Course Listing

Filter by course level:

Filter by quarter:

Filter by academic year:

Multilingualism and Translation in Modern Jewish Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
20225
JWSC 20225
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Na'ama Rokem

Covering the period roughly between 1880 and 1980, this course touches on some of the transformations and upheavals that have formed modern Jewish culture: waves of migration, modernization, and assimilation; the rise of Jewish nationalism and the foundation of the State of Israel; and the Holocaust. Our driving questions will be: How do these different revolutions and upheavals influence the dynamic relations between the different languages in which Jews speak and write? What is the role of translation in Jewish culture? What do we learn from the Jewish case about language politics more broadly? How should we theorize and describe the monolingual ideologies that are dominant in the modern West? And how should we read bilingual literature?

Contemporary Drama: Alienation and Cruelty

Submitted by Anonymous on
20300
=ENGL 24502
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2006-2007
Jonathan Ullyot

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.

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.

Fictional Minds: The Representation of Consciousness in the European Novel

Submitted by vickylim on
20663
SCTH 20663,ENGL 20663
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
James McCormick

Through readings of texts by Goethe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Woolf, Musil, and Zadie Smith, this course will examine the range of formal techniques for representing minds during different eras in the history of the European novel. We will ask how different modes of narrating fictional minds reveal underlying (and shifting) models of human subjectivity and how these models, in turn, structure our own reading practices and our interpretation of characters. The literary readings will be supplemented with secondary texts that will introduce students to the tools and concerns of classical narratology as well as to contemporary development in cognitive literary studies. Theoretical authors will include: Gerard Genette, Dorrit Cohn, Erich Auerbach, Monika Fudernik, Mikhail Bakhtin, Alan Palmer, Lisa Zunshine, and David Lodge.

Before and after Beckett: Theater and Film

Submitted by Anonymous on
20801
=CMST 24203/44203, ENGL 24401/44506
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Loren Kruger

PQ: Third- or fourth-year standing, and at least one prior course in modern drama or film. This course meets the critical/intellectual methods course requirement for students who are majoring in Comparative Literature. Working knowledge of French helpful but not required. Beckett is conventionally typed as the playwright of minimalist scenes of unremitting bleakness. But his experiments with theater and film echo the irreverent play of popular culture (vaudeville on stage and film, including Chaplin and Keaton) and the artistic avant-garde (Dreyer in film; Jarry and Artaud in theater). This course juxtaposes this early twentieth-century work with Beckett's plays on stage and screen, as well as those of his contemporaries (Ionesco, Duras) and successors. Contemporary authors depend on availability but may include Vinaver, Minyana, and Lagarce (France); Pinter and Greenaway (England); and Foreman and Wellman (United States). Theoretical work may include texts by Artaud, Barthes, Derrida, Josette Feral, Peggy Phelan, and Bert States.

The Woman in Modern Greek Literature

Submitted by isagor on
21209
MOGK 21000; GNSE 21209, CLCV 22517
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
Chrysanthi Koutsiviti

This course aims to reveal the woman and her world or what the society claims to be this world through prose and poetry written in different historical periods in Greece. The works chosen are part of major contemporary Greek literature and interact with culture, history and social ideas of the country. They represent three different periods:  the beginning of the 20th century, the years of dictatorship (1967-1974) and the period after the dictatorship until today. They all have a big impact on Greek literature and they all have drawn the interest of excellent translators in English. The works are offering the opportunity to observe the changes in women’ s position in Greece, and mostly to analyze major works examining the inner nature of the human being.

The texts will be taught in English. No knowledge of Modern Greek is required. However, students with such knowledge are encouraged to study the text in Modern Greek, as well, since the chosen editions are bilingual.

Latino/a Intellectual Thought

Submitted by Anonymous on
21401
=ENGL 22804, GNDR 22401, LACS 22804, SPAN 22801
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2007-2008
Ral Coronado

This course traces the history of Latina/o intellectual work that helped shape contemporary Latina/o cultural studies. Our focus is on how Chicanas/os and Puerto Ricans have theorized the history, society, and culture of Latinas/os in the United States. Themes include folklore and anthropology, cultural nationalism, postcolonialism, literary and cultural studies, community activism, feminism, sexuality, and the emergence of a pan-Latino culture. Throughout, we pay attention to the convergences and divergences of Chicana/o and Puerto Rican studies, especially as contemporary practitioners have encouraged us to (re)think Latina/o studies in a comparative framework.

Introduction to Narratology

Submitted by Anonymous on
21403
=GRMN 21411, FREN 21411
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Sandra Janssen

The first part of this course is designed as an overview of some major theories of narrative. We will focus on structuralist approaches such as those of Roland Barthes and Grard Genette's, but also discuss texts such as Benjamin's analysis of the narrator, Bakhtin's theory of polyphony, and new approaches to narratology in the field of cognitive poetics. In the second part, we will analyze literary examples taken especially from German and French literature from the 18th to the 20th century. A special emphasis will lie on different narrative representations of consciousness, in free indirect speech (Flaubert), the stream of consciousness (Joyce), or narrative styles that try to render more visual forms of consciousness (Musil). Finally, we will consider some experimental forms of narrative from the later 20th century (Queneau, Perec, D. Grossman).

Comparative Fairy Tale

Submitted by Anonymous on
21600
=GRMN 28500, NORW 28500
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Kimberly Kenny

For some, fairy tales count as sacred tales meant to enchant rather than to edify. For others, they are cautionary tales, replete with obvious moral lessons. Critics have come to apply all sorts of literary approaches to fairy tale texts, ranging from stylistic analyses to psychoanalytical and feminist readings. For the purposes of this course, we assume that these critics are correct in their contention that fairy tales contain essential underlying meanings. We conduct our own readings of fairy tales from the German Brothers Grimm, the Norwegians, Asbjørnsen and Moe, and the Dane, Hans Christian Andersen. We rely on our own critical skills as well as on selected secondary readings. All work in English.

Empire and Intimacy: Race and Sexual Fantasy in European Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
21601
=ENGL 18105, GNDR 21603, ISHU 21601
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2007-2008
Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud

This course meets the critical/intellectual methods course requirement for students who are majoring in Comparative Literature. This course critically examines European fascination with non-Western peoples, their bodies and sexual practices from the late Renaissance to the 20th century. Along with select incursions into visual art and film, the class will focus on English and French literature that imagines cross-cultural contact in its most shocking form: interracial sexuality. We will try to assess the political questions - race fetishism, the ethics of desire, economic exploitation, to name but a few - these representations provoke. In addition to this literary output, we will examine European proto-anthropology that detailed the sexual aberrations of subaltern peoples. We will consider the role both types of discourses had in stimulating interest in imperial exploration and how the logic of territorial capture dovetailed with the masculinist metaphor of sexual conquest. We will take recent contributions by postcolonial, feminist, queer and Marxist critics as a starting point for discussion and for formulating our own views on this problematic. All works will be available in English, but students with a reading knowledge of French will be encouraged to read French works in the original. Literature to be read includes works by Shakespeare, Behn, Diderot, Byron, C. Bront, Haggard, Gide and Forster.

Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception

Submitted by vickylim on
21906
FNDL 21906
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Haun Saussy

A reading of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception (1945) with appropriate reference to its philosophical, psychological and even fictional predecessors. The course should be of interest to those working in the philosophy of consciousness, mind-body relations, critical theory, history of science, and even ethics and aesthetics. Reading ability in French encouraged but not required; we will use the original text and the translation by Colin Smith.

Magic Realist and Fantastic Writings from the Balkans

Submitted by vickylim on
22201
32201
SOSL 27400/37400
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Angelina Ilieva

In this course, we ask whether there is such a thing as a "Balkan" type of magic realism and think about the differences between the genres of magic realism and the fantastic, while reading some of the most interesting writing to have come out of the Balkans. We also look at the similarities of the works from different countries (e.g., lyricism of expression, eroticism, nostalgia) and argue for and against considering such similarities constitutive of an overall Balkan sensibility.

Nature in/as Literature

Submitted by isagor on
22380
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
David Orsbon

It seems self-evident that the world we live in influence our literatures and languages. The question is, How? On the other hand, nature itself is a kind of literature, and in more ways than one. From one point of view, nature writes itself when coastlines shift and mountains erode. But there are at least two other ways in which nature is a kind of literature. One of these stories is written by scientists and environmental historians, who take data acquired and use it to reconstruct narratives of environmental change. At the same time, there is another (and some would say, an especially urgent) story of nature, which is being etched into the natural world by bulldozers, bridges, and dynamite. Just like more traditional forms of nature writing, these other narratives of the environment are as much a form of literature as any other, and since humans have a role, not only in shaping the natural world, but also in telling its story, humans are the coauthors of the story of our planet in more than one sense.

This course is an introduction to the history of the concept of nature, ecocriticism, and environmental history. We will discuss issues and topics such as: relationships between nature and literature, ecofeminism, literary/textual ecosystems, environmental ethics, narratives of rise/collapse, animal studies, urban studies, ecolinguistics, and human-environment interactions.

Money and Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
22504
GNSE 22504
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2011-2012
Tamara Chin

This course explores a set of imaginative, anthropological, and economic writings about money.  Topics will include economic rhetoric and genres, market values, housework, and ancient and modern economies.  We will read Gide’s The Counterfeiters, Adiga’s White Tiger, biographies of coins, Chinese economic dialogues, and watch an episode of Suze Orman’s Money Class. Critical readings will include Mauss, Simmel, Marx, Goux, Rubin, Spivak.

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.    

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Love-Songs

Submitted by Anonymous on
26801
=ENGL 27806/47213
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Robert von Hallberg

This course examines certain themes in poems and in popular song-lyrics that include devotion, sentiment, serial desire, bought love, and aged love. Many song-lyrics are tin pan alley tunes, often in their jazz versions. Students are encouraged to suggest songs that have particularly strong lyrics. Poems come from various historical periods, with the Norton Anthology of Poetry as our source.

Soil: Patriotism, Pollution, and Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
27100
=CLCV 27406
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2006-2007
Tamara Chin

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.

Chinese Historiography

Submitted by Anonymous on
27101
=EALC 27101
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Tamara Chin

PQ: Two literary Chinese courses. This course introduces Han dynasty historiography and its relation to the Chinese literary tradition. Through close readings of the Shiji and Hanshu , we explore a range of prose and poetic forms and consider traditional and comparative methods of interpretation.

Renaissance Demonology

Submitted by Anonymous on
27602
=HIST 22110, ITAL 26500, RLST 26501
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Armando Maggi

This course analyzes the complex concept of demonology according to early modern European culture from a theological, historical, philosophical, and literary point of view. The term demon in the Renaissance encompasses a vast variety of meanings. Demons are hybrids. They are both the Christian devils, but also synonyms for classical deities, and Neo-Platonic spiritual beings. As far as Christian theology is concerned, we read selections from Augustine's and Thomas Aquinas's treatises, some complex exorcisms written in Italy, and a new recent translation of the infamous Malleus maleficarum , the most important treatise on witch-hunt. We pay close attention to the historical evolution of the so-called witch-craze in Europe through a selection of the best secondary literature on this subject, with special emphasis on Michel de Certeau's The Possession at Loudun . We also study how major Italian and Spanish women mystics, such as Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi and Teresa of Avila, approach the issue of demonic temptation and possession. As far as Renaissance Neo-Platonic philosophy is concerned, we read selections from Marsilio Ficino's Platonic Theology and Girolamo Cardano's mesmerizing autobiography. We also investigate the connection between demonology and melancholy through a close reading of the initial section of Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and Cervantes's short story The Glass Graduate (El licenciado Vidriera) . Classes conducted in English.

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

Submitted by Anonymous on
27701
=SOSL 27700/37700, RUSS 27300/37300
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
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 the genres, we will also think about their political functions - from subversive to escapist, to supportive of a nationalist imaginary - in different contexts and at different historic moments in the two regions. We will ask whether there are such things as a Balkan and Russian type of magic realism and we will think about the differences between the genres of magic realism and the fantastic. We will also look at the similarities of the works from different countries – the lyricism of expression, eroticism and nostalgia, and will argue for and against considering such similarities constitutive of an overall Balkan sensibility.

Racine's Phdre: Text, Sources, and Translation

Submitted by Anonymous on
28000
=FNDL 29401, FREN 23201
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2006-2007
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).

Cervantes's Enigmatic Feasts: The Exemplary Novels and Don Quixote, Part II

Submitted by Anonymous on
28102
=REMS 34301, SPAN 24311/34311
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Frederick de Armas

This course focuses on The Exemplary Novels (1613) and Don Quijote, Part II (1615) from the point of view of calendared feasts. To the recently instituted Gregorian calendar, the novel superimposes at least three other time maps. First, the Julian calendar with its many feasts as depicted in Ovid's Fasti ; second, the celestial movement through the twelve signs of the zodiac as represented by Hercules' twelve labors; and third, the Egyptian lunar calendar that leads to the knight's defeat. This meandering through calendars creates an instability and sense of unease that recalls the changes in mapping that are taking place with the discovery of America and the change to a heliocentric cosmos. The Novelas show an inordinate interest in feasts while, as Don Quixote proceeds, a kind of dilatio takes place, as Don Quixote diverts his route over and over again from his destination (Zaragoza and the feast of St. George). Time then becomes a subjective phenomenon that affects both the reader and the characters. We examine Cervantes's novel through the lenses of Ovid's Fasti and Apuleius' Golden Ass . Maps and paintings of the period are also examined. Classes taught in English. Students in Spanish and REMS read the text in the original language and write their papers in Spanish.

Literature and Madness

Submitted by Anonymous on
28600
=GRMN 26500
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2007-2008
Christiane Frey

This course explores the curious proximity between literature and the discourse on madness in the modern era. Discussion topics include definitions of insanity and their evolution across time, insane or deviant characters and their function in drama and fiction, the topos of the poet as madman, and the poetics of madness. Authors discussed may include Cervantes, Shakespeare, Goethe, Tieck, Hoffmann, Bchner, Poe, Gogol, James, Hauptmann, Dblin, Pirandello, Schnitzler, Kant, Pinel, Reil, Lombroso, Schreber, and Freud.

Pages