the literary play in the legal process? Is there a privileged relationship between the trial and the dramatic genre? Can literature be a training for judgment? Are there specifically poetic forms of justice? Readings include Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Kleist, Kafka, Arendt, Weiss, Derrida, Coetzee.