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The New Criticism

Submitted by jenniequ on
36015
SCTH 36015 / ENGL
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Thomas Pavel, Rosanna Warren
 
 
 

An examination of primary works of The New Criticism, British and American. We will consider the theoretical variety and different critical practices of these loosely allied critics, who were often not allies at all. Authors to be studied: I.A. Richards, T.S. Eliot, F.R. Leavis, Kenneth Burke, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, Yvor Winters, R. P. Blackmur, William Empson.

Ruins

Submitted by jenniequ on
40010
CDIN 40010, ARTH 40010, RLIT 40010
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Jas’ Elsner, Françoise Meltzer

“Ruins” will cover texts and images, from Thucydides to WWII, via the Reformation. We will include films (e.g. Rossellini’s “Germany Year Zero”), art (e.g. H. Robert, Piranesi) archaeology, the museum (Soane).  On ruins writing, we will read Thucydides, Pausanias from within antiquity, the Enlightenment responses to the destruction and archaeological rediscovery of Pompeii, Diderot, Simmel, Freud on the mind as levels of ruins (Rome) and the analysis as reconstructive archaeologist as well as on the novel Gradiva and the Acropolis, the Romantic obsession with ruins, and the firebombing in WWII. We will also consider the photographing of ruins, and passages from the best-known works on photography (Benjamin, Sontag, Ritchen, Fried, Azoulay). The goal is to see how ruin gazing, and its depictions (textual, imagistic, photographic, etc.) change from the ancients (Greek and Roman), to the Romantic use of ruins as a source of (pleasurable) melancholy, to the technological “advances” in targeting and decimating civilian populations that describe the Second Word War.

Monstrosity and the Monstrous

Submitted by jenniequ on
20505
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Pablo Maurette

This course centers on the relationship between literature and science by focusing on the figure of the monster. The human imagination can produce the most outlandish forms: we will call this the monstrous. Natural philosophy and science, on the other hand, have to deal with the deformed, the organically distorted, the preternatural: we will call this monstrosity. Both concepts can spark thrilling debates on identity and difference, divine providence and chance, fear and lust, gender, race, and more. In a journey that takes us from antiquity to the 21st century, we will be looking at ancient history and literature, Medieval bestiaries, Renaissance scientific treatises, plays, nineteen and twentieth-century novels, evolutionary biology, theory, philosophy, and film.

Translation and Translation Theory

Submitted by jenniequ on
20510
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy

Translation is one of the central mechanisms of literary creativity. This course will consider translation both concretely and theoretically. Topics to be discussed will include semantic and grammatical interference, loss and gain, the production of difference, pidgin, translationese, bilingualism, self-translation, code-switching, translation as metaphor, foreignization vs. nativization, and distinct histories of translation.

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.

 

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Imaginary Worlds: The Fantastic and Magic Realism from Russia and Southeastern Europe

Submitted by jenniequ on
27701
37701
SOSL 2/37700, RUSS 2/37300
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Angelina Ilieva

In this course, we will ask what constitutes the fantastic and magic realism as literary genres while reading some of the most interesting writings to have come out of Russia and Southeastern Europe. While considering the stylistic and narrative specificities of this narrative mode, we also think about its political functions —from subversive to escapist, to supportive of a nationalist imaginary—in different contexts and at different historic moments in the two regions.