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Kurosawa and his Literary Sources

Submitted by jenniequ on
23302
33302
EALC 23312/33312, REES 29814/39814, SCTH 34012
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Olga Solovieva

This interdisciplinary graduate and advanced undergraduate course focuses on ten films of Akira Kurosawa which were based on literary sources ranging from Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Georges Simenon, and Shakespeare to Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, and Arseniev. The course not only introduces some theoretical and intermedial problems of adaptation of literature to film but also address cultural and political implications of Kurosawa’s adaptation of classic and foreign sources. We will study how Kurosawa’s turn to literary adaptation provided a vehicle for circumventing social taboos of his time and offered a screen for addressing politically sensitive and sometimes censored topics of Japan’s militarist past, war crimes, defeat in the Second World War, and ideological conflicts of reconstruction. The course combines film analysis with close reading of relevant literary sources, contextualized by current work of political, economic, and cultural historians of postwar Japan. The course is meant to provide hands-on training in the interdisciplinary methodology of Comparative Literature.

Cross-Listed with East Asian Studies and Committee on Social Thought.

 

Directors and Directing: Theory, Stage, Text

Submitted by isagor on
23305
TAPS 23305, ENGL 23305
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
Michal Peles-Almagor

Theatre has always needed the concept of directing when staging a play. However, the role of the director as we know it has emerged only with the beginning of modern drama. This course will investigate the role of the director as an intersection between text, theory, and performance. The course explores the impact of the director in shaping modern drama, as well as critical approaches of literary and theatrical theory. We will deal not only with the historical development of the director’s role and textual interpretation, but also with the dynamics between theory and practice, and the changes in the concepts of space, acting, and performing. We will focus on approaches and writings by André Antoine, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Konstantin Stanislavski, Gordon Craig, Max Reinhardt, Jacques Copeau, Leopold Jessner, Erwin Piscator, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett. We will examine these approaches in relation to literary theories of performativity (John Austin, John Searle, Judith Butler, Mikhail Bakhtin). We will also be interested in testing whether these theories match the practice, and discuss the potential of constructing a theory of acting, performing, and directing today.    

Classical Art in the Literature of Renaissance &Early Modern Italy, Spain and France

Submitted by vickylim on
23310
33310
SPAN 23300, SPAN 33300
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Frederick de Armas

As classical statues emerged from the ground as if they were corpses revived by ancient necromancers, delight and curiosity concerning these artistic findings spread from Renaissance Italy to the rest of Europe. Even so, there was one aspect that was missing. The great paintings of antiquity were mostly lost due to their fragility. Only some of the wall paintings of later periods remained. Thus, the names and works of famous Greek painters came to be known mainly through Pliny´s Natural History. This course will focus on three of these painters whose works, although destroyed, are preserved in writing and ekphrasis: Apelles, Timanthes and Zeuxis. We will investigate how they come to be painted and described anew in the art and literature of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods, from Vasari to Rubens; and from Boscán and Tirso de Molina to Cervantes and Montaigne. Although the course is taught in English, students need to have a reading knowledge of Spanish.

The Burden of History: A Nation and Its Lost Paradise

Submitted by Anonymous on
23401
=SOSL 27300/37300
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Angelina Ilieva

We will look at the narrative of loss and redemption through which Balkan countries retell the Ottoman past. With the help of Freud‚s analysis of masochistic desire and Zizek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we will contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity. The figure of the Janissary will highlight the significance of the other in the definition of the self. Some possible texts are Petar Njego'‚ Mountain Wreath, Ismail Kadare's The Castle, and Anton Donchev's Time of Parting.

Burden of History: The Nation and Its Lost Paradise

Submitted by jenniequ on
23401
33401
REES 29013/39013, NEHC 2/30573, HIST 2/34005
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Angelina Ilieva

How and why do national identities provoke the deep emotional attachments that they do? In this course we try to understand these emotional attachments by examining the narrative of loss and redemption through which most nations in the Balkans retell their Ottoman past. We begin by considering the mythic temporality of the Romantic national narrative while focusing on specific national literary texts where the national past is retold through the formula of original wholeness, foreign invasion, Passion, and Salvation. We then proceed to unpack the structural role of the different elements of that narrative. With the help of Žižek’s theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we think about the national fixation on the trauma of loss, and the role of trauma in the formation of national consciousness. Specific theme inquiries involve the figure of the Janissary as self and other, brotherhood and fratricide, and the writing of the national trauma on the individual physical body. Special attention is given to the general aesthetic of victimhood, the casting of the victimized national self as the object of the “other’s perverse desire.” With the help of Freud, Žižek and Kant we consider the transformation of national victimhood into the sublimity of the national self. The main primary texts include Petar Njegoš’ Mountain Wreath (Serbia and Montenegro), Ismail Kadare’s The Castle (Albania), Anton Donchev’s Time of Parting (Bulgaria).

The Other within the Self: Identity in Balkan Literature and Film

Submitted by Anonymous on
23401
33401
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Staff

This two-course sequence examines discursive practices in a number of literary and cinematic works from the South East corner of Europe through which identities in the region become defined by two distinct others: the barbaric, demonic Ottoman and the civilized Western European.

The Burden of History: A Nation and Its Lost Paradise

Submitted by Anonymous on
23401
33401
=NEHC 20573/30573, SOSL 27300/37300
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Angelina Ilieva

This course begins by defining the nation both historically and conceptually, with attention to Romantic nationalism and its flourishing in Southeastern Europe. We then look at the narrative of original wholeness, loss, and redemption through which Balkan countries retell their Ottoman past. With the help of Freud's analysis of masochistic desire and Žižek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity. The figure of the Janissary highlights the significance of the other in the definition of the self. Some possible texts are Petar Njegoš's Mountain Wreath ; Ismail Kadare's The Castle ; and Anton Donchev's Time of Parting .

Theories of the Novel

Submitted by vickylim on
23415
ENGL 23415
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Lawrence Rothfield

Theories of the Novel: This course explores some of the fundamental conceptual issues raised by novels: in what way do plot, character, and authorial intention function in the novel, as opposed to other genres? How are novels formally unified (if they are)? What special problems are associated with beginnings and endings of novels? How do such basic features as titles and chapter divisions contribute to novelistic meanings? What are the ideological presuppositions – about gender, race, class, but also about the nature of social reality, of historicity, and of modernity -- inherent in a novelistic view? What ethical practices and structures of affect do novels encourage?

Gender and Literature in South Asia

Submitted by Anonymous on
23500
=GNDR 23001/33001, SALC 23002/33002
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Valerie Ritter

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.

Gender and Literature in South Asia

Submitted by Anonymous on
23500
=GNDR 23001/33001, SALC 23002/33002
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2006-2007
Valerie Ritter

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.

Making a Scene

Submitted by Anonymous on
23702
33702
=ENGL 25931/42409
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Larry Rothfield

This course seeks to explore the arena of socialinteractions—from flirting to striving for status to solidarity-seeking and beyond—that is captured by the term the social scene. We make use of literary fiction (i.e., Austen, Flaubert, Wilde), artwork (i.e., Manet), film (i.e., Warhol), and television (i.e., Jersey Shore ) that helps bring into visibility the morphology, power dynamics, and ethical or political possibilities inherent in scenes. We also look at some efforts to conceptualize scenes (e.g., Benjamin, Lefebvre, Fischer, Jameson, Bourdieu, Foucault).

Fiction and Moral Life

Submitted by Anonymous on
24000
=FREN 24000/34000
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2006-2007
Thomas Pavel

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.

Autobiography in the 20th Century

Submitted by Anonymous on
24001
=ENGL 25920, ISHU 24002
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Katarzyna Bartoszynska

Course meets the critical/intellectual methods course requirement for students majoring in Comparative Literature . This course will explore autobiography as a genre and the theoretical issues it raises. We will examine how autobiography problematizes memory, truth and fiction, ethnic/racial identity and the relationship to the body, and the connections between the individual and the collective in history. Using a variety of texts, we will investigate contemporary strategies of self-representation and constructions of subjectivity that emerged in the 20th century. Readings will include Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood , Gertrude Stein's Autobiography of Alice B Toklas , Art Spiegelman's Maus , Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior , Benjamin Wilkomirski's Fragments , Eva Hoffman's Lost in Translation , Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory , Mary McCarthy's Confessions of a Catholic Girlhood , and the film Big Fish, alongside theoretical works by Paul John Eakin, Sidonie Smith, Julia Watson, G Thomas Couser, and others.

Fact and Fiction: Hoaxes and Misunderstandings

Submitted by isagor on
24017
34017
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Françoise Lavocat

This course will focus on fictional texts that readers have misrecognized as factual accounts, as well as the less frequent case of factual texts misidentified as fictional. Students will study the rhetorical strategies or historical and cultural circumstances responsible for these “errors of pragmatic framing” (O. Caïra) by investigating the contexts governing the production or reception of works such as Apuleius’ The Golden AssLes Lettres d’une religieuse portugaise, Denis Diderot’s La Religieuse, Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s Marbot: A Biographyand Orson Welles’ adaptation of The War of the Worlds, among others.

LOVE AND TRANSFORMATION

Submitted by jenniequ on
24110
ITAL 24110
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Armando Maggi

This course analyzes the multi-faceted relationship between the love experience and an inner process of psychological, spiritual, or physical transformation. What is the relationship between Eros and human identity? Are friendship and love two distinct experiences? We will investigate these essential topics from a philosophical, literary, and religious point of view. We will study a variety of texts from different cultural traditions. Among other texts, this course will examine Plato’s Symposium, Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, Dante’s Purgatory, selections from Giovambattista Basile The Tale of Tales, which is the first collection of fairy tales of the Western tradition, selections from Martin Buber’s fundamental I and Thou, Junichiro Tanizaki’s erotic novel The Key, and Elena Ferrante’s recent powerful Italian novelMy Brilliant Friend

The class will be conducted in English. All books are available in English. Students in Italian will read the Italian texts in the original Italian and will write their midterm and final paper in Italian.

The Alice Books

Submitted by Anonymous on
24201
34201
=PORT 26801/36801
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Miguel Tamen

We will read Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). Some topics to be discussed are (alphabetically) animals, children, conversation, intention, justice and fairness, meaning of a word, malapropism, manners, pastoral, pictures, poems. Discussions will sometimes be accompanied by additional texts, which only occasionally count as secondary bibliography. Among these, we may read texts by Austin, Davidson, Empson, Oakeshott, Pitcher, Rawls, Russell, Wittgenstein and others.

Crowds in fin de siècle Modernism

Submitted by vickylim on
24250
MAPH 34250
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Daniel Smyth

The increasing urbanization of late 19th and early 20th century Europe witnessed the advent of a comparatively novel social phenomenon and cultural trope: the crowd. Crowds have been represented as alienating, faceless monstrosities and as liberatingly anonymous environments of self-realization, as manipulable and as bullying. The crowd is figured as a hotbed of rumor, irrationality, madness, sedition, and communicable disease, but also as the site of transcendent super-personal experience, invention, historical progress, and the groundspring of political legitimacy. Crowds have a (statistical, social, psychological) life of their own which confronts and contrasts with the life of the individual. They confirm the flâneur in his ironic distance and insulated subjectivity even as the phenomenology of “merging with” or “melting into” the crowd challenges prevailing notions of individual identity and personal responsibility. This class will examine a variety of literary and visual representations of the crowded turn-of-the-century European metropolis in conjunction with contemporaneous psychological, sociological, and philosophical reflections on the significance of modern multitudes. Though our focal texts are historical we will also consider modulations of these themes in our present social environment of viral videos, big data, cyberbullying, targeted advertising, crowd-sourcing, and zombie movies. Texts will include works by Baudelaire, Benjamin, Freud, Kracauer, Fritz Lang, Manet, Musil, Rilke, Seurat, and Simmel.

Poetry and Translation: Theory and Practice

Submitted by vickylim on
24270
34270
MAPH 34310
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Joshua Adams

This course will introduce students to classic and contemporary texts of translation theory in the West, with an eye to the relevance of these theories for the difficulties and promises of translating poetry. We will read theoretical texts by Jerome, Dryden, Herder, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Pound and others, and will test these theories against one another and against various English translations of excerpts taken from Dante's Inferno, as well as translations of individual poems by Charles Baudelaire. Students will have the opportunity to produce their own translations as part of their required work for the course.

PQ: Reading knowledge of one foreign language.

Beautiful Souls, Adventurers and Rogues. The European 18th-Century Novel

Submitted by Anonymous on
24401
34401
=FREN 25301/35301
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Thomas Pavel

The course will examine several major 18th-century novels, including Manon Lescaut by Prevost, Pamela by Richardson, Shamela by Fielding, La Nouvelle Héloïse by Rousseau, Jacques le Fataliste by Diderot, and The Sufferings of Young Werther by Goethe. The course is taught in English. A weekly session in French will be held for majors and graduate students in French and Comparative Literature.

Lyric Genres from Classical Antiquity to Postmodernism

Submitted by Anonymous on
24501
34501
=CLAS 37109, CLCV 27109, SLAV 24501/34501
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Boris (Rodin) Maslov

PQ: Texts in English. Optional discussion sessions offered in the original (i.e., Greek, Latin, German, Russian). Moving beyond the modern perception of lyric as a direct expression of the poet's subjectivity, this course confronts the remarkable longevity of poetic genres that have remained in use over centuries and millennia, such as the hymn, ode, pastoral, elegy, epistle, and epigram. What kept these classical genres alive for so long and, conversely, what made them serviceable to poets working in very different cultural milieus? In an effort to develop a theory and a history of Western lyric genres, we sample such poets as Sappho, Horace, Marvell, Hölderlin, Whitman, Mandel'shtam, Brodsky, and Milosz.

Language of Power: Court Culture in Early Modern Europe and Russia

Submitted by Anonymous on
24502
34502
=RUSS 24501/34501, HIST 23811/33811, GRMN 24511/34511
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Kirill Ospovat

Crossing the disciplinary boundaries between social, political, cultural and literary history, as well as the symbolic divide between Russia and Western Europe, the course will explore early modern royal courts as crucial institutions of European culture. Rulers and the elites relied on symbolic resources of literature, philosophy and the arts to secure their growing political authority and broadcast values underpinning the existing social order. From the Renaissance on royal courts increasingly merged into a single an-European sociocultural paradigm, which over centuries framed the political effort of rulers as remote as Louis XIV, King of France, and Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, as well as creative work of artists, composers and writers as important as Rubens, Molière, Mozart, Goethe, and Derzhavin.Absolutist social values and the modes of their cultural (re)production at the courts of early modern Europe and Russia will be examined drawing on historical sources as well works of art, philosophy and science, but primarily concentrating on literature. Texts in English.

The Portrait of the President

Submitted by Anonymous on
24601
=ENGL 25916
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2007-2008
Amanda Macdonald

This course enquires into the work of power that is done by the portrait of the powerful. We will interrogate the portraiture of the President of the United States (and of those who would be President) not simply for its systems of meaning, its legibility, nor only in the spirit of diagnostic criticism, but most crucially for the portraiture's efficacy. This last is the most treacherous question of all for image studies, and it is the one we will articulate and pursue: What is it that portraits, in and of themselves, are able to do? What is the power of the portrait of the President? We will thus consider what we mean by power and by representation, and how the portrait tradition effects both. Louis Marin's The Portrait of the King will offer us a bundle of rich theoretical premises and analytical models. Other readings will include portrait theory, literature on US presidential portraiture, and a minor critical tradition linking the portrait of the monarchic bust to the portrait of the political ruler (Foucault on coins and caricatures; Barthes on election posters; Fresnault-Deruelle on French presidential portraiture). We will focus on four contemporary genres of representation of the President and of the presidential: money; election posters; official presidential portraits; and television talking heads. All students will be enrolled in the two hour Monday class, in addition to which they will choose between one of two meeting times on Wednesdays. Students wishing to read in English only will need to attend the 9:30-10:30 session on Wednesdays. Students who are literate in French and who wish to take the course with a French language component will need to attend the 10:30-11:30 session on Wednesdays, where they will read the key set text in the French original (Louis Marin's Le Portrait du roi), along with a selection of other set texts in French (e.g. Barthes, Foucault). The choice of session on Wednesdays is workload neutral.

When Characters Meet Their Authors: Frontiers of Fiction

Submitted by vickylim on
24713
34713
FREN 24713/34713
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Francoise Lavocat

This course will examine the role and function of both the author and the character by investigating the long exploited narrative device of their encounter within the fictional world. In so doing, we will reflect upon the boundaries of fiction (do they exist ? what is their nature: logical, narratological, ontological ?).  We will read French, Spanish, Italian, and English texts, encompassing a variety of genres and media, from the early modern to contemporary periods.   Authors will include Cervantes, Molière, Fénelon, Bougeant, Pirandello, Caumery, Woody Allen, Paul Auster, and Jonathan Coe.

Note: All readings will be offered English, although students may read French, Italian and Spanish texts in their original language.   Students taking the course for French credit must read all French texts in the original language and do written work in French.  Prerequisites:  For FREN, at least two literature level courses (FREN 21700 or above); for Comp Lit, two literature level courses (200-level and above).

South African Fiction and Film

Submitted by vickylim on
24807
ENGL 24807
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Loren Kruger

This course examines the intersection of fiction and film in Southern Africa since mid 20th Century decolonization. We begin with Cry, the Beloved Country, a best seller written by South African Alan Paton while in the US, and the original film version by a Hungarian-born British-based director (Zoltan Korda), and an American screenwriter (John Howard Lawson), which together show both the international impact of South African stories and the important elements missed by overseas audiences. We will continue with fictional and non-fictional narrative responses to apartheid and decolonization in film and in print, and examine the power and the limits of what critic Louise Bethlehem has called the “rhetoric of urgency” on local and international audiences. We will conclude with writing and film that grapples with the complexities of the post-apartheid world, whose challenges, from crime and corruption to AIDS and the particular problems faced by women and gender minorities, elude the heroic formulas of the anti-apartheid struggle era. (B)

Cosmopolitanisms

Submitted by Anonymous on
24901
34901
=ENGL 24305/34901
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Tamara Chin

This course explores notions of cosmopolitanism in philosophy, historiography, and literature. Topics include ancient world systems, world literature, hospitality, and hybridity. Readings may include Derek Walcott's Omeros, the Hellenistic Life of Aesop, early Chinese prose-poetry, Derrida, Frank, and Spivak.

Mimesis

Submitted by Anonymous on
24902
30400
=CLAS 39200, EALC 30400
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Tamara Chin

This course will introduce the concept of mimesis (imitation, representation), tracing it from Plato and Aristole through some of its reformulations in recent literary and critical theory. Topics to be addressed include desire, postcolonialism, and non-western aesthetic traditions. Readings may include Plato, Aristotle, Euripides's Bacchae , Book of Songs , Lu Ji's Rhapsody on Literature , Auerbach, Butler, Derrida, Girard, Saussy, and Spivak.

Greece/China

Submitted by vickylim on
24903
34903
CLCV 27612, CLAS 37612, EALC 24901, EALC 34901
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Tamara Chin

This class will explore three sets of paired authors from ancient China and Greece: Herodotus/Sima Qian; Plato/Confucius; Homer/Book of Songs.  Topics will include genre, authorship, style, cultural identity, and translation, as well as the historical practice of Greece/China comparative work.

Gender and the Body in Yiddish Literature

Submitted by ldzoells on
25002
35002
YDDH 25002/35002
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Anna Elena Torres

This course examines gender, race, and dis/ability in texts drawn from across the breadth of Yiddish literature. Using critical theory as a lens into the world of Yiddish writing, we will encounter medieval troubadours and healers, spirit possession, feminist performance art, and more. With an emphasis on poetry, the syllabus begins with some of the earliest known Yiddish verse (c. 1382) and concludes with the 20th century avant-garde. Literary authors include Peretz Markish, Meyshe Kulbak, and Dvoyre Fogel. Theoretical and historical studies include the work of Eve Sedgwick, Mel Chen, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs.

No prior knowledge of Yiddish is required for enrollment. All course literature for the seminar will be available in English translation. An additional weekly session will meet to read Yiddish texts in the original.

Specificity/Interdisciplinarity: Myths of Orpheus

Submitted by vickylim on
25005
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
David Markus

This course takes a number of variations on the myth of Orpheus as the basis for an exploration of critical problems surrounding medium specificity, interdisciplinary study, and topics arising from cultural studies such as race and gender. We will begin with early representations of the myth in Ovid and Virgil before proceeding to more recent interpretations in the work of Rilke, H.D., Jean Cocteau, Tennessee Williams, Salmon Rushdie, and Neil Gaiman. Creative works will be considered alongside critical texts by Roland Barthes, Maurice Blanchot, André Bazin, Homi Bhabha, Kaja Silverman, Frederic Jameson, and Lauren Berlant. In keeping with the interdisciplinary theme of the course, film showings will be held regularly and music and visual materials will frequently figure as objects of study. 

The Places of Memory, 1780-1880

Submitted by vickylim on
25007
GRMN 25014, RUSS 25007
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Monica Felix

This course will investigate the affinities between place and memory in literature. In considering works that span a century of literature, we will reflect on memory as a force that emerges as an expression of self – or nation – that is tethered to objects, places, or structures. Course readings will be drawn primarily from German, Russian, and Anglophone literatures (Eichendorff, Tieck, Hoffmann, Fet, Tiutchev, Pushkin, Elliot, Scott, Brontë, others). Supplementary readings drawn from literary criticism, philosophy, historiography, and complementary fields will help us to consider the intersection of literature and history as it relates to questions of a historically constructed subject or nation. Topics include collaborative memory, romanticism, intertextuality, historical representation, historical fiction, and nostalgia.

No prerequisites. All readings in English with optional reading groups to discuss German and Russian works in the original for all interested students.

Beckett Beyond the 'Absurd'

Submitted by vickylim on
25011
ENGL 24409
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Brian Berry

As an author that dislikes being pigeonholed, Samuel Beckett nonetheless gets labeled as an Absurdist, even the father of the Theater of the Absurd. It is not as if this label is entirely unmerited, but his philosophical interests reach beyond the species of existentialism that was fashionable at the moment of his literary debut. This course will look at theatrical and prose texts spanning Beckett’s career, in conjunction with a variety of philosophical texts from the Cartesian, continental, and analytic traditions, to see how Beckett re-appropriates and transforms philosophical problems and themes within a literary context. Specifically we will look at how Beckett reorients the relations between philosophical skepticism, the philosophy of language, and the problem of meaning.

Plato on Poets

Submitted by vickylim on
25013
35013
PORT 25013/35013, SCTH 30612
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Miguel Tamen

Allegory in the Western Literary Tradition

Submitted by vickylim on
25015
CLCV 25015
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
David Orsbon

What kinds of power can a text have? Is it possible for language and literature to do far more than instruct and entertain? Indeed, might it be possible for a text to give us access to types of knowledge that a human being would otherwise be unable to obtain? In what ways can the study of allegory help us to better understand how (and why) other cultures interpret the world in ways that differ from our own? And how do we, as readers, respond when we reach the apparent limits of our texts?

To ask such questions as these—particularly in the case of allegory—involves much more than asking what a text means. Indeed, although the question of meaning is fundamental to allegory, to view a text as allegorical is to view a text as possessing some kind of power or insight that can transform the way in which we view the world (or, even, the divine) and our relation to it. In fact, for generations of thinkers—from the earliest interpreters of Homer to the Early Modern Period and beyond—allegory represents literature at its most dynamic and powerful. The study of allegory and the history of its interpretation provides us, therefore, with the unique opportunity to examine how generations of authors and interpreters have pushed their respective arts to their limit, as if attempting to communicate with words an idea that, by its very nature, defies verbalization.

Readings for this course will include the following: Plato’s Republic (in particular, the Allegory of the Cave), Virgil’s Aeneid, Chaucer’s dream-vision poetry, Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, William Blake, and Italo Calvino.

Thomas Mann’s Novel, Joseph and His Brothers

Submitted by jenniequ on
25103
FNDL 25100, GRMN 25117, RLST 28215
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Olga Solovieva

Thomas Mann’s novel Joseph and His Brothers, a modern rewriting of the biblical story, was written over sixteen years (1926 - 1943) that shook German and European history through the assumption of power by the National Socialist party and the Second World War. Mann began the novel under the Weimar Republic and continued working on the novel in exile. The writer himself saw his novel as an act of resistance to his country’s anti-Semitic policies. In this course, we will closely read the novel, explore its relation to its biblical and other sources, learn about the history of its writing and publication and contextualize its genesis in Mann’s complicated involvement with German and world politics.

Catching Spies

Submitted by vickylim on
25215
GRMN 25215
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Tamar Abramov

How do we account for 20th century literature's fascination with spies and spying? How do we explain the emergence of this new literary subject with the inauguration of the new century? This course will examine the place the figure of the spy holds for twentieth-century imagination as reflected in literature, theater and film. It will suggest that the spy becomes a locus of fascination for literature when overlooked by the disciplines charged with regulating his actions. In positing espionage literature and film as a response to the law's impossibility of address we will establish the potential the figure of the spy holds to respond to an array of questions relating to identity and subjectivity through such tropes as homelessness and border crossing, sexual difference, theatricality and masquerade, technology and voyeurism.

Fashion and Modernity

Submitted by ldzoells on
25302
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Barbara Vinken
 

The relationship between fashion and modernity has always been taken for granted. Indeed, it is guaranteed in the very etymology of the French and German words “mode” and “modernité”. Yet, on closer inspection, there is a blind spot in this relation in that fashion seems rather to be the Other of modernity than modernity itself, an Oriental colony in the heart of the West.

The modern discourse of fashion testifies to the ambivalences and paradoxes in this relationship. From the beginning of the modern world until now, it is strangely split: there is fashion and fashion. Properly speaking, men’s fashion is not really fashionable. The perfectly functional suit without superfluous adornment is, in its world-wide constancy through the centuries, almost invariably classical. Its staggering universal success is due to the fact that it is the ideal modern dress: beautiful, because functional. Women’s fashion, on the contrary, is a remnant of the old, effeminate aristocracy – a frivolous frill, an all-in-all dysfunctional ornament, badly in need of thorough modernization. The „new woman“ is born in agonizing pain and perpetual fallbacks: while Chanel almost lead us toward a functional feminine form, Dior’s new look was, from this perspective, a setback: it brought back the unhealthy, restrictive corset and offered a slap in the face to the modern aesthetic dogma of „form follows function“. Fashion therefore seems to be the locus of a strange intimation of the political set against the common politics of modernity.

By reading texts form Friedrich Nietzsche to Adolf Loos and Thorstein Veblen, Rousseau to Baudelaire, from Gautier, Zola and Apollinaire to Simone de Beauvoir and Pierre Bourdieu,  the course will center around this blind spot between fashion and modernity and the new gendering of fashion in the bourgeois, post-feudal era.

Approaching Infinity: A History of Imaginative Attempts

Submitted by vickylim on
25303
HIPS 25303, HIST 25011
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Lily Huang
Does the infinite exist? Where, and by what lights? This course is an undisciplined investigation of multitudinous ways of denying, containing, and expressing the infinite. The sundry aspirations we study range from ancient natural philosophy to Enlightenment metaphysics, from Romantic poetry to fractal geometry. Authors include Aristotle, Lucretius, Shakespeare, Leibniz, Goethe, Coleridge, Keats, Flaubert, James, Bergson, Borges, and Calvino.
 
Full syllabus here: home.uchicago.edu/~lilyx

Contemporary Israeli Fiction

Submitted by Anonymous on
25400
=NEHC 20461
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2006-2007
Neta Stahl

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.

Humor in Yiddish Literature and Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
25501
35501
=ENGL 28913/37404, GRMN 25510/35510, YDDH 25510/35510
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Jan Schwarz

This course will apply various theoretical models of Diaspora literature to the study of Yiddish tales, short stories, monologues, plays, novels and life-writing from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among the topics addressed in the course are Yiddish humor and satire, literary modernism, the classical Yiddish writers' image of the shtetl (small Jewish town in Central and Eastern Europe) and Isaac Bashevis Singer's demon narrators. Readings are by Sh. Y. Abramovitsh, Y.L.Peretz. Scholem-Aleichem, Dovid Bergelson, Der Nister, Jonah Rosenfeld, I.B.Singer, Chaim Grade, Ester Kreytman, Chava Rosenfarb, Yankev Glathsteyn and Sh. Ansky.

Unhappiness

Submitted by vickylim on
25703
35703
SCTH 35703,SCTH 25703,PHIL 21402,PHIL 31402,
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Irad Kimhi

"Nothing is funnier then unhappiness" says Nelly in Beckett's Endgame. We shall seek to distinguish between unhappiness, as the subject of poetic works, from unhappiness as it is understood by philosophy, which, I would argue, is precisely as funny as nothing. We shall discuss some famous unhappy families. A Greek tragedy (Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus), a Renaissance tragedy (Shakespeare, Hamlet), a modern theater of the absurd (Beckett: Endgame).

Machiavelli and Machiavellism

Submitted by Anonymous on
25801
=FNDL 21603, ITAL 23000, REMS 33001
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Rocco Rubini

This course is a comprehensive introduction to Machiavelli's The Prince in light of his vast and varied literary corpus and European reception. The course includes discussion of Machiavelli as playwright ( The Mandrake ); fiction writer ( Belfagor , The Golden Ass ); and historian ( Discourses , Florentine Histories ). We also closely investigate the emergence of myths surrounding Machiavelli (Machiavellism and anti-Machiavellism) in Italy (Guicciardini, Botero, Boccalini); France (Bodin and Gentillet); Spain (Ribadeneyra); and Northern Europe (Hobbes, Grotius, Spinoza) during the Counter Reformation and beyond. Classes conducted in English. Students who are majoring or minoring in Italian do all work in Italian.

Medieval Epic

Submitted by Anonymous on
25900
35900
=ENGL 15800, RLST 26308
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
M Murrin

We will study a variety of heroic literature, including Beowulf, The Volsunga Saga, The Song of Roland, The Purgatorio, and the Alliterative Morte D'Arthur. A paper will be required, and there may be an oral examination.

Realism and Anti-Realism in Post-Holocaust Hebrew Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
26001
=JWSC 21900 NEHC 20467
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2007-2008
Neta Stahl

This course seeks to trace the narrative dynamics and literary means of Post-Holocaust Hebrew Literature. The course focuses on works that break with the conventions of realism, and study the specific forms and means by which each work does so. In the center of the discussion will stand questions such as: what are the constraints of the literary discourse on the Holocaust, what is the role of anti-realist depiction of the Holocaust, and in what ways the fantastic threatens the collective memory. We will read works by writers such as: S.Y Agnon, Aharon Appelfeld, David Grossman, Itamar Levi, Yoel Hoffmann and Michal Govrin. Classes will be conducted in English, but students with knowledge of Hebrew are encouraged to read texts in the original.

The Medieval Persian Romance: Gorgani's Vis and Ramin

Submitted by vickylim on
26016
FNDL 26016
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Cameron Cross

This class is an enquiry into the medieval romance genre through the close and comparative reading of one of its oldest extant representatives, Gorgâni's Vis & Râmin (w. ca. 1054 CE). With roots that go back to Late Antiquity, this romance is a valuable interlocutor between the Greek novel, Arabic love theory and poetics, and well-known European romances like Tristan, Lancelot, and Cligès: a sustained exploration of psychological turmoil and moral indecision, and a vivid dramatization of the many contradictions inherent in erotic theory, most starkly by the lovers' faithful adultery. By reading Vis & Râmin alongside some of its generic neighbors (Kallirrhoe, Leukippe, Tristan, Cligès), as well as the love-theories of writers like Plato, Avicenna, Jâhiz, Ibn Hazm, and Andreas Cappellanus, we will map out the various kinds of literary work the romance is called upon to do, and investigate myriad and shifting conceptions of romantic love as performance, subjectivity, and moral practice. An optional section introducing selections from the original text in Persian will be available if there is sufficient student interest.

Civil War and Literature

Submitted by ldzoells on
26305
54855
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Barbara Vinken
 

The topic of Civil war has massivly resurfaced in literature after the Second World War. Interestingly, it comes back in the Roman disguise that had dominated already the 19th, and a fortiori the 20th and 21th centuries. How  can one narrate the total dis-integration of society that is civil war? We will look at Claude Simon’s novel Georgiques and Michel Houellebecq’s novel Soumission. But we will also go back ad fontes with Vergil’s poem Georgiques and the last book of the Aeneid. To understand the principle of this translatio Romae, we will take a look into Karl Marx’s The 18th Brumaire of Napoléon Bonaparte.

Introduction to the Renaissance

Submitted by Anonymous on
26400
=ITAL 22200
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Armando Maggi

This course examines the birth and development of the European Renaissance, with a special focus on sixteenth-century culture, philosophy, and literature. After an introductory analysis of Francesco Petrarca's Italian and Latin works, we will examine the phenomenon of Italian Humanism. Then, we will focus on some of the most important Renaissance philosophers, such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino, Erasmus, Montaigne, Bruno. We will also read a selection of Renaissance lyric poetry with a special focus on authors, whose work has a philosophical content, including Michelangelo, Bembo, Camões, and Scève. The final section of our class will examine the impact on Catholic Counter-reformation on the evolution of the Renaissance.

Oulipo in Context

Submitted by vickylim on
26510
36510
FREN 26510/36510
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
James Alison

This course will examine the history and achievements of the Paris-based literary collective Oulipo, (Workshop for Potential Literature), from its founding as a secret society in 1960 to its expansion into an internationally visible group. We will consider the group's relationship to (and reaction against) earlier and contemporary avant-garde movements, the French new novel, and structuralism, and we will also examine the reception of Oulipian writing outside France. Readings will include collective publications by the group as well as works by Queneau, Perec, Roubaud, Calvino, Mathews, Grangaud, and others. A weekly session in French will be held for French majors and graduate students. Students seeking French credit must do the readings (where applicable) and writing in French.

Hamlet and Critical Methods

Submitted by vickylim on
26601
ENGL 16711, FNDL 22205
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Joshua Scodel

Shakespeare's Hamlet has probably inspired the most criticism of any play in world literature, and it has certainly inspired some of the greatest criticism. This course explores the goals, presuppositions, strengths, and limitations of different kinds of scholarship and criticism by focusing upon the variety of approaches that have been (or in some cases, could be) applied to Shakespeare's play. The course will focus on modern editorial theory and practice; classical and neoclassical discussions of mimesis, plot, and theatrical affect; Romantic, psychoanalytic, and postmodern discussions of Hamlet as character; recent literary historical discussions of sources and genre; new critical, new historicist, and feminist analyses of the play's imagined world; as well as performances and literary adaptations of Hamlet conceived of as interpretations of the play. Students will write several short response papers to the assigned readings as well as a longer paper analyzing and/or applying different critical approaches to Hamlet.

Hamlet and Critical Methods

Submitted by vickylim on
26601
ENGL 16711,FNDL 22205
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Joshua Scodel

Shakespeare's Hamlet has probably inspired the most criticism of any play in world literature, and it has certainly inspired some of the greatest criticism. This course explores the goals, presuppositions, strengths, and limitations of different kinds of scholarship and criticism by focusing upon the variety of approaches that have been (or in some cases, could be) applied to Shakespeare's play. The course will focus on modern editorial theory and practice; classical and neoclassical discussions of mimesis, plot, and theatrical affect; Romantic, psychoanalytic, and postmodern discussions of Hamlet as character; recent literary historical discussions of sources and genre; new critical, new historicist, and feminist analyses of the play's imagined world; as well as performances and literary adaptations of Hamlet conceived of as interpretations of the play. Students will write several short response papers to the assigned readings as well as a longer paper analyzing and/or applying different critical approaches to Hamlet.

Hamlet and Critical Methods

Submitted by Anonymous on
26601
=ENGL 16711, FNDL 22205
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
J Scodel

Shakespeare's Hamlet has probably inspired the most criticism of any play in world literature, and it has certainly inspired some of the greatest criticism. This course explores the goals, presuppositions, strengths, and limitations of different kinds of scholarship and criticism by focusing upon the variety of approaches that have been (or in some cases, could be) applied to Shakespeare's play. The course will focus on modern editorial theory and practice; classical and neoclassical discussions of mimesis, plot, and theatrical affect; Romantic, psychoanalytic, and postmodern discussions of Hamlet as character; recent literary historical discussions of sources and genre; new critical, new historicist, and feminist analyses of the play's imagined world; as well as performances and literary adaptations of Hamlet conceived of as interpretations of the play.

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