Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

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Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14



Deirdre d’Albertis (director), Thomas Bartscherer, Alex Benson, Anna Cafaro, Mary Caponegro, Nicole Caso, Maria Sachiko Cecire, Teju Cole, Terence F. Dewsnap, Mika Endo, Nuruddin Farah, Peter Filkins, Elizabeth Frank, Stephen Graham, Donna Ford Grover, Lianne Habinek, Rebecca Cole Heinowitz, Thomas Keenan, Robert Kelly, Marina Kostalevsky, Benjamin La Farge, Nancy S. Leonard, Marisa Libbon, Joseph Luzzi, Norman Manea, Daniel Mendelsohn, Bradford Morrow, William Mullen, Matthew Mutter, Melanie Nicholson, Francine Prose, Joan Retallack, Justus Rosenberg, Nathan Shockey, Karen Sullivan, Eric Trudel, Marina van Zuylen, Olga Voronina, Thomas Wild, Li-Hua Ying  


The Literature Program at Bard is free from the barriers that are often set up between different national literatures or between the study of language and the study of the range of intellectual, historical, and imaginative dimensions to which literature’s changing forms persistently refer. Literary studies are vitally engaged with inter­disciplinary programs such as Experimental Humanities and Asian, Classical, Medieval, and Victorian Studies. An active connection with Bard’s arts programs is maintained through courses concerned with painting, film, aesthetics, and representational practices across a range of fields.


A student planning to major in the Literature Program should begin by taking Literature 103, Introduction to Literary Studies, and at least one of the sequence courses in English, U.S., or comparative literature. These courses focus on close readings of literary texts and frequent preparation of critical papers. 

To moderate, a student must take at least three additional courses in the Division of Languages and Literature. One of these courses may be a Written Arts course and one may be a language instruction course. No more than one writing workshop can count toward the Moderation requirements.

For Moderation, the student submits a 10- to 12-page critical essay based on work for one of the sequence courses; the two short Moderation papers required of all students; and fiction or poetry if the student is a double major in the Written Arts Program. The first short paper reflects on the process that has led the student to this point in his or her studies; the second reflects on the student’s aspirations for work in the Upper College. The papers are evaluated by a board composed of the student’s adviser and two other members of the Literature Program faculty. 

After Moderation, the student chooses seminars at the 300 level and tutorials in special topics. Students are encouraged to study a language other than English, and study-abroad programs are easily combined with a major in literature.

To graduate, students must take a second sequence course from the same sequence as the first, although it need not be consecutive (for example, a student may take English Literature III and then English Literature I). The second sequence course must be taken prior to the start of the senior year. Students must also take at least one course that focuses on literature written before 1800 and at least one course that focuses on literature written after 1800. This requirement is in addition to the two sequence courses described above. Students are also expected to enroll in 300-level courses and are strongly encouraged to take one junior seminar. All students complete a Senior Project.

Recent Senior Projects in Literature:

  • “Above the Bend: Narratives Exploring the Myth of the American West”
  • “Dress Codes: Appearance and Identity in Great Expectations, Sister Carrie, and The Great Gatsby
  • “The Hideous Progeny of the Anti-Type: An Exploration of Love, Isolation, and Pursuit in the World of the Shelleys”
  • “The Infinity and Clarity of Desire: Identity, Piracy, and Pleasure in Kathy Acker’s Work”

Additional Resources

In 2011, the Readers of Homer joined Bard as Literary Organization in Residence. The group collaborates with students, faculty, and staff to offer readings on campus.


Most writing-intensive courses and workshops in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are listed under the Written Arts Program.

Introduction to Literary Studies
Literature 103
The aim of this course is to develop the student’s ability to perform close readings of literature. By exploring the unfolding of sounds, rhythms, and meanings in a wide range of works—poems, short stories, plays, and novels—from a wide range of time periods and national traditions, students gain a familiarity with basic topics  of literary study as well as what makes a piece of writing “literary” in the first place.

New Fiction Out of Africa
Literature 120 / Africana Studies 120
The course focuses on some of the lesser known, more experimental, and adventurous writers of African origin—all born after the season of independence in the 1960s. Readings include the apocalyptic short fiction of Nigeria's Igoni Barrett, the surreal works of Kenya’s Waigwa Ndiangui, and Broken Glass by Republic of the Congo native Alain Mabanckou, among others.

The Odyssey of Homer
Literature 125 / Classics 125
This course consists of an intensive reading of Homer’s Odyssey. It is designed to introduce first-year students to sophisticated techniques of reading and thinking about texts. Issues particular to the genre (the archaic Greek world, oral composition, the Homeric question) and to this particular text (“sequels,” epic cycle, the prominence of women, narrative closure) are considered.

Introduction to Media
Literature 140
cross-listed: experimental humanities, sts
This course offers a foundation in media history and theory, with a focus on how to use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches, such as close reading and visual literacy, to critically engage with traditional and new media. The work of theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Jean Baudrillard, Katherine Hayles, Henry Jenkins, Friedrich Kittler, and Marshall McLuhan informs discussions about how media frame and shape humanistic texts, from medieval manuscripts to the transmediated narratives of the Internet age.

The Iliad of Homer
Literature 145
Students are introduced to the large issues particular to this genre as the class reads through the epic at a rate of two books per week. The course also explores the broad literary and cultural issues raised by this essential document of the Western tradition.

Kafka: Prague, Politics, and the Fin de Siècle
Literature 199 / German 199
See German 199 for a full course description.

Americans Abroad
Literature 2002
cross-listed: africana studies
The period after World War I was an exciting time for American artists who came of age and discovered their own Americanness from other shores. Students read writers of the so-called Lost Generation, including Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The course also includes expatriate writers, such as Jean Toomer, Claude McKay, and Jessie Fauset, who are best known for their participation in the Harlem Renaissance.

Imagining the Environment in English Literature and Culture
Literature 2006
cross-listed: eus, sts
In his 1884 lecture “The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century,” social critic John Ruskin sounded an apocalyptic note when he described a “plague-wind” hovering over Great Britain that looks as if “it were made of dead men’s souls.” This course considers how ideas of environment were contested and consolidated in the 19th-century literary imagination. Readings: Ruskin, Malthus, Dickens, Dorothy and William Wordsworth, Darwin, Hardy, and Lawrence.

W. H. Auden
Literature 2008
W. H. Auden (1907–73) was arguably the greatest British (or Anglo-American) poet of the 20th century. Love, sexuality, the complexities of human relationships, history, art, politics, religion, and changes in ideological fashion all fell within the purview of his poetic invention. The class examines his works from start to finish, including his forays into opera and drama.

Representing Medicine and the Body
Literature 2009
cross-listed: asian studies, sts
This course investigates conceptions and representations of the body in world literature and film. Topics discussed include medical beliefs and metaphors, such as “invading armies” of cancer and  “high-risk groups”; gendered constructions of illness; and traditions of medicine in literature and history. Readings include stories and essays by Kafka, Mann, Proust, Chekov, Lu Xun, Mo Yan, Kenzaburo Oe, Wang Zhenhe, Daudet, Kushner, Sontag, Dumas fils, Foucault, Haraway, and others.

Survey of Linguisitics
Literature 201
cross-listed: mbb 
This course considers key trends, moments, and thinkers in the history of thought about language. Topics: phonetics and phonology (the study of sound patterns), morphology (word formation and grammaticalization), and syntax (the arrangement of elements into meaningful utterance); sociolinguistics (the covariation of language with social and cultural factors); and comparative and historical linguistics. 

Aesthetics of Narrative
Literature 2011
The course examines a variety of modern narratives and the aesthetic questions that shape our involvement. How does a narrative reflect its own telling and give us signs as to where to find—or lose—the author? How does it create sympathy with a self-absorbed teller or use detachment to alarm us? How have minority authors, especially African Americans, altered narrative traditions? How does literary narrative differ from film narrative? Readings from Dickens, Faulkner, Ellison, Beckett, Duras, Morrison, Chandler, and Diaz.

American Indian Fictions
Literature 2015
cross-listed: american studies, human rights
This course examines the tradition of fiction through works by and about Indians. Authors include Sherman Alexie, Black Elk, Charles Brockden Brown, Willa Cather, James Fenimore Cooper, Louise Erdrich, Helen Hunt Jackson, Herman Melville, D’Arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, Mary Rowlandson, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Welch.

Metrical Verse
Literature 202
Students learn how to read and write metrical verse through writing exercises in the principal meters (accentual/syllabic, accentual, syllabic, Anglo-Saxon alliterative, haiku, etc.) and forms (ballad, sonnet, blank verse, nonsense verse, ode, dramatic monologue, villanelle, ­sestina).

Mark Twain
Literature 2021
Students in this seminar do individual research and make class presentations on Twain’s major works, including Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, Life on the Mississippi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, Letters from the Earth, and The Mysterious Stranger. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor and one U.S. literature sequence course or a course in either American studies or American history.

Introduction to Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Literature 2026
What makes a work of children’s literature a classic? Who are these texts really for? In this course, students explore questions about what children can, do, and should read, and consider how the notion of childhood is constructed and reproduced through texts and images. Authors: Kenneth Grahame, J. M. Barrie, Francis Hodgson Burnett, Enid Blyton, Diana Wynne Jones, C. S. Lewis, Philip Pullman, and J. K. Rowling, among others.

Literature 2028
cross-listed: american studies
Students read Edgar Allan Poe’s entire output of tales and poems, along with many of his essays, reviews, and letters. The emphasis is on the tension between Poe’s aesthetic idealism and his cadaverous materialism, his aspirations toward the absolute oneness represented by the love object and his obsession with the way love objects tend to go bad. Related topics: perversity, race, death, mourning, evidence, gradation, angels, and the divine.

The Medium and the Message: Focus on Language
Literature 2029
cross-listed: sts
In 1964, Marshall McLuhan famously asserted that “the medium is the message.” How should we read electronic literature, the digital humanities, or a Sn00ki tweet in light of this concept? This course examines the uses of language in traditional and new media, and considers areas of sociolinguistics such as race, class, and gender. Texts by McLuhan, Deborah Cameron, David Crystal, Lynda Mugglestone, and Peter Trudgill. Students also maintain a course blog.

Ten Plays that Shook the World
Literature 2031
cross-listed: french studies, theater and performance
A close reading and textual analysis of plays considered milestones in the history of theater. The course examines the artistic, social, and psychological components that made these works part of the literary canon. Have they lasted because they conjure up fantasies of escape? Because they make readers and viewers face dilemmas inherent in certain social conditions or archetypal conflicts? All aspects of the plays, including direction, acting, staging, and lighting, are considered.

Religion and the Secular in American and British Modernism
Literature 2035
cross-listed: american studies, religion, theology
Can literature become a substitute for religion? Is poetic consciousness connected to religious consciousness? How does secularism impact the way writers think about the nature of language or the experience of pain? This course examines the intricate relationship between religion and literature in modern culture. Texts: Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts, T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, Jean Toomer’s Cane, stories by Flannery O’Connor, and poems by Wallace Stevens and W. B. Yeats.

Rise of the Black Novel
Literature 2036
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
The main task of this course is to articulate the role that the novel played in the development of a radical black literary tradition and of a nation headed toward civil war. Writers include Stowe, Douglass, Emerson, Melville, Jacobs, Delany, Brown, Wilson, and Webb. Narratives of both black and white writers are considered in the context of abolitionism, radical theology and moral theory, the Haitian Revolution and slave rebellion, and mid-19th-century theories of the imagination.

Childhood and Children’s Literature in Japan
Literature 2037
cross-listed: asian studies
This course examines the ubiquity of the child figure in literary and cultural production in modern Japan. Texts considered include short fiction, fairy tales, animated films, manga, and other forms of media such as Japanese kamishibai (paper theater). Writers studied include Ichiyo Higuchi, Yasunari Kawabata, Kenzaburo Oe, and Banana Yoshimoto.

Ethical Life in Ancient Greek Literature and Philosophy
Literature 2038
cross-listed: philosophy
Ethical life, as presented and analyzed in ancient Greek texts, is the object of inquiry in this course. Particular attention is paid to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the epics (Homer and Hesiod), tragedy and comedy, and Plato. Students also consult scholars such as Bernard Williams and Martha Nussbaum, who draw ­liberally from the whole spectrum of classical genres to argue for the urgent contemporary significance of ancient ethics.

Comparative Literature I, II, III
Literature 204A, 204B, 204C
cross-listed: classical studies, french studies, german studies
In the first course of a three-semester sequence, students consider the ways in which ancient authors (or their characters) configured the relationship between poetic production and theoretical inquiry, and therewith gave birth to the practice of literary criticism in the West. Readings from Greek literature include works by Homer, Sappho, Pindar, Aristophanes, and Euripides; readings from the Latin corpus include selections by Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Catullus, Plautus, and Seneca. The second semester examines literature from the late 14th century through the 17th century, focusing on the emergence of the self as a concept fraught with tensions as well as possibilities, nature and civilization, history and literature, hero and antihero, believer and heretic. Authors include Boccaccio, Rojas, Cervantes, Calderón, Molière, and Inés de la Cruz. The third installment explores key issues in 19th- and early 20th-century poetics, with readings from Kant, Schlegel, Goethe, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Poe, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Woolf, Bergson, and Proust.

Representations of Tibet
Literature 205
cross-listed: asian studies, human rights
The popular image of Tibet has been shaped in large measure by missionaries’ accounts, European explorers’ travelogues, Hollywood movies, and the Tibetan exile community, including the Dalai Lama. This course is designed to examine the ways in which texts and images are created and interpreted about a land with geographical, historical, cultural, and legal ambiguities. Readings include works by early explorers, Tibetans in exile and inside Tibet, contemporary Chinese writers, historians, and religion scholars.

Modern Arabic Literature
Literature 2060
cross-listed: mes
In the late 19th century, the Arabic legacy of poetry, literary prose, and popular storytelling encountered the novel form. This survey of modern Arabic literature considers the shifting reception and role of prose narrative, from the hopeful early years of the Arab Nahdah (the 19th- to 20th-century Arab renaissance), through the 1960s, and up to the rants and romances of the contemporary literary scene. Authors include Muhammad al-Muwaylihi, Taha Husayn, Mohamed Choukri, Naguib Mahfouz, Ghassan Kanafani, Tayeb Salih, and Ahmed Alaidy, among others.

America in the 1950s
Literature 2063
This course pursues a deeper understanding of the social, cultural, and political issues of the 1950s, as it tracks the formal experiments in which its authors increasingly engaged. Topics include the constraints of suburban life, Cold War paranoia, counterculturalism, race, and gender. Authors include Salinger, Ellison, Bradbury, Miller, Nabokov, McCarthy, Wilson, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Hansberry, and Bellow. The literature is supplemented with occasional film screenings, including All That Heaven Allows and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Other Romanticisms
Literature 2064
It is only in recent decades that studies of Romantic poetry have looked beyond the Big Six: Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Byron. Yet between the 1780s and the 1830s, Britain witnessed an explosion of writing by figures generally excluded from the canon, including women, proletarians, people of color, peasants, and those deemed insane. This course explores the works of this “other” Romantic tradition. Authors include George Crabbe, Robert Burns, Mary Prince, Thomas Beddoes, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Isaac d’Israeli, and William Hazlitt.

Japanese Literature and the Question of Aesthetics
Literature 2085
cross-listed: asian studies
This course introduces students to major works of modern Japanese literature, while considering the question of aesthetic value and its evolving definition. Readings are organized around major themes and movements of 20th-century literary production, including realism and the confessional novel, literary modernism, women writers, proletarian literature, life writing, war literature, and testimony. Authors studied: Soseki Natsume, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, Yasunari Kawabata, Takiji Kobayashi, Yuriko Miyamoto, Kenzaburo Oe, and Haruki Murakami. All readings in English.

Modern Tragedy
Literature 2086
All tragedies see the human condition as doomed. In classical Greek tragedy the protagonist’s fate is usually externalized as something beyond human control, whereas in modern tragedy, starting with Shakespeare and his contemporaries, fate is more or less internalized as a flaw in the protagonist’s character. Since then the protagonist has increasingly been seen as a helpless victim of circumstance. Readings include works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Ibsen, Strindberg, O’Neill, Brecht, Sartre, and Miller.

Major American Poets
Literature 209
cross-listed: american studies
American poetry found its voice in the first half of the 19th century when Emerson challenged American scholars to free themselves from tradition. For the next three generations most of the major poets, from Walt Whitman—in whose poems a distinctly American voice was first heard—to Robert Frost acknowledged Emerson as a crucial inspiration. Readings: T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Robinson Jeffers, E. E. Cummings, Hart Crane, H. D., Wallace Stevens, and Frost.

Myth / Tale / Story
Literature 2101
This course demonstrates the ways in which myths that were once sacred are secularized when they are recycled as literary art, and how many of the greatest modern stories have tapped into the great myths of the past. Between those myths and the modern short story lies the tale—the oral tradition of storytelling. The class explores these mysterious waters by reading Ovid, Apuleius, and classic fairy tales, and then traces the residual presence of myth in the work of modern masters.

Literature of the Harlem Renaissance
Literature 2102
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
The class considers how black writers of the interwar period connected with broader American modernist, nativist, and pluralist trends; how pragmatist and Marxist philosophies influenced a formidable reconsideration of political and aesthetic representation; how various musical forms, as well as European and African art forms, provided varied cultural resources for emerging literary production.

Russian Laughter
Literature 2117
cross-listed: res
The class examines how authors as distinct as Dostoevsky and Bulgakov create comic effects and utilize laughter for various artistic purposes. Also examined are some of the major theories of laughter developed by Hobbs, Bergson, Freud, Bakhtin, and others. Readings begin with an 18th-century satirical play by Denis Fonvisin and end with Venedikt Erofeev's contemplation on the life of a perpetually drunk philosopher in the former Soviet Union.

African American Traditions I and II
Literature 2137, 2139
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
This two-semester survey explores African American literature from the Colonial era to the Harlem Renaissance and examines the various forms—including poetry, autobiography, essay, novel, and play—and voices that African Americans have used to achieve literary and, consequently, social authority. Authors include Douglass, Chesnutt, Du Bois, Hopkins, Toomer, Hughes, McKay, Hurston, Locke, Schuyler, Thurman, Wright, Baldwin, Ellison, Baraka, Sanchez, Reed, and Morrison.

Cairo through Its Novels
Literature 214
cross-listed: eus, human rights, mes
Cairo, the “City Victorious,” has long captivated the literary imagination. This survey of the modern Egyptian novel maps the changing cityscape of Egypt’s bulging metropolis over the course of the 20th century. From Naguib Mahfouz’s iconic alley to Sonallah Ibrahim’s apartment building to Hamdi Abu Golayyel’s multifamily tenement, readings provide a range of literary representations by Cairo’s writers. Literary texts are supplemented by theoretical and historical material, and the course is accompanied by a film series.

Infernal Paradises: Literature of Russian Modernism
Literature 2153
cross-listed: res
An exploration of utopia as an intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual concept. The course aims to demonstrate the continuity of the Russian literary tradition while revealing how innovative creative forms and resonant new voices contributed to an artistic revival in the 20th century, one that flourished under the harsh conditions of censorship, totalitarian oppression, and cultural isolation. Readings include works by Chekhov, Bely, Blok, Mayakovsky, Tsvetaeva, Zamyatin, Pasternak, Bunin, Nabokov, and Akhmatova.

Romantic Literature in English
Literature 2156
cross-listed: human rights
A critical introduction to the literature produced in Britain at the time of the Industrial and French Revolutions, and Napoleonic wars. Emphasis is placed on the historical and social contexts of the works and specific ways in which historical forces and social changes shape the formal features of literary texts. Readings include works by Blake, Wordsworth, Helen Maria Williams, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Paine, Southey, Coleridge, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Keats, and Clare.

Into the Whirlwind: Literary Greatness and Gambles under Soviet Rule
Literature 2159
cross-listed: res
This course examines the fate of the literary imagination in Russia from the time of the Revolution to the Brezhnev period. Students look at the imaginative liberation in writers such as Babel, Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, and Bulgakov; the struggle with ideology and the terror of the 1930s in the works of Olesha, Akhmatova, and Pilnyak, among others; and the hesitant thaw as reflected in Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago. Readings conclude with Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Erofeev’s Moscow to the End of the Line.

Victorian Myth, Fantasy, and the Art of Detection
Literature 216
cross-listed: victorian studies
Extensive reading includes poems by Browning and Tennyson; and fiction by Benjamin Disraeli, George MacDonald, Wilkie Collins, William Morris, Thomas Hardy, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Powers of Horror: Sublimity, Exoticism, and Monstrosity
Literature 2160
cross-listed: human rights
This seminar focuses on the gothic genre as a response to such historical developments as the slave trade, the rise of the bourgeoisie, the Cold War, and imperialism. Readings include Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Lewis’s The Monk, Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Peacock’s Nightmare Alley, Stoker’s Dracula, and Le Fanu’s Carmilla, as well as critical works by Marx, Freud, Foucault, Huyssen, and Jameson.

Medieval Ireland
Literature 2175
cross-listed: ics, medieval studies
This course considers what, if anything, is “Irish,” and how the country’s medieval past continues to define the present. Texts include The Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), Acallam na Senórach (Tales of the Elders of Ireland), lives of St. Patrick and St. Bridget, The Voyage of Saint Brendan, lays of Marie de France, The Romance of Tristan and Iseult, poetry of W. B. Yeats, and diaries of the hunger striker Bobby Sands.

The Revenge Tragedy
Literature 2176
Clandestine murders, otherworldly revenants, disguise, and madness all characterize the revenge tragedy, a form of play popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Revenge tragedies function as social critique and speak to the anxieties that accompanied new modes of understanding the physical world and human emotion. Readings include The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger’s Tragedy, The Changeling, The Duchess of Malfi, and The Broken Heart. Films considered: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover and A History of Violence.

Free Speech
Literature 218 / Human Rights 218
See Human Rights 218 for a course description.

Milan Kundera and the Art of Fiction
Literature 2183
This course examines how Kundera’s idiosyncratic textual strategies unsettle the boundaries between fictional and factual, totalitarian and democratic, Eastern and Western. Readings include The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Immortality, as well as Kundera’s writings about fiction. Supplemental texts by Nietzsche, Broch, Calvino, Fuentes, Rorty, Havel, Brodsky, Benjamin, and Huyssen, among others.

The Politics and Practice of Cultural Production in the Middle East and North Africa
Literature 2185
This course draws upon a series of case studies to illustrate how cultural production can be read as a form of documentation, resistance, and potential intervention to prevailing narratives. Topics include tradition and modernity, the rise (and fall) of nationalism, and narrating war. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course considers a range of texts, including novels (Sonallah Ibrahim, Assia Djebar), films (Jackie Salloum, Lamia Joreige, Tahani Rached), video works (Walid Raad, Wael Shawky), paintings (Mahmud Said, Jewad Selim), and blogs.

Irish Traditions of Comedy
Literature 2186
cross-listed: ics
The course covers Irish and Anglo-Irish inventions of comedy, from medieval bards with their magical and satiric language to modern writers like Marina Carr and Paul Durcan. Other writers studied include Swift, Edgeworth, Boucicault, Synge, Joyce, O’Casey, Behan, Keane, and O’Brien.

An Introduction to Poetics
Literature 2187
Poetics refers to ideas around the making of, and criteria for, artistic form. How is a poem a poem? This course examines how certain linguistic elements—including prosody, syntax, diction, grammar, and lineation—affect the writing and reading of poems; how historical, social, and individual contexts might affect a poet’s formal choices; and the ambiguity between subjective and objective theories of poetic creation and critical judgment.

New African Writing from the 21st Century: The Contemporary Short Story
Literature 2188
cross-listed: africana studies
Authors studied include the most innovative African writers of the short story form in English and in translation, with a focus on writers born after the independence movements of the 1960s. The class reads works by Igoni Barrett, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Waigwa Ndiangui, and Iheoma Nwachukwu.

19th-Century Fictions of American Selfhood
Literature 2189
“In most books,” writes Henry David Thoreau in the opening of Walden, “the I, or first person, is omitted.” But the use of the first-person singular plays a crucial role not only in Thoreau’s text but across the field of 19th-century American literature. This course examines works of autobiography, slave narrative, fiction, poetry, and philosophy in order to see how the authors grapple with the problem of invoking a self through the medium of a text. Works by Franklin, Poe, Melville, Dickinson, James, Du Bois, and others.

The Sonnet 
Literature 219
Since its emergence in the 13th century, the sonnet has proven to be a popular, resilient, and malleable form. This course traces the development of the sonnet, in English and in translation, and considers its formal aspects as well as the way poets have worked within and against such constraints. Also addressed is the sonnet’s role in the development of English poetry. Readings by Petrarch, Wyatt, Shakespeare, Sor Juana, Clare, Barrett Browning, Rilke, Berrigan, Mayer, Hahn, and Lerner, among others.

Modern Metropolis Tokyo: Literature, Media, and Urban Space
Literature 2191
cross-listed: asian studies, eus
How do people make sense of the shifting fields of sensation and information that constitute life in the world’s biggest city? How can the experiences and emotions germane to metropolitan life be communicated and understood? By working with a variety of literary texts, photographs, films, maps, and other media, the class addresses the cultural history of modern Tokyo while discussing larger concerns about the relationship between social experience and city space. Works by Japanese authors and by urban theorists such as Weber, Simmel, and Mumford.

Raised by Wolves: Literary Wild Children and the Limits of the Human
Literature 2193
cross-listed: human rights
Wild children, fugitives, vagabonds, foundlings, and the occasional talking animal. This course looks at common elements in narratives about this eclectic set of figures and some of the distinctions often drawn between the human and the nonhuman, civilization and wilderness, culture and nature. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s reflections on savagery and the state of nature serve as a starting point but students also consider works by Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Franz Kafka, Edward Gorey, and Karen Russell, among others.

Berlin: A Pathway to Understanding Contemporary Europe
Literature 2194
cross-listed: eus, german studies
In the 20th century, Berlin was the capital of five different German states—and the continuous capital of German culture. This course explores the interconnections between politics, art, and social life through literary texts (Döblin, Nabokov, Baudelaire, Poe), theoretical writings (Benjamin, de Certeau, Augé, Young), and film, architecture, memorials, and other visual artworks. The focus is on two historical thresholds: c. 1930, when totalitarian regimes in Europe emerged, and c. 1989, when the contemporary period began. In Englishs.

Why Do They Hate Us? Representing the Middle East
Literature 2195
cross-listed: experimental humanites, human rights, mes
This course takes its title from the American media’s favorite post–9/11 question with regards to the Middle East and larger Muslim world. The intention is not to try and answer the question but rather to examine how this region has been historically categorized as an “other” by the West and why such ideas continue to have currency. Beginning with 19th-century orientalism and European colonialism, the class traces the development of representations of the “orient” in a range of literary, artistic, and cinematic production.

Writing the Female Rebel: The Antiheroine in Fiction
Literature 2196
cross-listed: gss
This practice-based seminar investigates the trope of the female rebel. From madness to cunning, truth-telling to gender minstrelsy, and submission to power-mad subversive, the antiheroine finds herself crossing boundaries dictated by class, gender, familial convention, or ethnicity. Beginning with Sophocles’ Antigone, the class explores the memorable creations of such writers as Alemaddine, Braschi, Brontë, Cather, Defoe, Dermansky, Freud, Gaitskill, Larsen, Myles, O’Connor, Rhys, Roth, Schutt, Singer, Winterson, and Woolf, as well as contemporary graphic novelists.

Literature 2197
For millennia, the Mediterranean Sea has been crisscrossed by travelers: Greek explorers and Roman legionaries in the classical period; Arab conquerors and Norman crusaders in the medieval period; Italian traders and French colonialists in the early modern era; and African emigrants today. This course focuses on authors who have turned their attentions outward from their own countries to the Mediterranean and the cultures on its other side. Readings from Homer, Plutarch, Boccaccio, Camus, and Beauvois, as well as French, Byzantine, and Arab chronicles of the Crusades.

World Literature and the CIA
Literature 2204
cross-listed: cross-listed: africana studies, human rights, lais, mes
In 1950, the Central Intelligence Agency created the Congress for Cultural Freedom in order to foster what it deemed the “Non-Communist Left” through a global network of conferences, exhibitions, and literary magazines. The Congress underwrote a world literary canon still in circulation (Garcia Marquez, Borges, Salih, Baldwin, Neruda, Soyinka, Achebe, and Faulkner). This course looks at works published in the Congress’s journals between 1950 and its scandalous collapse in 1967, and considers the legacy of this plot to use literature in the furtherance of empire.

Reading as Writing as Reading: Exploring the Contemporary
Literature 2207
In this course, students read a variety of contemporary poets, asking the questions: What kinds of forms are necessary to address the changing present? How do today’s poets draw on ideas and methods in disciplines other than poetics? Core texts: Conjunctions:35 American Poetry and American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry. In the second of two weekly classes, students write poems and prose in response to the readings.

The Machine Made of Words
Literature 2211
William Carlos Williams famously characterized the poem as a “machine made of words.” The objective of this course is to investigate aspects of verbal invention, with the goal of increasing the options available to writers of poetry. In addition to close readings of poems drawn from various periods of English poetry (and some translated texts), attention is paid to the kinetic possibilities of syntax and to more traditionally “poetic” concerns such as rhythm and the arrangement of words on the page.

Writing Africa
Literature 2212
This is both a travel writing class and a class about Africa, where we may or may not have been. Readings include Kojo Laing’s Search Sweet Country; David Kaiza’s “Benediction in Oyugis”; stories by Norman Rush; Aminatta Forna’s The Devil That Danced on the Water; Ahmadou Kourouma’s Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote; and Richard Onyango’s The Life and Times of Richard Onyango.

Truth and Consequences: The Uses of Persona
Literature 2214
What are fiction writers not allowed to make up? This course looks at works that use literary persona to transgress what we think of as the boundaries of fiction. The class reads authors who have falsified their identities, relied on imaginary sources, allowed philosophical concerns to intrude blatantly into the world of their stories, and in other ways called into question the merit of their work as fiction. Authors include Gertrude Stein, Fernando Pessoa, Philip Roth, J. M. Coetzee, Michael Chabon, and Philip K. Dick, among others.

Reading and Writing Contemporary Cuba
Literature 2215
cross-listed: lais
This seminar explores the development of contemporary Cuban fiction. With some illumination from nonfiction as well as Cuba’s vibrant cinematic culture, students explore, creatively and analytically, what it means to write fiction within a country functioning under the gaze of the Panopticon. Writers such as Arenas, Carpentier, Garcia, and Lezama Lima, read in translation, write within a matrix of influences: French surrealism, Afro-Cuban mythology, communist revolutionary rhetoric, and the pain and porosity of diaspora.

Ethnographic Fiction
Literature 2219
This course begins with a look at theories of representation of culture and otherness, and continues with close readings of ethnographic fiction from writers such as Abish, Barthes, Calvino, Coetzee, Cortázar, Diaz, Farah, Geertz, Ghosh, Goonesekera, Kincaid, Kundera, Lévi-Strauss, Mahfouz, Narayan, Paley, Rushdie, and Winterson. These readings serve as a catalyst for students’ creative and critical work.

Reading Resistance and Revolution in the Arab World
Literature 2236
cross-listed: experimental humanities, human rights, mes
With the recent uprisings in the Arab world, much attention has been given to the role of writers and artists in political movements. Beginning with anticolonial resistance movements of the early 20th century, this course surveys literary and cultural production in the region. Readings include foundational texts, such as Abdel Rahman al-Sharqawi’s The Earth, and more contested and experimental works, including Ghassan Kanafani’s All That’s Left to You and Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s In Search of Walid Masoud. Readings in English.

How to Use the Language
Literature 2243
cross-listed: human rights
How does language create character, reproduce everyday speech, suggest meaning, describe consciousness, form our social and political views, and change our attitudes and preconceptions? This course examines how language is used (badly and well, and for a wide range of reasons) by great writers, the daily papers, advertising, and TV. The reading list includes stories, novels, and memoirs by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Cheever, Flaubert, Babel, Mansfield, Bolaño, Gallant, Beard, Ernaux, and Egan.

Strange Books and the Human Condition
Literature 225
This class involves the close reading of books so peculiar as to verge on “outsider” literature. Authors include Jane Bowles, Felisberto Hernández, Robert Walser, and Hans Christian Andersen. Students are expected to have read enough “not strange” literature to understand why the books on the list are so unusual.

Blurring the Boundaries: Magical Realism in World Literature
Literature 2261
cross-listed: lais
Alternately incorporating magical events into quotidian reality and sometimes brutal political and social realities into mythical realms, magical realism presents itself as a particularly apt mode of expression for “third world” or postcolonial societies, or for marginalized populations in any locale. This course considers the Latin American origins of magical realism and its manifestations in novels from Africa to India to the United States. Authors may include Rulfo, Borges, García Márquez, Fuentes, Allende, Okri, Rushdie, ben Jelloun, and Morrison.

Political Theology
Literature 2270
cross-listed: human rights, theology
This course considers the identity of the other and the ethics of our engagement with that other. These concepts seek a language that represents law, community, and event in more meaningful kinds of human action. Debates are drawn from a variety of thinkers, from Paul, Augustine, and the Hebrew Bible to contemporary works of ethical and political philosophy by Zizek, Levinas, Agamben, Badiou, Milbank, Negri, Schwartz, and others.

Innovative Novellas and Short Stories
Literature 230
This course explores the range and scale of such masters in these genres as Voltaire, de Maupassant, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Sholem Aleichem, Thomas Mann, Isaac Babel, A. France, Camus, Kafka, Colette, and Borges. In addition to writing several analytical papers, students are asked to present a short story or novella of their own by the end of the semester.

St. Petersburg: City, Monument, Text
Literature 2311
cross-listed: eus, res
Emperors, serfs, merchants, and soldiers built St. Petersburg, but writers put it on the cultural map. The city served as a missing link between “enlightened” Europe and “barbaric” Asia, and between the turbulent past of Western civilization and its uncertain future. Considered to be too cold, too formal, and too imperial on the outside, St. Petersburg harbored revolutionary ideas and terrorist movements that threatened to explode from within. This course examines these dualities in works from Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bely, and Nabokov.

Duels, Doubles, Dualities: 19th-Century Russian Classics
Literature 2317
While dramatic duels do play out in the lives and works of many 19th-century Russian authors, this course focuses on literary and critical confrontations between writers, their writings, and how they were read. The class considers various classic works, as well as their reflections in film, music, and other arts. Texts by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Pavlova, Turgenev, and Tolstoy. In English.

Toward the Condition of Music: Poetry and Aesthetics in Victorian England
Literature 2318
cross-listed: victorian studies
John Ruskin announced in Modern Painters (1843) that the greatest art must contain “the greatest number of the greatest ideas.” Fifty years later, Oscar Wilde declared with equal assurance that “all art is quite useless.” What happened in that intervening half-century? This course follows the evolution of poetry and poetic theory, and the accompanying Victorian debate about the status of art in relation to society. Readings: Tennyson, Browning, Christina Rossetti, Hopkins, Hardy, and Yeats, as well as criticism by Ruskin, Arnold, Pater, and Wilde.

Global Victorians
Literature 2319 / History 2319
See History 2319 for a full course description.

Freudian Psychoanalysis, Language, and Literature
Literature 2324
Freud taught us to read slips of the tongue, bungled actions, memory lapses, and dreams—what he calls formations of the unconscious—as speech in their own right. Throughout his work he demonstrates that speech implicates us at a level far beyond what we typically consider communication. Selections from Studies on Hysteria, The Interpretation of Dreams, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, and The Psychopathology of Everyday Lifeare complemented with texts by Lacan, de Saussure, Lévi-Strauss, Mallarmé, Sebald, Woolf, and Duras.

American Gothic
Literature 2331
cross-listed: american studies, gss
This course examines ways in which American authors have used the gothic genre to engage with social, political, and cultural concerns. The gothic novel—the stronghold of ghost stories, family curses, and heroines in ­distress—uses melodrama and the macabre to disguise horrifying psychological, sexual, and emotional issues. In America the genre has often confronted topics pertinent to national identity and history. Readings include novels and short stories by Hawthorne, Poe, Jacobs, James, Alcott, Gilman, Wharton, Faulkner, Jackson, and Baldwin.

Romantic Women Writers
Literature 2333
cross-listed: gss
Women writers were extremely influential in the Romantic period, but their contributions to the tradition of British literature have, until recently, been largely ignored. This course seeks to redefine conventional ideas about Romanticism by examining the work of the period’s most ­eminent women writers: Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Felicia Hemans, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, and Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

Literature of the Crusades
Literature 234
cross-listed: human rights, medieval studies, religion
An examination of the considerable literature produced around the Crusades, which includes epics, lyric poems, chronicles, and sermons. While the course primarily considers the Catholic perspective, it also pays attention to the Greek, Muslim, and Jewish points of view on these conflicts.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Literature 2401
cross-listed: medieval studies
Students examine the unities, contrasts, pleasures, and meanings of this rich collection. A study of Chaucer’s language is conducted using background reading (for example, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy), but the course is primarily an examination of a great poem.

Fantastic Journeys and the Modern World
Literature 2404
The modern period has been characterized as a time of unimaginable freedom as well as exis­tential angst, exile, and loss. This course examines the response of writers from America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia. In their fantastic ­parallel worlds, machines take on lives of their own, grotesque transformations violate the laws of science, and inversions of normality become the norm. Authors include L. Frank Baum, Kafka, ˇCapek, Schulz, Olesha, and Mayakovsky.

The Monstrous Writer and the Moral World, The Moral Writer and the Monstrous World
Literature 2406
How do we read the work of writers whose legacy is complicated by political or personal history? Is an artistic work a thing apart from the life that fed it, or are there instances when the acts of an author in the world must be admitted into a reading of their art? At the center of this question, and this course, is Louis-Ferdinand Céline, one of the most influential novelists of the 20th century and one of its great fiends—an anti-Semite of impenitent ardor. Additional readings: Eliot, Pound, Brecht, Némirovsky, Gide, Roth, and Nabokov, among others.

Literature 2421
Samuel Johnson terms Milton “an acrimonious and surly republican” while T. S. Eliot laments the fact that the poet had been “withered by book-learning.” But Milton was an insightful observer of human relationships and, particularly, of man’s relationship to God. This course examines the history of mid-17th-century England alongside Milton’s important writings, with a focus on Paradise Lost. His sonnets, theatrical works, and essays and tracts are also considered.

Literature and Revolution in East Asia and Beyond
Literature 244
cross-listed: asian studies 
A survey of fictional, critical, filmic, and theatrical works on political revolution in East Asia. The first half of the course focuses on texts from Japan, Korea, and China, read in tandem with works from the Soviet Union, United States, and Europe; the second half centers on the literature and art of the Cold War period. Also considered: relationships between political and aesthetic avant-gardes, ideals and realities of utopian society, and the ways in which the idea of revolution has shaped the past century.

Narratives of Suffering
Literature 2482
cross-listed: american studies, human rights
Suffering is at the heart of many of the world’s great stories and yet absent, in a fundamental way, from every story. Because intense suffering takes language away, retrospective narration can seem futile, even falsifying, and it often raises more questions than it answers. Readings include the Book of Job, King Lear, Moby-Dick, poetry by Emily Dickinson, The Sound and the Fury, Beloved, Maus, and The Road.

Urbanization in the 19th-Century Novel: Bright Lights, Big Cities
Literature 2483
cross-listed: eus
As the 19th-century metropolis became too vast for individual comprehension, it became the task of visionary writers to invent the modern city and to discover its narratives. This course examines literary constructions of the urban space, with an emphasis on Paris and London. Texts include Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend; Balzac’s Lost Illusions; selected poems by Baudelaire; Trollope’s The Way We Live Now; Flaubert’s Sentimental Education; Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor; and Thomson’s City of Dreadful Night.

19th-Century Self-Fashioning: Life Writing from Wordsworth to Joyce
Literature 2484
The class explores autobiographical narratives in various genres, beginning with Wordsworth’s Prelude and concluding with Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Also considered are the myths, tropes, and narrative strategies adopted by late Victorian writers to express the deepening alienation of literary artists from middle class culture. Texts include Mill’s Autobiography, Eliot’s Mill on the Floss, Ruskin’s Praeterita, Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Gosse’s Father and Son, Wilde’s De Profundis, Darwin’s Autobiography, and Butler’s The Way of all Flesh.

Arthurian Romance 
Literature 249
cross-listed: medieval studies
This course examines the variety of concerns, meanings, and pleasures in medieval narratives of King Arthur and his knights. Texts include the Mabinogion, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, Layamon’s Brut, Chrétien de Troyes’sLancelot, Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan, the vulgate Quest of the Holy GrailSir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory’s Tale of the Death of King Arthur, and Spenser’s Faerie Queene.

English Literature I, II, III
Literature 250, 251, 252
The first of three regularly offered but independent courses is an intensive study of medieval and Renaissance English literature that emphasizes close readings in historical contexts, the development of a critical vocabulary and imagination, and the discovery of some of the classic works of English literature, from Beowulf and Chaucer to the major Elizabethans. Authors include the Beowulf poet, the Gawain poet, Chaucer, More, Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Jonson, among others. Literature 251 explores poetry, fiction, drama, and criticism from the 17th and 18th centuries, including works by Milton, Donne, Marvell, Defoe, and Fielding. Literature 252 concentrates primarily on 19th- and 20th-century works by Austen, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Carlyle, Ruskin, Joyce, Lawrence, Eliot, and Woolf.

Literature 2501
A careful reading of seven masterpieces that represent the full range of Shakespeare’s genius in comedy, tragedy, romance, and royal history. The plays may include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Othello, Measure for Measure, King Lear, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, and Henry IV, Part 1.

The Further Adventures of the Body and Soul
Literature 2505
Students examine the literary, historical, and critical accounts of the tension between body and soul in “premodern” English literature, and take up the debate in its modern instantiations. Topics covered: the relationship between the spiritual and physical, gender performativity and cross-dressing, racial-religious identity, and the idea of the hero. Texts: the 14th-century Debate of the Body and Soul and works by Chaucer, Malory, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Swift.

Barbarians at the Gate: Degeneration and the Culture Wars of the Fin de Siecle
Literature 2507
This course tracks the idea of degeneration—the nightmare offspring of Darwinian progress—from the 1857 prosecution of Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil to the trials of Oscar Wilde (for gross indecency) and Alfred Dreyfus (for treason) in the mid-1890s. Using Max Nordau’s Degeneration as a focal point, the class explores the prevalent late 19th-century identification of new literary forms with madness, criminality, and perversion. Readings include works by Ibsen, Stevenson, Nietzsche, Hardy, Wilde, Huysmans, and Wells, among others.

Middle English Romances
Literature 254
cross-listed: medieval studies
In their popularity and topicality, Middle English romances may have been the precursors to the Victorian novel: stories that were at once thoroughly pleasurable and culturally foundational, not only in the ways they constructed and reflected their own world, but also as inspiration to future generations. Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare were all influenced by these stories, which circulated in England’s print culture well into the 18th century. Texts are read in Middle English, but no previous experience with Middle English is necessary.

The Victorians: British History and Literature, 1830–1901
Literature 255
cross-listed: victorian studies
Through interdisciplinary study of culture, politics, and society in Britain, this course considers the rise and fall of Victorian values, paying particular attention to nationalism, imperialism, and domestic ideology. Consulting a variety of texts—novels, plays, essays, music, poetry, and historical works—students examine changing (and often conflicting) conceptions of crime, sexuality, race, class, the position of women, and the crisis of faith in 19th-century Great Britain.

Literature of the United States I, II, III, IV
Literature 257, 258, 259, 260
cross-listed: american studies, victorian studies
This regularly repeating sequence of four independent but related units explores major authors and issues in American literature, from its Puritan origins to the 21st century. Litera­ture 257 examines writings from the first three gen­­erations of Puritan settlement in 17th-century Massachusetts, in relation to one another and also to later American texts bearing traces of Puritan concerns. Authors include notable Puritan divines, poets, historians, and citizens, and later writers such as Edwards, Irving, Emerson, Dickinson, Twain, and Lowell. Literature 258 examines works by Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, and other writers of the American Renaissance. Literature 259 studies works ­written from the post–Civil War period to the start of the Depression, emphasizing the new and evolving spirit of realism, naturalism, and ­emergent modernism. Authors include James, Twain, Dreiser, Wharton, Frost, Bogan, Powell, and Fitzgerald. Literature 260 looks at American literature in the wake of World War II and 9/11. Authors include Mailer, Baldwin, Williams, Ginsberg, Updike, Roth, Carver, and Cisneros.

Scholasticism versus Humanism
Literature 2603
cross-listed: human rights, medieval studies, theology
Throughout the Middle Ages, intellectual life was dominated by scholastics who sought to integrate reason and faith, logic and revelation. During the Renaissance, intellectual discourse was taken over by humanists, who stressed empiricism over abstraction. With experience now privileged over logic, the subjective perception expressed in literature became prized over the impersonal cosmos of philosophy. This seminar explores the tension between scholastic and humanist thought against the backdrop of the rise of the university, the discovery of the New World, and the Protestant Reformation.

Growing Up Victorian
Literature 261
cross-listed: victorian studies
Children in Victorian literature come in a variety of forms: urchins, prigs, bullies, and grinds. They are demonstration models in numerous educational and social projects intended to create a braver future. Readings include nursery rhymes, fairy and folk tales, didactic stories, autobiography, and at least two novels: Hughes’s Tom Browns Schooldays and Meredith’s The Ordeal of Richard Feverel.

Irish Fiction
Literature 2650
cross-listed: ics
Irish stories, novels, and plays of the past 300 years have been divided between two traditions: the Anglo-Irish tradition of writers who were English by descent and the Catholic tradition of modern Ireland. Readings, in addition to a brief history of Ireland, include Gulliver’s Travels, Castle Rackrent, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dubliners, At Swim-Two-Birds, plays by Synge and Yeats, and fiction by Bowen Trevor, O’Connor, O’Flaherty, and Doyle.

Women Writing the Caribbean
Literature 2670
cross-listed: africana studies, gss
Claudia Mitchell-Kernan describes creolization as “a mosaic of African, European, and indigenous responses to a truly novel reality.” This course is concerned with how women, through fiction, interpreted that reality. Students begin by reading The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831) and Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857). Works by Gellhorn, Rhys, Allfrey, Kincaid, Cliff, and Danticat are also studied.

Rebels With(out) a Cause: Great Works of German Literature
Literature 270
This course surveys representative works of German literature from the 18th century to the present. Readings include Goethe’s The Sufferings of Young Werther (1774); Mother Tongue (1990), a collection of stories by Emine Sevgi Özdamar, a Turkish-German woman writer; and works by Schiller, Eichendorff, Heine, Hauptmann, Wedekind, Rilke, Kafka, Mann, Brecht, Dürrenmatt, and Jelinek. The course is conducted in English, but students with an advanced proficiency in German are expected to read the works in the original.

The Irish Renaissance
Literature 272
cross-listed: ics
The course begins with a brief history of Ireland; next is a consideration of the Abbey Theatre and its reconstruction of legends and use of western Ireland’s idioms and characters, chiefly in the dramas of Yeats and Synge. These themes were further developed in the literature associated with the “troubles” of 1916–22 and in later writings that continue or challenge the themes of the Renaissance. Authors studied include Sean O’Casey, Liam O’Flaherty, Frank O’Connor, Flann O’Brien, and Brendan Behan.

The Heroic Age
Literature 280
cross-listed: medieval studies
Major works of the early Middle Ages are studied, with an emphasis on those written in what are today France, Germany, England, and Scandinavia. The course considers society-shaping historical events, such as the Viking invasions, rise of feudalism, and spread of Christianity, and the literary works that developed in those contexts. Texts include Beowulf, The Song of Roland, the Nibelungenlied, and the plays of Hrotswitha of Gandersheim.

Dickens Reconsidered
Literature 284
Charles Dickens crafted a public persona—as the embodiment of manly virtue, pillar of family values, genial creator of Scrooge and Little Nell—that mirrored the self-flattering myths of the Victorian middle classes. The real Dickens, obsessed with class distinctions, criminality, and sexual predation, more authentically embodied the realities of his age. Through close readings of Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, and Great Expectations, the class explores the complex psyche of the author and his epoch.

Modern Drama in Translation: Brecht in the Global South
Literature 288
cross-listed: german studies
From the 1960s to the present, many African and Latin American dramatists have reworked Brecht’s plays and techniques to give theatrical shape to the realities of imperialism and decolonization, the emergence of new ruling classes, and the persistence of political oppression and economic exploitation. Readings include radically different adaptations of The Threepenny Opera, The Measures Taken, The Good Person of Setzuan, and Mother Courage. Students who read German are invited to enroll in a tutorial to study Brecht’s plays in the original.

Different Voices, Different Views from the Non-Western World
Literature 2882
Significant short works by some of the most distinguished contemporary writers of Africa, Iran, India, Pakistan, Korea,Vietnam, and the Middle East are examined for their intrinsic literary merits and the verisimilitude with which they portray the sociopolitical conditions, spiritual belief systems, and attitudes toward women in their respective countries. Authors include Assia Djebar, Nawal El Saadawi, Ousmane Sembène, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chinua Achebe, Naguib Mahfouz, R. K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Nadine Gordimer, Mahmoud Darwish, Mahasveta Devi, and Tayeb Salih.

Cinematic Adaptation of Italian Literature
Literature 2883
cross-listed: film and electronic arts, italian studies
Historian Gian Piero Brunetta writes that of all national cinemas, Italy’s has hewn most closely to the structures and legacies of literary history, a situation he describes as a “great migration” of genres from literature to the screen. This course considers the role that adaptation has played in Italian film in such works as Decameron (Boccaccio and Pasolini), The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Bassani and De Sica), and The Leopard (Lampedusa and Visconti). In English.

Reading for Writers
Literature 301
The course takes a close look at what makes one writer a “stylist” and another not. If “reading for the plot” is the default paradigm in fiction, what happens when we look behind the scenes of plot, to observe how cumulative linguistic, imagistic, and syntactic patterns coalesce so that sentence generates story? What is the relation of style to form and structure? Authors studied: Nabokov, Beckett, James, Tutuola, Yourcenar, Coetzee, Gass, Gaitskill, and Strout.

In Praise of Idleness: Literature and the Art of Conversation
Literature 3013
The useful, Schiller wrote in On the Aesthetic Education of Man, divorces leisure from labor and turns life into a series of utilitarian dead ends. Yet the impulse to play has often been condemned as dangerously close to the decadent and the idle. Readings include critiques of “pure” work, texts that expose the vanity of conversation, novels that explore the tensions between work and conversation, and texts that offer aesthetic theories of conversation.

The Threshold of Modernity in European Jewish Literature
Literature 3017
cross-listed: eus, Jewish studies
This course explores the meaning of modernity in the works of six of the greatest Jewish writers of the late 19th and 20th centuries: Sholem Aleichem, I. L. Peretz, Franz Kafka, S. Ansky, Isaac Babel, and Bruno Schulz. Reading selections are examined against the background of Eastern European Jewish life at the end of the 19th century, a time of radical change due to the rise of fascism and communism, and the spread of avant-garde artistic theories.

Literature 3018
cross-listed: experimental humanities, medieval studies
Medievalism has been described as “the continuing process of creating the Middle Ages.” Such reconstructions can reveal much about a contemporary moment, and this seminar considers how medievalisms contribute to establishing national, ethnic, and gendered identities across a range of genres and media, including Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, Scott’s Ivanhoe, pre-Raphaelite paintings, fiction by William Morris and T. H. White, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and selections from the Disney oeuvre. Prerequisite: a medieval literature, history, or art history course.

Nabokov’s Shorts: The Art of Conclusive Writing
Literature 3019
cross-listed: res
This course focuses on Vladimir Nabokov’s short stories, as well as his memoir Conclusive Evidence and the novel Pnin, both of which first appeared in story-length installments in The New Yorker. The class also studies Nabokov’s correspondence with New Yorker editors Katherine White and William Maxwell; looks at the drafts of his stories, in an effort to understand his process of composition and revision; and traces the metaphysical streak that runs through the Nabokov oeuvre.

Poetry and Society
Literature 3023
cross-listed: human rights
This course looks at examples of poetry and related writing with sociopolitical implications from around the world and from several historical contexts. Writers studied include Whitman, García Lorca, Akhmatova, Pound, Raworth, Spahr, and Kovner. In this practice-based seminar, students experiment with poetic forms, write essays, and research areas of contemporary social concern. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Sentimental Politics of American Culture
Literature 3029
cross-listed: american studies
This course examines “sentimentalism” as a literary and philosophical concept that is less about welling tears than about the role emotion plays in how we organize our political, economic, and cultural lives. Drawing on literature, philosophy, film, and art, students explore the intersections of gender, race, class, urbanism, nationalism, and internationalism as they consider the key concept underlying sentimentalism: sympathy. Authors include Smith, Hume, Stowe, Rowlandson, Douglass, Twain, Chesnutt, Crane, Agee, Wright, Morrison, and Sontag.

Toward (a) Moral Fiction
Literature 3033
cross-listed: human rights
Each text in this course grapples with ethical issues through fictive means. Students assess the way in which literature can create, complicate, or resolve ethical dilemmas—or eschew morality altogether. The course also attends to craft, investigating how authors’ concerns may be furthered by formal considerations. Works studied include Frankenstein, The Heart of the Matter, Disgrace, Crash, Continental Drift, Mating, Blood Meridian, and The Fifth Child, among others. 

The Frankfurt School
Literature 3035
cross-listed: human rights
What is ideology? How can one distinguish between ideological and nonideological forms of consciousness? In attempting to answer these and other questions, students follow a central strand in German aesthetic thought that runs from Hegel to Habermas, and engage with recent non-Marxist thought about social norms and communicative action. Readings include Lukács, Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, and Wittgenstein. Limited to juniors and seniors.

Poetic Lineages
Literature 3036
This course traces various poetic lineages from the Romantic era to the present. Questions considered include: What is the relationship between poetic utterance and political power? What role do subjectivity and emotion play in poetic expression? How do the formal dimensions of language complicate its denotative function? Authors studied: Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Emerson, Pound, Stevens, Bernstein, Prynne, and Hejinian.

A Thousand and One Nights in Comparative Perspective
Literature 3037
cross-listed: gss, mes
Stories within stories, unreliable narratives, fantastic voyages, bawdy escapades, and the ever-looming possibility that Shahrazad will meet her death with each new dawn—these hallmarks of A Thousand and One Nights have captivated readers for centuries. This course examines the structure and narrative techniques of the Nights; the history of this collection’s transmission, translation, and reception; and how it shaped, and was shaped, by the emergence of the novel form.

Sympathy and Its Discontents
Literature 3038
cross-listed: human rights
Advocates of liberal reform in the late 18th century claimed that sympathy was the primary spur to humanitarian action. Poems, novels, and essays detailing cruelty and misery encouraged readers to partake of the edifying effects of sympathy. But what if, as the Marquis de Sade suggested, we would rather increase than alleviate the pain of others to augment our own pleasure? Or what if, as Marx argued, humanitarianism merely served to disguise exploitation? Students read Smith, Goethe, de Sade, Wordsworth, Baudelaire, Disraeli, Freud, Marx, Artaud, Celan, and Acker.

20th-Century Long Poems and the Invention of Narrative Structure
Literature 304
This course examines the necessity of inventing structures of narrative form that would at once accommodate a new sense of the fractured nature of history, the need for clarity, and an increasingly vexed relation of the poet’s “I” to the linguistic event. The Early Moderns are considered (Pound, Eliot, Stevens, Williams, H. D.), but the focus is on postwar writers, including Ginsberg, Olson, Oppen, Ashbery, Schuyler, Howe, Carson, Walcott, Scalapino, and Mullen.

Romanticism and the Philosophy of Language
Literature 3040
The power of language—to represent and misrepresent, reveal and obscure—was a central preoccupation of Romantic-era poets. Is language subjective, relating to thoughts alone? Is it essentially social, the set of shared signs that allows for mutual understanding? Or does language reflect our connection to nature and the divine? The class pursues these questions through the poetry and prose of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats, and the writings of the philosophers—Locke, Leibniz, Rousseau, and Schelling—who informed their ideas.

The New York School: Poetry, Art, Collaboration, and Criticism
Literature 3041
cross-listed: art history
Following World War II, there was an upsurge of cultural activity in and around New York City as America began to assert its power on the world stage. Drawn from diverse strands of Modernism, poets and visual artists joined with critics and arts institutions to form what came to be called the New York School and create a new aesthetic vocabulary. Poets, artists, and critics studied: O’Hara, Ashbery, Schuyler, Koch, Guest, Pollock, Kline, Guston, Rivers, Burkhardt, Greenberg, Ashton, and Denby.

Nobel Laureates
Literature 3042
The class discusses important books of modern and contemporary literature by authors who have received the Nobel Prize (Camus, Mann, Sartre, Bellow, Vargas Llosa, Pamuk, Jelinek, Milosz, Kertész, Solzhenitsyn, Pasternak). Their topics, vision, and innovative ways of writing are considered, as is their political and/or moral impact in the public arena. Also examined: the procedure and value of granting prizes, big and small, deserved and not well deserved, in a time when even the cultural field is dominated by the market.

Literary Method: Genealogy and the Unsayable
Literature 3071
cross-listed: philosophy
A seminar in criticism intended for moderated literature majors. The class explores two ideas that have become increasingly important in thinking about texts: genealogy, a historical concept, and unsayability (what language does not and cannot say), a philosophical one. Readings include Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and selected essays; Foucault’s Discipline and Punish; Agamben’s The Signature of All Things: On Method; and James’s The Turn of the Screw.

Writing the Modern City
Literature 3072
This course centers on aspects of contemporary urban reportage, through a close reading of five recent works of creative nonfiction: Haruki Murakami’s Underground, Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul, Ivan Vladisavic’s Portrait with Keys, Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City, and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts’s Harlem is Nowhere. Topics include alienation, crowds, nostalgia, infrastructure, and the role of the observer.

Afro-Futurism(s): Technologies of Literature and Culture in the Black Diaspora
Literature 3081
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
This course examines how black diasporic communities have used science fiction, cosmology, fantasy, and utopianism to explore the intersections between race and technology, to redefine knowledge and subjectivity, and to imagine alternative political spaces. The syllabus draws on the work of a variety of writers, artists, and musicians, including Pauline Hopkins, George Schuyler, Ralph Ellison, Ishmael Reed, Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Renee Cox, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sun Ra, Paul D. Miller, Rammellzee, Parliament, and Anthony Joseph.

Romanticism Disfigured
Literature 3082
According to traditional literary history, Euro-American Romanticism is a 19th-century phenomenon distinguished for its emphasis on the transcendent powers of the individual, the natural world, and the imagination. However, Romanticism is equally a construct of the 20th and 21st centuries, standing variously for self-indulgence and escapism, utopianism, and radical cultural critique. In this seminar, Romantic poetry and prose—by Schlegel, Nerval, Shelley, Wordsworth, Rousseau, Hölderlin, Emerson, and Melville—is placed in dialogue with modern and postmodern writers.

Black Mountain College and the Invention of Contemporary American Art and Poetry
Literature 3090
cross-listed: art history
North Carolina’s Black Mountain College was founded in 1933 on John Dewey’s notion of “progressive” education, where the relationship between thinking and doing, idea and practice, was understood as a seamless continuum, and the arts as central to democratic ideals. A partial list of faculty includes Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Creeley. The class examines the premise of this utopian experiment and the historical platform that allowed radical modernist idioms to flourish.

Modern Tragedy
Literature 3104
The complex history of tragedy is viewed in the light of major theories of Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and others. Study includes the disappearance and revival of the chorus, as well as works by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Goethe, Kleist, Buchner, Dostoevsky, Ibsen, Strindberg, O’Neill, Brecht, Sartre, and Miller.

James Joyce’s Ulysses
Literature 3110
cross-listed: ics
Participants in this seminar pool their ideas about the novel’s text and context. Recent Joyce criticism is emphasized. Prerequisite: prior knowledge of Joyce and his early writings, notably Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Children’s Fantasy Literature in Cultural Conversation
Literature 3123
cross-listed: studio arts, theater
An intensive study of 20th-century children’s fantasy literature and the literary and cultural traditions to which they speak. The focus is on how cultural change and ideas of the child influence the manipulation of canonical source material to produce new meanings in works by authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Pullman, J. K. Rowling, Ursula Le Guin, Tamora Pierce, and Stephenie Meyer.

Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo
Literature 3134
Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo are two of the most important practitioners of American literary postmodernism. But what is postmodernism? How do these writers defy or push the limits of this frame? Related subjects considered include consumerism, paranoia, violence, technology, mass media, and the construction of history. Texts: Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, V., Gravity’s Rainbow, and Mason & Dixon; and DeLillo’s White Noise, Mao II, Underworld, and Falling Man.

Russian Literary Criticism: From Belinsky to Bakhtin and Beyond
Literature 3136
This course considers various trends and theories in Russian literary criticism from the early 19th century to the present. Students examine the key methodological and theoretical concepts of the romantic, realistic, formalist, structuralist, and poststructuralist approaches to literature developed by such critics and scholars as Vissarion Belinsky, Nikolai Dobroliubov, Viktor Shklovsky, Boris Eikhenbaum, Iurii Tynianov (the Russian formalists), Iurii Lotman (the Tartu school), Mikhail Bakhtin, and contemporary Russian literary scholars. Conducted in English.

Women on the Edge
Literature 3143
A study of numerous experimental women authors and their predecessors, including Dorothy Richardson, Djuna Barnes, Nathalie Sarraute, Clarice Lispector, Elfriede Jelinek, Marguerite Young, Kathy Acker, Jaimy Gordon, Yoko Tawada, Diane Williams, Christine Schutt, Patricia Eakins, Fiona Maazel, and others. 

T. S. Eliot and Modernity
Literature 3147
cross-listed: american studies
Eliot described the mind of the poet as a catalyst that converted the elements surrounding it into art; this course approaches Eliot as a mind that converted the crises and contradictions of modernity into poetry, drama, and criticism. Students examine his engagement with the burgeoning discourses of anthropology, psychology, and sociology; his philosophy of radical skepticism; his critique of Romanticism; his responses to urbanization, cultural fragmentation, and world war; and the controversial religious and political attitudes of his later career.

Writing Cultures: Ethnographic Literature in the United States
Literature 3148
A look at how the ethnographic impulse shaped American literature from the 1830s to the 1930s, from Alexis de Tocqueville to Zora Neale Hurston. The class tracks the transformations of writing and culture as they influence each other over time, considering how modes of literary representation (e.g., romance, realism, travel narrative, folklore) respond to and affect ideas of cultural difference. Readings from Melville, Jewett, Harris, Boas, La Flesche, Oskison, Cushing, Chesnutt, Cable, Chopin, Adams, Ta’ima’i, Anderson, Wharton, and Williams.

Proust: In Search of Lost Time
Literature 315
cross-listed: french studies
Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is about an elaborate internal journey, at the end of which the narrator discovers the unifying pattern of his life both as a writer and human being. Students read Swann’s Way and Time Regained in their entirety along with key excerpts from other volumes. Topics of discussion include the ways by which Proust’s masterpiece reflect the temporality and new rhythms of modernity, the narrative and stylistic function of homosexuality, and the massive social disruption brought about by the Great War.

Literature 3205 / Italian 3205
An introduction to the world and work of the so-called founder of all modern poetry, Dante Alighieri. Through a close reading of the entire Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso), the class considers such issues as the phenomenology of poetic inspiration, medieval theories of gender, Dante’s relationship with the literary ghosts Virgil and Cavalcanti, the sources and shapes of the human soul, and how the weight of love (pondus amoris) can save this same soul. Conducted in English; option of work in Italian.

Literature 3206
cross-listed: human rights
Evidence, etymologically, is what is exposed or obvious to the eye, and to the extent that something is evident it should help us make decisions, form conclusions, or reach judgments. In this seminar, students examine documentary materials alongside contemporary literary and political theory, in order to pose questions about decision making, bearing witness, and responsibility. Readings and screenings from Gilles Peress, Susan Sontag, Toni Morrison, Jean-Luc Nancy, Cathy Caruth, Shoshana Felman, Luc Boltanski, and others.

Faulkner: Race, Text, and Southern History
Literature 3208
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
Unlike other writers of his generation, who viewed America from distant shores, William Faulkner remained at home and explored his own region. From this intensely intimate vantage point, he was able to portray the American South in all of its glory and shame. In this course, students read Faulkner’s major novels, poetry, short stories, and film scripts. Students also read biographical material and examine the breadth of current Faulkner literary criticism.

The Tragic Heroine in the Western Imagination: From Euripides to Tennessee Williams
Literature 3217
cross-listed: gss
The figure of the tragic heroine—suffering, abject, grandiose, vengeful, self-sacrificing, murderous, noble, alluring—has gripped the Western imagination for nearly 30 centuries and raises a question that remains compelling today: Why do male authors focus so consistently on the representation of suffering females, often for the benefit of male audiences? Through close readings of representative texts—from the classical and medieval eras to the 20th century—in a number of genres, this course explores the aesthetic nature and ideological roots of this cultural preoccupation.

Hobbyism and Professionalism
Literature 3218
This course investigates the hobbyistic impulse to write for private pleasure and considers the importance of unprofitable conscientiousness, idiosyncrasy, and self-regulation in the making of fiction and nonfiction. Writing directed by obsessions and internal priorities is contrasted with writing pressured, in part, by professional demands. Texts by Michel de Montaigne, Hubert Butler, David Foster Wallace, Charles Fort, Fernando Pessoa, Nicholson Baker, John Donne, Franz Kafka, Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others.

War of 1812 Bicentennial: Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Literature 3219
cross-listed: res
In War and Peace, Tolstoy wrote that “war is not a polite recreation but the vilest thing in life, and we ought to understand that and not play at war.” The Napoleonic wars, around which War and Peace was built, reshaped the political landscape of Europe—and the literary landscape of the European novel. Additional readings include works by Tolstoy on art, history, war, and ethics, and ancillary texts on the theory of the novel and the history of Napoleonic wars. In English.

The 20th-Century Latin American Novel.
Literature 323 / Spanish 323
See Spanish 323 for a full course description.

Socrates: Man, Myth, Monsters
Literature 325 / Classics 325
A study of primary ancient sources on which contemporary knowledge of Socrates is based (including Aristophanes’ The Clouds, Xenophon’s Socratic texts, several Platonic dialogues, and selections from Aristotle) and a number of exemplary texts from the modern reception and interpretation of Socrates (including Nietzsche, Vlastos, Kofman, Nehamas, and Hadot). The goal is to give due consideration to the historical, philosophical, and literary questions that together constitute the enigma that is Socrates. All readings in English

Afterlives of Antiquity: Posthumanism and Its Classics
Literature 326 / Classics 326
cross-listed: human rights
If the classics have been used to define “humanity,” then how may “classics” be defined for a posthuman world? This seminar examines how processes of classification and canon formation may serve as material for cultural critique. Areas of interest include gender and ethnicity; anthropology and zoology; other(ed) organic biologies, including genetic, surgical, and extraterrestrial; and inorganic “biologies,” including artificial intelligence. Texts from Apuleius, Atwood, Dick, Le Guin, Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Wells, as well as critical readings and film screenings.

Culture and Breeding, and the Rise of the English Novel
Literature 3262
cross-listed: sts
What is culture? What does the notion of breeding have to do with culture, and how has the idea of culture involved protobiology, exploration, education, and even discrimination? The class considers these and other questions as it makes its way through some of the seminal literary and philosophical texts of the 18th century, including David Garrick’s version of The Winter’s Tale, Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, a selection of writings by Rousseau, Tristram Shandy, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, and Emma.

Ideology and Politics in Modern Literature
Literature 328
cross-listed: human rights
An examination of the ways in which political ideas and beliefs are dramatically realized in literature. Works by Dostoevsky, Ibsen, Kafka, Mann, Brecht, Sartre, Malraux, Gordimer, Kundera, Neruda, and others are analyzed for ideological content, depth of conception, method of presentation, and synthesis of politics and literature. The class also explores the borderline between art and propaganda. Discussions are supplemented with examples drawn from other art forms.

Reading and Writing the Hudson: Writing the Essay of Place
Literature 3308
cross-listed: eus
Students get to know the Hudson River in all of its complexity through reading a range of works and writing personal essays of place. Each student undertakes independent research into some aspect of the river; this research, combined with personal experience of the valley, is used to develop extended creative nonfiction essays, which are critiqued in a workshop format.

The American Comic Novel
Literature 3309
cross-listed: american studies
Does comedy reinforce social hierarchies by representing comic figures as social and moral inferiors, or is it intrinsically egalitarian in its attention to the shared physical body? Why has comedy been considered both conservative and an excellent medium for social protest? Is the feeling that animates comedy closer to disgust or the affirmation of life? This course explores the comic perspective in texts by Twain, Bellow, O’Connor, Heller, Barth, Toole, and Parker.

Literature 3312
cross-listed: american studies, french studies
What does Louisiana (and New Orleans, in particular) mean in the American imaginary? How did the various populations distinctive to the region—Creoles, Cajuns, and free people of color, among others—help define this meaning? How did the idea of Louisiana persist through a history of traumatic change, from the Civil War to Hurricane Katrina? Readings include the first French accounts of Louisiana and works by Cable, Chopin, Faulkner, Hearn, Hurston, Williams, Percy, and Toole.

The San Francisco Renaissance
Literature 3313
cross-listed: american studies
The end of World War II saw the migration of a diverse group of poets to the San Francisco area. Although their aesthetics and politics differed wildly, these writers were united by a resistance to the poetic mainstream and a desire to recreate a radical literary bohemia. This course charts the development of these writers and their communities. Readings include works by Kenneth Rexroth, Helen Adam, Jack Spicer, Michael McClure, Diane DiPrima, Jack Kerouac, Joanne Kyger, and Philip Whalen.

Theories of Translation
Literature 332
This course utilizes various theoretical frameworks to appreciate choices made by published translators. Modes considered range from literal translation to formal fidelity to imitative translations to transpositions. Readings include essays on translation theory by Dryden, Goethe, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Pound, Borges, Nabokov, Steiner, Jakobson, and Venuti. Students apply these theoretical frameworks in analyzing published translations and rendering two translations of their own.

National Myths, Transnational Forms: Samurai, Cowboy, Shaolin Monk
Literature 3325
cross-listed: asian studies
This course considers how certain stories and images are used to create national identity and at the same time appeal to a transnational or global audience.

New Directions in Contemporary Fiction
Literature 333
Students closely examine novels and collections of short fiction from the last quarter century in order to define the state of the art for this historical period. Particular emphasis is placed on analysis of work by some of the more pioneering practitioners of the form. Authors include Cormac McCarthy, Angela Carter, Thomas Bernhard, Jeanette Winterson, Kazuo Ishiguro, William Gaddis, Michael Ondaatje, and Jamaica Kincaid. Several writers visit class to discuss their books and read from recent work.

Faulkner and Morrison
Literature 3354
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
In this course, students first read four Faulkner novels—The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!—together with a selection of his short fiction, essays, interviews, and critical studies. Texts by Morrison include the novels The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, as well as Playing in the Dark, her influential monograph on American literature. Topics include race, violence, prophecy, motherhood, ancestry, ecstasy, privacy, the effort to speak the unspeakable, and the strange pleasures of words.

Modern and Contemporary Italian Women Writers
Literature 3365
cross-listed: italian studies
“The beast that speaks” is how Anna Maria Ortese ironically acknowledged her status as an Italian woman writer. From Sibilla Aleramo’s breakout feminist novel A Woman (1906) to the works of 1926 Nobel Laureate Grazia Deledda and controversial journalist Oriana Fallaci, this course investigates what it meant to be a woman writing in Italy during the last century. Theoretical works by Simone Weil, Simone De Beauvoir, Hélène Cixous, and others frame the discussion.

The Book Before Print
Literature 341
cross-listed: experimental humanities
The social and experiential impact of the “post-book” Internet Age has been likened to the innovation of print. Yet it could be argued that the ephemeral network of anonymous online voices is more proximate to pre-print culture. This course examines how and for what purpose(s) manuscripts were made before the invention of print. The main text is the Auchinleck Manuscript, a medieval anthology whose contents range from crusading romances and fantastical histories of England to coded social complaints and gory saints’ lives.

Hawthorne, Melville, and Literary Friendship
Literature 3410
During a mountain picnic in the summer of 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville struck up a private conversation. That talk issued into an intense, relatively brief friendship that was mediated by writing, given expression in writing, and is approachable only by way of writing. After acquainting themselves with the two writers’ careers before 1850, students read everything Hawthorne and Melville wrote between the summer of 1850 and the fall of 1852, the period of their intimacy.

Close-reading Evil
Literature 3413
cross-listed: human rights
A close look at the ways in which language has been used to portray and explore the mystery of evil. Texts range from the Book of Genesis and Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale” to the fiction of Flannery O’Connor, Denis Johnson, and Roberto Bolaño. Also studied are works of fiction and nonfiction written during and about Puritanism, the slaveholding South, colonial exploration, and the Hitler and Stalin eras, as well as news and magazine articles that address, directly or indirectly, the problem of evil.

Literature 3431
A study of the origins of satire in folk culture and classical writings (Aristophanes, Horace, Juvenal, Petronius); of medieval, Renaissance, and 18th-century examples of satire; and of the 20th-century revival of satiric traditions in Waugh, Auden, Huxley, and others.

Victorian Bodies
Literature 349
cross-listed: gss, sts, victorian studies
This course examines Victorian texts in conjunction with theories of the construction of sexuality. Students trace the origins of “natural” categories such as male/female, child/adult, heterosexual/homosexual, and normal/perverse. Readings include Charlotte Brontë, Thomas Hughes, Richard Burton, Robert Baden-Powell, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, John Ruskin, Rudyard Kipling, and Lewis Carroll.

Exile and Estrangement in Modern Fiction
Literature 358
Selected short fiction and novels by such writers as Mann, Kafka, Nabokov, Camus, Singer, Kundera, and Naipaul are read and discussed, with an eye toward the issue of exile—estrangement as a biographical fact and a way of life. Topics of foreignness and identity (ethnic, political, sexual), rejection and loss, estrangement and challenge, and protean mutability are discussed in connection with social-historical situations and as major literary themes.

Plato’s Writing: Dialogue and Dialectic
Literature 362 / Classics 362
cross-listed: philosophy
Interpreters of Plato have often asked why he wrote in dialogue form, and the answers ­proposed have frequently appealed to Plato’s conception of dialectic, although the meaning of that term in his texts is itself a matter of debate. This course examines Plato’s writings from both literary and philosophical perspectives. Readings include Euthyphro, Euthydemus, Meno, Phaedrus, Republic, and Sophist. Primary texts are complemented by secondary scholarship that illustrates the range of modern approaches to Plato. All readings in English.

Urban Shakespeare
Literature 364
Shakespeare is a very urban dramatist, reflecting the vital life of the city of London in the early 17th century. Students read Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, and The Tempest, along with relevant texts, to explore how this burgeoning capital of Europe registered in urban terms the issues of ethnicity, gender, identity, empire, sexuality, and class difference.

Enduring Novels of the 19th Century
Literature 3640
cross-listed: french studies, german studies
This course acquaints students with representative novels by distinguished French, Russian, German, and Central European authors. The works are analyzed for style, themes, ideological commitment, and social and political setting. Taken together, they provide an accurate account of the major artistic, philosophical, and intellectual trends and developments on the continent during the 19th century. Readings include Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Balzac’s Cousin Bette, Hamsun’s Hunger, and Mann’s Buddenbrooks.

Reading Arab Women Writers in Translation
Literature 3671
cross-listed: gss, mes
This course considers the figure of the Arab woman, both as author and literary character, in late 20th-century fiction and nonfiction from the Arab world. By investigating the politics of translation, the economics of publishing, and international feminist debates, the class explores the limits and possibilities for reading Arab women writers. Authors studied: Leila Ahmed, Nawal al-Saadawi, Hanan al-Shaykh, Assia Djebar, Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Mervat Hatem, Marnia Lazreg, Miriam Cooke, Evelyne Accad, and Amal Amireh. Readings in English.

The Brontës
Literature 3691
cross-listed: gss, victorian studies
This seminar examines selected writings of Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë. Reception of the Brontës has varied enormously over the years, and the class discusses the impact of shifts in canon formation on the status of texts such as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as well as the influence of theoretical, historical, and biographical accounts in shaping Brontëan myths of power and desire. Also considered are the ways that various cinematic adaptations inform our understanding of the texts.

Jane Austen
Literature 374
cross-listed: gss
A seminar devoted to the close study of Austen’s major novels: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion. Upper College standing is assumed; some familiarity with literary history and theory is desired.

Virginia Woolf
Literature 3741
cross-listed: gss
What makes Woolf a modernist? Why did Woolf’s novels and essays become canonical texts of late 20th-century feminism? Students read Woolf’s novels, from The Voyage Out (1915) to Between the Acts (1941), in the context of two distinct periods of innovation and conflict in 20th-century literary culture. The first was the formation of the Bloomsbury Circle and English modernism. The second, following the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s, was the introduction of feminist literary criticism.

Gertrude Stein and John Cage 
Literature 3742
Gertrude Stein and John Cage are arguably the most influential American figures in the experimental arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. Students read, view, and listen to selections from their work while noticing key connections to important developments in the fields with which they are most closely associated: literature, visual arts, music, dance, and other performance arts. Also reviewed are postmoderns and contemporaries including Picasso and Thomson (Stein), and Duchamp, Rauschenberg, Cunningham, and Johns (Cage).

Prose Poetries / Poetic Proses
Literature 3743
The history of literary forms from ancient times on is full of hybrid or “blurred” genres. This practice-based seminar looks at generic hybridities from pre-Socratic prose poems and Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Anne Carson’s experiments (as translator and prose poet) with classical literatures. Also addressed are the influences of Wittgenstein and Stein on the prose poetics of contemporary poets like Waldrop and Scalapino. Students experiment with the forms encountered in the readings.

Indian Fiction
Literature 3801
cross-listed: asian studies, sre
Indian fiction of the modern period is of three kinds: works written by English authors during the last 100 years of the empire; those written by Indian authors during the first 60 years of independence; and those written by Indians in the diaspora. Students read Kipling’s Kim, Forster’s A Passage to India, Narayan’s The Guide, Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Roy’s The God of Small Things, Mistry’s A Fine Balance, Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, and Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas.

Truth, Beauty, and the Market: Explorations in Literary Value
Literature 381
How is literature at once a product beholden to a specific time and place (to a “market”), and a work of art? Students explore the ways that we evaluate, judge, and consume literary works, and consider how the term “literary value” draws on developments in aesthetics, philosophy, law, economics, and sociology. Texts include writings by Hume on taste; Smith, Marx, and Simmel on value; Wordsworth and Verga on the emergence of capitalism; Zola, Manzoni, and Turgenev on class struggle; and contemporary critics such as Barthes, Foucault, and Habermas.

Joyce and Beckett
Literature 382
cross-listed: ics
This course explores Irish experimental writing, including Joyce’s Ulysses and several Beckett stories and play.

Contemporary Critical Theory
Literature 390
During the last century, major changes in the ways works of art and culture were conceived took place under the influence of modernism and poststructuralism. This seminar engages key texts in this transformation. Through the reading of full-length studies or significant excerpts of major theorists, students are introduced to the aesthetics and ethics of modernist and postmodernist debates about representation. Prerequisite: college-level course in philosophy; literature; or cultural, political, or arts theory.

Senior Colloquium: Literature
Literature 405
Literature majors writing a Senior Project are required to enroll in this yearlong colloquium, where they share working methods, knowledge, skills, and resources, and address challenges arising from research and writing on this scale. A pragmatic focus on the nuts and bolts of the Senior Project is complemented with life-after-Bard skills workshops and a review of internship and grant-writing opportunities.