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Theories of Autobiography

Submitted by isagor on
35210
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Maria Anna Mariani

Ambiguous and elusive by definition, the autobiographical genre has attracted generations of critics determined to identify its specificity and define its boundaries. Throughout the course we will examine the main theories relevant to the study of autobiography, reflecting at the same time on various problematic aspects of the genre that literary theorists have long discussed: the pitfalls of personal identity, the presumption of pronouncing one’s final words when one’s life is not yet over, the untruthful mediation of writing, and the paradoxes of memory. We will focus our inquiries to the English, French and Italian contexts, analyzing in particular the theories developed by Gusdorf, Starobinski, Lejeune, Ricœur, De Man, Olney, Battistini, D’Intino. Part of our task will be to test these approaches against narratives produced in different historical periods.

The Debt Drive: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Neoliberalism

Submitted by jenniequ on
42416
GRMN 42416
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Aaron Schuster, Eric Santner

Debt has become a paramount topic of discussion and controversy in recent times, fuelled by the financial crisis of 2008 and the different episodes of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, above all involving Greece. This has produced a great deal of commentaries, economic analyses, and journalistic polemics from all sides of the political spectrum. Yet despite this profusion of discourse, it still proves difficult to seize the exact contours of the problem. Debt affects both the most isolated individuals and the most powerful states, it is equally a matter of “cold” economic rationality and the “hottest” emotions and moral judgments, it appears at once as the most empirical thing with the hardest material consequences and as a mysterious, ethereal, abstract, and purely speculative entity (the unreal product of financial “speculation”). The concept of indebtedness not only characterizes an increasingly universal economic predicament, but also defines a form of subjectivity central to our present condition. This seminar will examine the problem of debt by first looking at how different approaches to it—economic, anthropological, and psychodynamic—were formed by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, and then reading more contemporary authors on the theme, including Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, Graeber, and Lazzarato. 

Hölderlin and the Greeks

Submitted by jenniequ on
48616
GRMN 48616, CLAS 48616
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Christopher Wild, Mark Payne

The German poet Friedrich Hölderlin submitted to the paradoxical double-bind of Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s injunction that “the only way for us [Germans] to become great or — if this is possible — inimitable, is to imitate the ancients.” As he wrote in his short essay “The standpoint from which we should consider antiquity,” Hölderlin feared being crushed by the originary brilliance of his Greek models (as the Greeks themselves had been), and yet foresaw that modern European self-formation must endure the ordeal of its encounter with the Greek Other. The faculty of the imagination was instrumental to the mediated self-formation of this Bildung project, for imagination alone was capable of making Greece a living, vitalizing, presence on the page. Our seminar will therefore trace the work of poetic imagination in Hölderlin’s texts: the spatiality and mediality of the written and printed page, and their relation to the temporal rhythms of lived experience. All texts will be read in English translation, but a reading knowledge of German and/or Greek would be desirable. C. Wild and M. Payne.

Literary Theory: Pre-Modern, Non-Western, Not Exclusively Literary

Submitted by jenniequ on
50106
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy

Readings in theories of literature and related arts from cultures other than those of the post-1900 industrialized regions. What motivated reflection on verbal art in Greece, Rome, early China, early South Asia, and elsewhere? Rhetoric, hermeneutics, commentary, allegory, and other modes of textual analysis will be approached through source texts, using both originals and translations. Authors to be considered include Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Zhuangzi, Sima Qian, Augustine, Liu Xie, Abhinavagupta, Dante, Li Zhi, Rousseau, Lessing, Schlegel, and Saussure. Open to students from any department. Enrollment max 25.

This course fulfills the Autumn core requirement for first-year Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature

Literary Theory: Pre-Modern, Non-Western, Not Exclusively Literary

Submitted by jenniequ on
50106
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy

Readings in theories of literature and related arts from cultures other than those of the post-1900 industrialized regions. What motivated reflection on verbal art in Greece, Rome, early China, early South Asia, and elsewhere? Rhetoric, hermeneutics, commentary, allegory, and other modes of textual analysis will be approached through source texts, using both originals and translations. Authors to be considered include Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Zhuangzi, Sima Qian, Augustine, Liu Xie, Abhinavagupta, Dante, Li Zhi, Rousseau, Lessing, Schlegel, and Saussure. 

Textual Knowledge and Authority: Biblical and Chinese Literature

Submitted by jenniequ on
50805
BIBL 50805/KNOW 40401
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy / Simeon Chavel

Ancient writers and their patrons exploited the textual medium, the virtual reality it can evoke and the prestige it can command to promote certain categories of knowledge and types of knowers. This course will survey two ancient bodies of literature, Hebrew and Chinese, for the figures they advance, the perspectives they configure, the genres they present, and the practices that developed around them, all in a dynamic interplay of text and counter-text. Excerpts from Hebrew literature include (a) royal wisdom in Proverbs & Ecclesiastes; (b) divine law in Exodus 19–24, Deuteronomy, the Temple Scroll, and Pesharim. Readings from Chinese literature include (c) speeches from the Shang shu (Book of Documents), (d) odes from the Shi jing (Book of Songs), and (e) commentaries from Han to Qing periods that elucidate, often in contradictory terms, the law-giving properties of these texts.

Shakespeare's History Plays

Submitted by dmmettlach on
2677
36750
ENGL 16550 / 36550
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
David Bevington

This course on Shakespeare's English history plays will adopt an unusual stratagem of reading the plays in order of the historical events they depict: that is, starting with King John, who ruled England from 1199 until his death in 1216, then (after a sizable interval of time devoted to the reigns of Henry III, 1216-1272, Edward I, 1272-1307, Edward II, 1307-1327, and Edward III, 1327-1377, not dramatized by Shakespeare), Richard II (reigned 1377-1390), Henry IV Parts I and II (1399-1413), Henry V (1413-1422), Henry VI Parts I-III (1422-1461 and 1470-1471, alternating with Edward IV, 1461-1470, 1471-1483), Richard III (1483-1485), and finally Henry VIII (1509-1547, having succeeded his father, Henry VII, who reigned from 1485-1509 and whose reign is not celebrated by a Shakespeare play). The emphasis will be on the great plays, Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and II, Henry V, and Richard III. My hope is that this approach will enable us to explore Shakespeare's concept of English history over a large sweep of time, leading up to the Tudor dynasty that began with Henry VII's victory over Richard III in 1485 and concluded with the long and successful reign of Elizabeth I, Henry VIII's daughter, whose rule ended with her death in 1603, soon after Shakespeare had completed his writing of all these plays except Henry VIII. We will be reading the plays in the order in which they were printed in the first complete edition of Shakespeare works in the 1623 First Folio. Undergraduate:(D, E) Graduate:(Med/Ren)

Jewish Literature in a Century of Transformation: 1880-1980

Submitted by jenniequ on
20226
30226
JWSC 20226, NEHC 20226
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Na'ama Rokem

A survey of Jewish Literature written by Jews around the globe in different languages (including Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, Russian, English, Polish, German) in an era of upheaval and transformation. We will discuss the literary representation of phenomena such as: the national movement and the foundation of the State of Israel; persecutions, pogroms and the Holocaust; waved of migration, acculturation and assimilation; the involvement of Jews in political movements, such as communism and anarchism; changing gender roles and changing ideas about the Jewish family. And we will ask: how have these events - and the modern era that they are a part of - influenced ideas about literary representation and the relationship between literature and history. 

Literatures of “Eurasia”

Submitted by jenniequ on
20905
30905
=HIST 23603 / HIST 33603 / REES 29812 / NELC 20705/30705
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Leah Feldman

This course explores literatures produced across Eurasia, with a particular focus on the Caucasus and Central Asia including the writings of Lermontov, Blok, Gorodetsky, Solovyov, Memmedquluzadeh, Iskender, Aitmatov, as well as the films of Paradjanov and Ibragimbekov. We will also trace the intellectual history of the orientalist conception of Eurasianism and its variants including conceptions of race and ethnicity that it produced. In this way, we will attend to connections forged between Eurasianist ideologies and conceptions of language, geography and biology. 

Strangers to Ourselves: Twentieth Century Émigré Literature and Film from Russia and South Eastern Europe

Submitted by jenniequ on
26902
36902
SOSL 2/36900
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Angelina Ilieva

“Being alienated from myself, as painful as that may be, provides me with that exquisite distance within which perverse pleasure begins, as well as the possibility of my imagining and thinking,” writes Julia Kristeva in Strangers to Ourselves, the book from which this course takes its title. The authors whose works we are going to examine often alternate between nostalgia and the exhilaration of being set free into the breathless possibilities of new lives. Leaving home does not simply mean movement in space. Separated from the sensory boundaries that defined their old selves, immigrants inhabit a warped, fragmentary, disjointed time. Immigrant writers struggle for breath – speech, language, voice, the very stuff of their craft resounds somewhere else. Join us as we explore the pain, the struggle, the failure and the triumph of emigration and exile. Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nina Berberova, Julia Kristeva, Alexander Hemon, Dubravka Ugrešić, Norman Manea, Miroslav Penkov, Ilija Trojanow, Tea Obreht