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.

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17


Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Literature

literature.bard.edu


Faculty

Rebecca Cole Heinowitz (director), Jaime Alves (MAT Program), Thomas Bartscherer, Alex Benson, Jonathan Brent, Mary Caponegro, Nicole Caso, Maria Sachiko Cecire, Teju Cole, Deirdre d’Albertis, Mark Danner, Adhaar Noor Desai, Terence F. Dewsnap (emeritus), Mika Endo, Nuruddin Farah, Elizabeth Frank, Derek Furr (MAT Program), Stephen Graham, Donna Ford Grover, Lianne Habinek, Collin Jennings, Thomas Keenan, Robert Kelly, Franz R. Kempf, Marina Kostalevsky, Ann Lauterbach, Marisa Libbon, Peter L’Official, Patricia Lopez-Gay, Joseph Luzzi, Norman Manea, Daniel Mendelsohn, Bradford Morrow, William Mullen, Matthew Mutter, Melanie Nicholson, Joseph O’Neill, Natalie Prizel, Francine Prose, Susan Fox Rogers, James Romm, Justus Rosenberg, Nathan Shockey, Karen Sullivan, Eric Trudel, Marina van Zuylen, Olga Voronina, Thomas Wild, Li-Hua Ying

Overview

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 practices across a range of fields.

Requirements

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 world literature course and one junior seminar. All students complete a Senior Project.

Recent Senior Projects in Literature:

  • “Between Androgyny: Woolf’s Play with Performativity, Gender, and Sex”
  • “Dissonant Ambitions: Stendhal, Balzac, and the Fluid Nature of Selfhood”
  • “False Histories and Fractured Authors: Philip Roth’s American Pastoral and John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire
  • “Twitterature: New Dimensions of Literature in the Age of Social Media”

Courses

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

The descriptions below are a sampling of courses from the past four years.

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.

Introduction to World Literature
Literature 110
This course explores the interrelations among literary cultures throughout the world. The class pays special attention to such topics as translation, cultural difference, and the relationships between global sociopolitical issues and literary form, and the Eastern and Western epic. Topics also include the cross-cultural definitions of “lyric” and other literary genres; the emergence of the novel and its relation to the emergence of modern ­capitalism; the idea of “autobiography” across the continents and the centuries; theories of “world literature” from Goethe to Casanova and Moretti; and the struggle today between “close” and ­“distant” reading.

The Odyssey of Homer
Literature 125 / Classics 125
An intensive reading of Homer’s Odyssey introduces 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 text (“sequels,” epic cycle, the prominence of women, narrative closure) are considered.

Anna Karenina
Literature 130
cross-listed: res
An introduction to the study of fiction through a semester devoted to reading two translations of this major Russian novel. In addition to a comparison of the texts, discussion includes such topics as genre; narrative voice; the representation of character and time; 19th-century French, English, and Russian realism; and the play of psychological analysis and social observation. Attention is also paid to the construction of the novel—what Tolstoy himself referred to as its “architecture.”

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.

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.

Middlemarch: The Making of a Masterpiece
Literature 2005
cross-listed: victorian studies
How can personal letters, notebooks, and journals allow us into the psyche of a great writer? This course traces the stages of conception, research, and composition of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which students experience as its first readers did, reading facsimiles of the eight bimonthly “parts,” complete with advertisements and other ephemera. Also considered are the politics, culture, and science of the high Victorian period, an epoch comparable to the Elizabethan era in the richness and variety of its literary production.

The Novel in English: Education and Its Discontents
Literature 2014
A study of the English novel as integrally connected to 19th-century debates surrounding education. With the advent of educational reform in the period, both working-class men and women of all classes sought (and began to gain) access to institutions of higher learning. What does it mean to become an educated person? How might formal schooling be understood to help or to hinder individual growth and development? Authors read include Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.

The Great American Indian Novel
Literature 2016
cross-listed: american studies, human rights
American Indian fiction is remarkably diverse in its tropes and narrative forms, and this course explores that diversity in texts from the mid-19th century to the early 21st. Certain concerns recur, including population displacement, ecological disaster, the politics of religion, and the relationship between orality and print. Attention is also paid to each writer’s approach to the genre of the novel. Authors include Black Elk, James Fenimore Cooper, Louise Erdrich, D’Arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, John Oskison, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Yellow Bird.

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.

20th-Century Latin American Poetry
Literature 2027
cross-listed: lais
oetry in Latin America has often followed a much more ideological, “popular,” and emotionally accessible trajectory than poetry in North America. This course traces the development of that poetry rooted in the pueblo—as well as its avant-garde, hermetic, or philosophical counterpart—from the colonial period to the present day. The focus is on 20th-century works, with particular attention paid to Nobel Prize winners Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz.

Ten Plays That Shook the World
Literature 2031
cross-listed: french studies, theater and performance
The course examines the artistic, social, and psychological components that made these 10 works part of the literary canon. Have they lasted because they conjure up fantasies of escape? Because they make readers face dilemmas inherent in certain social conditions or archetypal conflicts? Direction, acting, staging, and lighting are also considered.

Signs and Symbols: Pattern Recognition in Literature and Code
Literature 2032
cross-listed: experimental humanities
In digital media, algorithms govern the relationships between words and documents (e.g., in search results, advertisements, and binary code). Yet the affiliation between literary and computational interpretation has a longer history that this course charts from the emergence of novelistic and mathematical probability in the late 18th century to the proliferation of digital media today. Texts: David Hume’s Essays, Fanny Burney’s Evelina, Charles Babbage’s Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, I. A. Richards’s Practical Criticism, and Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl.

Comparative Literature I, II, III
Literature 204A, 204B, 204C
cross-listed: classical studies, french studies, german studies
The class examines the shift in medieval and Renaissance literature from epic to lyric and romance; from orally based literature to written texts; and from anonymous poets to professional writers. Texts include The Song of Roland, troubadour lyrics, Arthurian romances, The Romance of the Rose, Dante’s Inferno, Petrarch’s sonnets, Boccaccio’s Decameron, de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies, and Villon’s Testament. In Literature 204B, students examine the major theoretical and practical literary issues in the period from 1600 to 1800. Discussions begin with the dialogue between poetry and the other arts of the baroque, especially the music of Bach and the sculpture of Bernini. The focus then turns to changes in the idea of literature in the 17th and 18th centuries that reflected the complex attitudes toward modernity in this period of scientific, cultural, and political revolution. Authors read: Descartes, Vico, Voltaire, de Graffigny, Rousseau, Goethe, and Wollstonecraft. Part three explores the key aesthetic, philosophical, and political issues that emerge in poetry, fiction, theater, and translation from the late 18th to the late 20th century. Readings include works by Rousseau, de Sade, Hölderlin, Goethe, Blake, Shelley, Emerson, Whitman, Baudelaire, Rilke, Lorca, Artaud, Celan, Olson, Kerouac, and Rothenberg.

Making Verse and Making Love: Introduction to Renaissance Poetry
Literature 2041
Sir Philip Sidney, the first English poet to achieve what would today be considered “rock star” status, declared that poetry is capable of “making things either better than nature” or “forms such as never were in nature.” This course considers Sidney’s claims by surveying diverse styles and genres of poetry from the English Renaissance. It also explores how and why these 400-year-old poems still manage to delight and ­surprise us.

Blues, Spirituals, and the 20th-Century African American Novel
Literature 2050
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
African American spirituals and blues music share fundamental musical structures, but offer very different narratives. Spirituals detail a transitory existence, marked by suffering, which culminates in a celebratory ascendance into heaven. While the blues often feature stories of anger and hurt, earthly survival is the only cause for celebration. This course explores the critical influence these musical forms had on African American writers of the 20th century, including Baldwin, Morrison, Ellison, Hurston, Wright, and Mosley.

Douglass and Du Bois
Literature 2050
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies, human rights
Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois each shaped our sense of what the latter calls “the problem of the color line.” The course examines the aesthetic choices they made as writers and puts them in historical context: one began writing in the years leading up to the Civil War, the other in the wake of Reconstruction’s failure. Readings include Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom and Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk.

Sympathy for the Devil: Goethe’s Faust
Literature 206 / German 206
An intensive study of Goethe’s drama about a man in league with the devil. The dynamics of Faust’s striving for knowledge of the world and experience of life and Mephistopheles’s advancement and subversion of this striving provide the basis for analyzing the play’s central themes—individuality, knowledge, and transcendence—in regard to their meaning in Goethe’s time and ours. Students also consider Faust literature before and after Goethe, and the integration of Faust in music, theater, and film.

Modern Arabic Fiction
Literature 2060
cross-listed: mes
Students read a selection of Arabic novels and short stories from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, and the wider Arab diaspora. Through this sampling of texts, in addition to accompanying critical literature, films, and lectures, students gain a broad-based understanding of the history of Arabic literature, including its formal developments, genres, and themes. Topics discussed include colonialism and postcolonialism, globalization, occupation and liberation, religion vs. secularization, Orientalism and neo-Orientalism, Islam and the West, and gender and women’s issues.

Romantic-Era Poetry and Drama, 1750–1850
Literature 2065
An introduction to the poetry and drama produced in Britain during the turbulent century that witnessed the Enclosure Acts, industriali­zation, the American and French Revolutions, the impeachment of Warren Hastings, the Napoleonic Wars, abolition, and the Reform Bill. The central focus is on British authors (including Gray, Crabbe, Baillie, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, Beddoes, Clare, and Landon), though attention is also paid to key European influences and interlocutors, such as Diderot, Goethe, Rousseau, and Hölderlin.

Mass Culture of Postwar Japan
Literature 2081
cross-listed: asian studies, experimental humanities
This course explores the literature, history, and media art of Japan since World War II, beginning with the lean years of the American occupation (1945–52) and covering the high-growth period of the 1960s and 1970s, the “bubble era” of the 1980s, and the present moment. The class examines radio drama, television, magazines, manga/comics, film, fiction, theater, folk and pop music, animation, advertising, and contemporary multimedia art, focusing on works of “low brow” and “middle brow” culture that structure the experience of everyday life.

Multimediated Medievalisms: Arthurian Afterlives, 1800 – Present
Literature 2082
cross-listed: experimental humanities, medieval studies, victorian studies
How does a period frequently described as “primitive” simultaneously exist in popular imagination as the epitome of nobility and chivalry? What do reimaginings of this period reveal about contemporary ideas of nation, gender, ethnicity, and class? In addition to poetry and novels, the class addresses Arthurian material in paintings, film, and the graphic novel.

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.

Poetic Justice: Law and Literature from Plato to the Present
Literature 2105
cross-listed: human rights
“Roman law was a severe form of poetry,” the Italian philosopher Vico claimed, attesting to an ancient relation between law and literature. This course shows how literature “thinks through” issues of justice in ways that often anticipate, subvert, and critique existing legal codes and practices. Texts include Plato’s Apology, Dante’s Inferno, Thomas More’s Utopia, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Franz Kafka’s The Trial, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Wise Fools: Madmen, Lunatics, and Other Literary Outcasts
Literature 2110
How have writers throughout history adopted an “outsider’s” perspective to critique society and offer new forms of knowledge—intellectual and creative acts of resistance that often earned them scorn, punishment, even exile? This course explores the role of the outcast from ancient to modern times, paying special attention to how literary discourses of disenfranchisement and alienation have played a powerful role in the history of ideas. Texts by Plato, Apuleius, Erasmus, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Mary Shelley, Dostoevsky, Collodi, and Ellison.

Shakespeare’s Tragedies and the Problem of Government
Literature 2119
This course explores how Shakespeare uses the framework of tragedy to investigate the contours of political life, focusing specifically on how familial, friendship, and sexual ties reflect and influence overarching governmental realities. How do we understand kingship after seeing it portrayed as an isolating burden? What do the tragic consequences of notions like honor and duty reveal about the interrelations between early modern masculinity and political organization? Texts: Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, Coriolanus, King Lear, and other writings from the period.

Consciousness and Conscience
Literature 2120
cross-listed: human rights
This course looks at the ways in which consciousness—how we think and fantasize, how we see the world around us, how we recalibrate and respond to every new stimulus, observation, and fragment of information—has been portrayed in fiction. Students also consider how writers have (and have not) portrayed the moral dimension: the operations of conscience. Readings from Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Woolf, Wharton, Baldwin, Bolaño, and Highsmith, among others.

Traditions of African American Literature
Literature 2134
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
An introduction to African American literary practices and the development of related cultural, aesthetic, and vernacular forms and movements from the 18th century to the present. In tracing these emergent and lasting voices, modes, and styles, the course examines how authors have created, defined, and complicated the traditions of literature within which they participate. Readings include novels, essays, autobiography, poetry, and drama; writers likely to include Douglass, Jacobs, Du Bois, Toomer, Hurston, Ellison, Baldwin, Lorde, Reed, Morrison, and Whitehead.

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.

Domesticity and Power
Literature 2140
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies, gss
Many American women writers of the 19th and 20th centuries used the domestic novel to make insightful critiques of American society and ­politics. The course begins with Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s handbook of housekeeping, The American Woman’s Home (1869). Readings also include the novels and short stories of Harriet Jacobs, Frances E. W. Harper, Kate Chopin, Nella Larsen, Jessie Fauset, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather.

The Courage to Be: Achilles, Socrates, Antigone, Mother Courage
Literature 2142
cross-listed: res
In the Republic, Socrates maintains that courage is one of the four virtues (or excellences) to be found in a good regime and in a good soul. Yet it is not entirely clear whether courage should be understood the same way in all contexts. Is a warrior’s courage the same as that of a philosopher? Who is truly courageous, the one who defends the regime, the one who questions it, or both? Readings/films include philosophical texts (Plato, Aristotle, Emerson, Tillich, Arendt) and imaginative representations (Iliad, Antigone, Mother Courage, High Noon, and The Conformist).

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.

Innuendo
Literature 2163
Studies in the “not-quite-said” of fiction, poetry, drama, and theory. Students learn to distinguish the contexts and purposes of different kinds of innuendo by the analysis of speech acts, poetic statements, philosophical claims, and social prohibitions. Readings are drawn from de Saussure and other linguists, Austin, Tannen, Stevens, Ashbery, Lauterbach, Miss Manners, Proust, Chekhov, Wilde, Beckett, Agamben, Blanchot, and Derrida.

Medieval Ireland
Literature 2175
cross-listed: ics, medieval studies
Students consider 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.

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

Kundera: The Art of Fiction
Literature 2183
cross-listed: res
This course examines how Milan Kundera’s idiosyncratic textual strategies unsettle the boundaries between fictional and factual, totalitarian and democratic, and Eastern and Western. It also considers his creative use of philosophy and history, and places his novels in the context of larger political issues. Readings include The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Immortality, as well as his theoretical writings. 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
cross-listed: human rights, mes
This course draws upon a series of case studies to illustrate how cultural production can be read as a form of documentation, resistance, or potential intervention to prevailing narratives. Topics include tradition and modernity, the rise (and fall) of nationalism, and narrating war. Students consider a range of texts, including novels (Sonallah Ibrahim, Assia Djebar), films (Jackie Salloum, Tahani Rached), music (Oum Kalthoum, Dam, Sami Yusuf), and blogs (Riverbend, Hometown Baghdad) from across the region.

Media and Metropolis in Modern Japan
Literature 2191
cross-listed: asian studies, eus
In just over a hundred years, Japan has been transformed from a largely rural, agricultural nation to a global symbol of high-tech hyper futurism. This course examines the ways in which this process—and the urban space it has created—has been written and represented; what is lost in the rural-to-urban transition; and problems of nostalgia and alienation in the countryside and new suburbs. It also serves to introduce major works of urban theory by Mumford, Lefebvre, Simmel, Harvey, and others.

Berlin: Capital of the 20th Century
Literature 2194 / German 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.

Ancient Fiction 
Literature 2198
Best known to modern readers through Petronius’s Satyricon, Apuleius’s Golden Ass, and Longus’s Daphnis and Chloe, the ancient novels were action-packed narratives full of youthful romance, exotic travel, human travails, shipwrecks, and pirates. They also represented a new literary form in the Roman imperial period: prose fiction. Students read (in English) all the surviving Greek and Roman novels, ancient prose fiction from other cultures, and works by contemporary literary ­theorists and critics.

Ecstasy, Hysteria, Obsession: Literature and the Extreme
Literature 2202
Great literature often portrays extreme emotions and their consequences—unrequited love and erotic obsession, ecstatic joy and misery—as intense but nonetheless “normal” aspects of human experience. In the early 20th century, these states of consciousness began to be viewed as illnesses requiring treatment, as aberrations with only a minimal relation to the political and social realities that may have helped create them. Texts include novels, stories, plays, and works of nonfiction by Proust, Freud, García Márquez, Bolaño, Brontë, Mansfield, St. Aubyn, and others.

Balkan Voices
Literature 2203
cross-listed: human rights, res
“The Balkans,” writes journalist Robert D. Kaplan, “are a Bosch-like tapestry of interlocking ethnic rivalries, where medieval and modern history thread into each other.” Indeed, the Balkan countries are often seen as “primitive,” “dark,” and “violent” in comparison with the “civilized” West. Maria Todorova’s Imagining the Balkans and Vesna Goldsworthy’s Inventing Ruritania are used to provoke discussion; additional readings from Ismail Kadare (Albania), Vladislav Todorov (Bulgaria), Miroslav Krleža (Croatia), C. P. Cavafy (Greece), Tashko Georgievski (Macedonia), Ivo Andric´ (Serbia), and Herta Müller (Romania).

Sex and Gender in Japanese Literature and Culture
Literature 2206
cross-listed: asian studies, gss
From the classical era (The Tale of Genji) to the present (gender-bending manga), the class investigates how the shifting dynamics of sex and gender were shaped by the social and political forces of their time. Topics discussed: the classical canon and women’s courtly writings, Buddhist conceptions of women, Confucian teachings on gender and the body, Edo-period male-male cultures, modernization and the nuclear family, representations of the “modern girl” of the 1920s, gender in revolutionary cultures, and 1960s feminist discourse.

Literary and Cinematic Reflections of War in the Modern Middle East
Literature 2208
cross-listed: mes
This course examines the ways in which artists from the Middle East have grappled with such long and brutal conflicts as the Lebanese civil war, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran-Iraq war, Iraq since 1991, and the current Syrian civil war. Authors and filmmakers studied include: Elias Khoury, Hoda Barakat, Mahmoud Darwish, Hushang Golshiri, Bahram Beyzai, Hassan Blasim, Betool Khedairi, and Bahman Ghobadi.

Plato’s Writing: Dialogue and Dialectic
Literature 2209
Why did Plato write dialogues? Answers to this perennial question have appealed to Plato’s conception of dialectic, although the meaning of that term in his texts is itself a matter of considerable debate. This course examines Plato’s writings from both a philosophical and literary perspective, with particular emphasis on a careful reading of whole dialogues. Readings: Euthyphro, Euthydemus, Phaedrus, Republic, Symposium, and texts by some of Plato’s predecessors in the Greek tradition.

Writing Africa
Literature 2212
Africa has served as the setting for a variety of British and American authors. Grand ideas are discussed with great intensity in their works, yet the African is “virtually absent” because the author denies him/her the power of speech or presents him/her as not wholly present, not a full human being equal to the others. This course explores topics such as colonialism, racism, ­civilization, and the “construction” of the African in texts by Conrad, Waugh, Cary, Hemingway, Bellow, Naipaul, Boyd, Theroux, and Rush.

Building Stories
Literature 2213
cross-listed: american studies, eus
This course examines relationships between narratives and their settings by employing conceptual frameworks borrowed from architectural studies and histories of the built environment. Weekly discussions are structured around building typologies and common tropes of urban planning: the row-house brownstone, apartment building, skyscraper, and suburban or rural house. Students consider to what extent geography and landscape shape culture and identity. Authors: Nicholson Baker, Paul Beatty, Alison Bechdel, Don DeLillo, Junot Díaz, Joan Didion, Ben Lerner, Paule Marshall, D. J. Waldie, and Colson Whitehead.

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.

Human Rights and Modern Japanese Literature
Literature 2216 / Japanese 2216
See Japanese 2216 for a full course description.

Children’s Fantasy Literature in Cultural Conversation
Literature 2218
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 J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Pullman, J. K. Rowling, Ursula Le Guin, Tamora Pierce, and Stephenie Meyer.

Ancient Comic Theater
Literature 2234
cross-listed: classical studies, theater and performance
At once bawdy and wordy, revolutionary and reactionary, the comic theater of ancient Greece and Rome represents the invention of an art form combining spectacular mass entertainment with highly topical social commentary. What was ancient comedy, and how did it evolve? What was its legacy, and how do its concerns relate to the role played by comedy in our lives today? This course addresses these and other questions through readings from Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, and Terence.

Nature, Disaster, and the Environment in Japanese Literature
Literature 2238
cross-listed: asian studies
An examination of the literary representation of nature and the environment in texts from the Japanese archipelago. It is often asserted that nature is ubiquitous in Japanese literary expression, but how and why did this come to be? How has nature been narrated, harnessed, and reimagined at varying moments and locations, and how have the values assigned to it been deployed in the construction of national identity and in the processes of modernity? Readings include fictional and nonfictional texts from the eighth century to the present.

Contemporary Russian Fiction
Literature 2245
cross-listed: res
The course examines Russian literature from the late Soviet and post-Soviet periods to the present, with a focus on narrative strategies, a reassessment of Russian history, gender and sexuality, religion and spirituality, and cultural and national identity. Readings range from the underground publications of samizdat and officially published texts of the first period; postmodernist works from the end of the 20th century; and literary texts of the last decade.

Great Hatred, Little Room: Contested Ireland
Literature 2246
cross-listed: ics
Throughout the 20th century, Ireland and its “Troubles” represented one of the most intractable cases of hatred and conflict in the world. Violence characterized much of Ireland’s 800-year relationship with Britain. Sectarian hatred between Roman Catholics and Protestants was entrenched, as were conflicts within these groups and divisions between North and South. Careful study of speeches, memoirs, and political documents allow students to examine the functioning of “languages of hatred” as well as efforts to move beyond such languages.

The Elements of Style
Literature 2254
How does style affect the ways in which we read, transmit, and receive information, and understand the world? And how does style express and reflect our social and political attitudes and biases? In this course, students analyze examples of different genres (short fiction and novels, essays, ­magazine pieces, reviews, newspaper articles), concentrating on subjects that include point of view, diction, phrasing, word choice, and subtext. Visual style—film, painting, fashion—is also ­considered.

Culture and the Rise of the English Novel
Literature 2263
cross-listed: sts
How do nature and nurture interact to create society, personality, and ideas—in short, to create culture? This question became crucial for thinkers in 17th- and 18th-century England, as the expansion of the British Empire necessitated a bout of national introspection. Concurrently, the new literary form of the novel sought to create and capture an English culture. The course begins with Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale and its curious “alteration” by Garrick, then turns to works by Behn, Locke, Rousseau, Burney, Sterne, Smollett, and Austen.

Devotion, Dissent, Dissolution: Saints’ Lives from the Middle Ages to the Reformation
Literature 2264
cross-listed: sts
A saint’s life, by nature, should emulate the trajectory of the life of Christ: beginning with a miraculous birth (or conversion), culminating with an extenuated period of physical suffering, and ending with impressive martyrdom. Like faith itself, however, the genre of saints’ lives is not a static or unpoliticized thing. The class reads a variety of saints’ lives and affiliated writings, ranging from the 13th-century Golden Legend to John Foxe’s 16th-century Protestant martyrology.

The Practice of Courage: From Martyrs to Suicide Bombers
Literature 2281
cross-listed: human rights
In Western history, many of the individuals who have been most admired for their bravery have willingly accepted death for a higher purpose, whether that purpose be intellectual (Socrates), religious, or political (Becket, Gandhi, Sands). But what if the cause is not a good cause? What if the martyr is driven not only by a desire for justice but by a desire for glory or even death? The course considers a series of historical moments that produced martyrs, with texts (historical and fictional) ranging from the fourth century b.c.e. to the present.

The Practice of Courage: Heroism or Hubris?
Literature 2282
cross-listed: africana studies, american studies
Is Antigone’s heroism a mark of hubris? Is Don Quixote’s idealism insanity? Are Camus’s The Plague and Saramago’s Blindness allegories of courage or narratives of the absurd? With its allegories and polyphonic voices, multiple narratives, and deliberate silences, literature obscures our access to pat answers about good and evil, vice and virtue. This course examines how writers have disguised and distorted a quality such as courage to convey the multifaceted nature of human motivation. Readings also include texts by Emerson, Tillich, Agamben, and Arendt.

Faulkner: Race, Text, and Southern History
Literature 2306
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 intimate vantage point, he was able to portray the American South in all of its glory and shame. Students read Faulkner’s major novels, poetry, short stories, and film scripts. Readings also include biographical material and criticism.

St. Petersburg: City, Monument, Text
Literature 231 / Russian 231
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.

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.

The Art of Translation
Literature 2319 
By comparing multiple translations of literary, religious, and philosophical texts, this course examines the ways in which translation shapes textual meaning and our appreciation of it. Students also read key theoretical essays and take on a short translation project of their own. Readings include translations of Homer, Sappho, Plato, the Bible, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Baudelaire, Proust, Kafka, Babel, and Neruda.

Middle Eastern Cinemas
Literature 232
cross-listed: med
The history of cinema in the Middle East is as old as the art form itself; films by the Lumière Brothers were shown in Cairo, Alexandria, Algiers, Tunis, Fez, and Jerusalem just months after their initial screenings. The “Orient” became the location for early productions and cinemas sprang up across the region. This course surveys the development of national cinemas in the Middle East; offers case studies of influential directors, including Chahine, Kiarostami, Amiralay, Moghrabi, and Suleiman; and presents video artworks produced by younger practitioners.

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.

Modern Chinese Fiction
Literature 232
A survey of Chinese fiction from the 1910s to the present. China witnessed unprecedented upheavals and radical transformations during this period, and its literature was often a battleground for political, cultural, and aesthetic debates. The class reads works by writers from three periods (1918–49; 1949–76; 1976– ), such as Lu Xun, Ding Ling, Ba Jin, Shen Congwen, Lao She, Mao Dun, Eileen Chang, Mo Yan, Yu Hua, Can Xue, and Han Shaogong, as well as works by authors from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The Easter Rising in Ireland, April 1916
Literature 233
cross-listed: ics
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion, a significant event in the creation of an Irish Free State, the class studies the lives and writings of the militants involved, several of whom were poets and teachers, and the ideological currents that shaped their different resolves. Texts include contradictory accounts of the rising as well as numerous songs and speeches that served to excite the ardor of the participants and their public—and the scorn of naysayers.

American Gothic
Literature 2331
cross-listed: american studies, gss
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 works by Hawthorne, Poe, Jacobs, James, Alcott, Gilman, Wharton, Faulkner, Jackson, and Baldwin.

Literature of the Crusades
Literature 234
cross-listed: human rights, medieval studies, mes, religion
This course explores the considerable literature produced around the Crusades, including epics, lyric poems, chronicles, and sermons, in an attempt to understand the mentality that inspired lords and peasants, knights and monks, men and women, and adults and children to take up the cross. Although the class primarily considers the Catholic perspective, attention is also paid to the Greek, Muslim, and Jewish points of view on these conflicts.

Introduction to Media
Literature 2345
cross-listed: experimental humanities
A survey of media history and theory that aims to understand media not simply as a scholarly object but as a force in our lives. Old and new media are explored, from writing to photography to the digital landscape. Students also work with media, in order to assess their positions as users, consumers, and potential producers of media.

Philosophy and Literature
Literature 238 / Philosophy 238
See Philosophy 238 for a full course description.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Literature 2401
cross-listed: medieval studies
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a cornerstone of the canon of English literature, was never finished. Chaucer spent the last dozen years of his life working on the tales, leaving behind a fragmented collection of stories that readers have been reassembling since his death in 1400. This course undertakes a semester-long exploration of the Canterbury Tales, piecing together the picture of medieval England that the work at once preserves and critiques.

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,Capek, Schulz, Olesha, and Mayakovsky.

The Book before Print
Literature 2414
In 1476, William Caxton set up England’s first printing press at Westminster in London. Prior to this technological innovation, books were made from vellum (animal skin) and written and illuminated by hand. The course considers Anglo-Saxon and medieval English books as both cultural objects and literary artifacts, and raises questions about literacy, the history of the book, the relationship between image and text, and the proximity of anonymous preprint culture to the Internet age, among other topics.

Milton
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 in the Digital Age
Literature 243
cross-listed: experimental humanities
The proliferation of digital information and communications technologies over the past half-century has transformed how literary works are composed, produced, circulated, read, and interpreted. What is the nature, extent, and significance of these changes? This course reassesses questions and themes long central to the study of literature, including archiving, authorship, canon formation, dissemination, and narrative, among others, by pairing contemporary works with texts from and about other shifts in media from the ancient world to the modern era.

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.

Theater and Politics: The Power of Imagination
Literature 2481
cross-listed: german studies, theater and performance
his course is structured around the works of German playwrights Tankred Dorst and Ursula Ehler, who will meet with students to discuss their plays, poetics, and collaborative works in progress. Their oeuvre includes Merlin, a rewriting of the King Arthur legend; Toller, based on the life of the Socialist revolutionary Ernst Toller; and Ice Age, a chilling one-act piece about the fascist-friendly Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun. In each work, the playwrights explore the fraught intersection of the imaginative and political worlds.

James Joyce’s Fiction
Literature 2485
cross-listed: ics
Joyce was an autobiographical writer who wrote about one place: Dublin. He was also an experimental writer and a prominent modernist in tune with the literary and artistic innovations of the early 20th century. In this course, students read his short stories in Dubliners, his coming-of-age novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and his modern epic Ulysses.

English Literature I, II, III
Literature 250, 251, 252
In the first of three independent courses, students gain experience reading, thinking, and writing about early English literature, and devise a working narrative about the development of that literature and its role in the construction of the idea of England. Readings range from the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with attention paid to historical context and the continuum of conventions and expectations that the texts enact—and sometimes pointedly break. Texts also include Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, Spenser’s Faerie Queene, early descriptions and histories of England, and several “romances”—the pop fiction about knights and their adventures that circulated widely in both Chaucer’s medieval and Shakespeare’s early-modern England. 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 explores developments in British literature from the late 18th century through the 20th century—a period marked by the effects of the French and American Revolutions, rapid industrialization, the rise and decline of empire, two world wars, and growing uncertainty about the meaning of “Britishness” in a global context. Readings include poetry, prose, essays, and plays, with attention paid to the ways in which historical forces and social changes shape and are at times shaped by the formal features of literary text.

Shakespeare
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 include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, and The Tempest.

Telling Stories about Rights
Literature 2509 / Human Rights 2509
What difference can fiction make in the struggle for rights and justice? What can works representing injustice, suffering, or resistance tell us about fiction and literature? This course focuses on a range of fictions that tell unusual stories about the rights of individuals and communities to justice. Texts may include García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars, Høeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Dai’s Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress, Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain, and Ouologuem’s Bound to Violence, 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.

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 looks at early and antebellum American writing (17th to mid-19th century) through questions of colonization and indigeneity; race, gender, and authorship; religion and the state; and aesthetic tradition and innovation. Texts include poems, novels, short stories, and captivity narratives by Rowlandson, Edwards, Equiano, Wheatley, Schoolcraft, Irving, Brown, Apess, Poe, and Douglass. 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 World War II, emphasizing the new and evolving spirit of realism, ­naturalism, and ­emergent modernism. Authors include James, Twain, Cather, Frost, Pound, Eliot, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. Literature 260 looks at American literature in the wake of World War II and 9/11.

American Literature 1945–2012
Literature 2601
cross-listed: american studies 
This course looks at the ways in which American literature imagined and represented what it was like to live American lives between August 6, 1945, and September 11, 2001, the day when American verities and pieties underwent a sudden reckoning. Readings include works by Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, and Toni Morrison.

Introduction to Literary Theory
Literature 2607
This course introduces the theoretical and critical discourses animating contemporary literary criticism, with a focus on world literature, translation, postcolonialism, Marxism, New Criticism, deconstruction, and feminism. The class considers what it is to read literarily as well as how cultural hegemonies inflect our access to the words on the page. Texts from Benedict Anderson, Matthew Arnold, Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, T. S. Eliot, Shoshana Felman, Michel Foucault, Franco Moretti, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Raymond Williams.

Memorable 19th-Century Continental Novels
Literature 264
An in-depth examination of continental novels that are part of the literary canon, such as Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Balzac’s Cousin Bette, and Thomas Mann’s The Buddenbrooks. The class explores these writers’ portrayals of the major artistic, social, political, and philosophical trends and developments in 19th-century Europe, including the rising middle class, corrosion of religious beliefs, position of women in society, birth of radical ideologies, and the debate between materialism and idealism as philosophical concepts.

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.

Arab Women’s Literature
Literature 2672
cross-listed: africana studies, mes
Through readings (in translation) of poetic and prose works by Arab women authors from the seventh century through the 21st century, the class pursues a broad-based understanding of Arabic literature, including its formal developments, genres, and themes. Also explored: the politics of literary translation and dissemination of “world” literatures, Orientalism and neo-Orientalism in the post–9/11 world, and the legendary figure of Shahrazad as she is portrayed in Western and Arab literature, art, and film.

Rebels With(out) a Cause: Great Works of German Literature
Literature 270 / German 270
See German 270 for a full course description.

German Literature in Seven Dates
Literature 2704
cross-listed: german studies
This course offers seven relevant access points to German literature and history between the 18th and 21st centuries, beginning in January 1774, when Goethe establishes his literary fame after six somnambulant weeks of writing The Sorrows of Young Werther, and including November 1949, when Hannah Arendt first revisits Germany after the Second World War. Further readings from Kant, Kleist, Büchner, Uwe Johnson, and Herta Müller. A New History of German Literature (2004) furnishes apposite background reading.

Chosen Voices: Jewish Authors
Literature 276
cross-listed: jewish studies,theology
Students read 19th- and 20th-century Jewish authors who, in their attempts to preserve Jewish tradition or break with it, managed to make a major contribution to secular Jewish culture. Topics discussed include Jewish identity and stereotypes, questions of “apartness” and “insideness,” Jewish humor, and Jewish participation in literary modernisms. Readings by Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Primo Levi, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, Grace Paley, and Aharon Appelfeld, among others.

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.

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).

Literary Criticism: Theory and Practice
Literature 293
A close reading of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and in-depth study of salient secondary literature allows the class to consider how major critical approaches from New Criticism to New Historicism work in praxis and how they shape our understanding of the text. Extensive readings from Peter Barry’s Beginning Theory: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory provide students with the methodological groundwork for their own critical writing.

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 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.

Sound in American Literature
Literature 3028
cross-listed: american studies, experimental humanities
We often describe literary form in sonic terms—voice, tone, echo—even as we set the silent, graphic medium of writing in opposition to the noisy stuff of speech and song. This paradox generates some knotty questions of aesthetics, sensation, and media. Put them in the context of 19th- and 20th-century American literature, and more questions arise. In what ways, for instance, does the representation of sound participate in the construction of race, region, and gender? Texts by Bakhtin, Brooks, Faulkner, Gitelman, Hurston, Ingold, and Keller, among others.

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 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 in Literature
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.

Melville
Literature 3043
cross-listed: american studies
This seminar offers an intensive reading of Herman Melville’s prose and poetry, from his first novel, Typee, to the posthumously published Billy Budd. The class follows the mutations of a career that produced hugely popular adventure novels and commercially disastrous narrative experiments (including Moby-Dick; or, the Whale). Topics include labor, rhetoric, sexuality, the sublime, faith, and revolt.

Arabic and African Literature in the Cold War
Literature 3044
cross-listed: africana studies, mes
As part of American Cold War cultural propaganda in the 1950s and 1960s, the Congress for Cultural Freedom (covertly created by the Central Intelligence Agency) funded Arabic and African literary journals including Lotus, Black Orpheus, Hiwar, and Transition. The class reads selections from these journals, and considers how the fields of African and Arabic literature were constructed in the context of American empire and the emergence of area studies. Texts by Said, Achebe, Soyinka, Okigbo, Salih, Baalbaki, and al-Samman, among others.

Irish Writing and the Nationality of Literature
Literature 3045
cross-listed: ics
Students read so-called “Irish” writing as a means of investigating the notion that literary texts may possess the attribute of nationality. How is Irishness to be located in a text? In what ways does the idea of nationality (or ethnicity or community) connect the literary, juridical, and political realms? Authors studied include Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth, Oscar Wilde, Somerville and Ross, J. M. Synge, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Francis Stuart, Flann O’Brien, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney.

Woman as Cyborg
Literature 3046
cross-listed: experimental humanities, gss, sts
From the robot Maria in the 1927 film Metropolis to the female-voiced Siri application for iPhone, mechanized creations that perform physical, emotional, and computational labor have been routinely gendered female in both fiction and reality. This course considers how gynoids, fembots, and female-identified machinery reflect the roles of women’s work and women’s bodies in technologized society. Texts include writings from ancient Greece, Karel Capek’s 1920 play R.U.R. (in which the word “robot” first appeared), Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, and William Gibson’s Neuromancer, among others.

Centaurs to Superheroes
Literature 3047
The human desire to transform, to become something other, has infused literature since the first artists took up charcoal to sketch half-man, half-beasts on a cave wall. This seminar analyzes the urge to transform and transcend from prehistory to the metamorphoses of Ovid and Virgil; the composite creatures of the medieval mind; the monsters and superheroes that populate the Victorian mind (Shelley’s Frankenstein; Stevenson’s Mr. Hyde, and Stoker’s Count Dracula); and the vampires, werewolves, and supermen that populate our contemporary imagination.

Extraordinary Bodies: Disability in American Fiction and Culture
Literature 3048
cross-listed: american studies, human rights
This course examines how writers of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries represent the “normal” body, as well as a constellation of bodies presented as extraordinary: bodies disfigured at birth or by illness or war; bodies paraded as “freaks”; bodies that don’t fit into established categories. Possible readings include short fiction by Poe, Hawthorne, O’Connor, and Morrison; novels by Howe (The Hermaphrodite), Phelps (The Silent Partner), Davis (Life in the Iron Mills), and Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time); and memoirs, drama, and poetry.

Through a Future Darkly: Global Crisis and the Triumph of Dystopia
Literature 307
Formal literary dystopia has been with us since 1726, with the arrival of Swift’s Gulliver, although the tendency to critique the present by imagining a darkly extrapolated future surely extends back further. Central components of dystopian satire—climate destruction, nuclear annihilation, terrorist states—have become commonplaces of politics today. In such a world, has dystopia become prophetic, or redundant? This seminar explores dystopian literature present and past, including works by Atwood, Burgess, Burroughs, Dick, Kafka, London, Nabokov, and Roth, among others.

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.

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.

The Roman Poetry Book
Literature 3101
cross-listed: classical studies, experimental humanities
First adopted in the ancient Greek-speaking world and further developed among poets in Rome, the poetry book and its textual, material form led readers and writers to reimagine the relationship between literary media and poetic meaning. Thus, they initiated a process of creative experimentation that continues today. Readings focus on several Roman books that take the medium in different directions: Catullus’s “little book,” Virgil’s Eclogues, Propertius’s books of elegies, Horace’s lyric Odes, Ovid’s poetry of love and exile, and Statius’s Silvae.

The Revenge Tragedy
Literature 3122
cross-listed: experimental humanities, theater and performance
Vindicta mini! Clandestine murders, otherworldly revenants, disguise, madness, and a final scene of brutal bloodshed: these characterize the revenge tragedy, a form of drama extremely popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. The class investigates the revenge tragedy’s antecedent, Senecan tragedy, before considering the genre in its own context during the late 16th and early 17th centuries and modern instantiations of the genre.

Thomas Pynchon and the Postmodern
Literature 3134
The Crying of Lot 49 and V. seemed a specific response to the cultural moment of 1960s America, but this seminar places Pynchon within the tradition of narrative experiment begun by Edgar Allan Poe. A close reading of The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, and the just-published Bleeding Edge reveal this longer line of influence on Pynchon and other postmodern novelists, whose achievements include a compelling mix of high/low culture and complexity of narrative point of view. Additional texts by Norris, West, O’Connor, and Chandler..

Cavafy: A Modernist in the Ancient World
Literature 3138
cross-listed: classical studies, gss
The Alexandrian poet Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933), at once an impassioned amateur of the Greek past and a pioneer in the forthright representation of homoerotic desire in the present, is widely considered the greatest poet of modern Greece. Although scholars have long divided his work into two groups—“historical” and “erotic”—this course reevaluates the relationship of history and sexuality in the poet’s canon. Works are read in translation, with selected readings from contemporaries such as Pound, Eliot, and H.D.

Geographies of Unease: Literature and the Dynamics of Cultural and Social Reproduction
Literature 3139
The books we read, the tastes we acquire, and the ambitions we hold make us into insiders or outcasts, depending on where we stand. Using literary and philosophical texts, this course explores the process of passing from one condition to another. Whether this integrative process involves race, country, sexuality, gender, or socioeconomics, it explodes the notion of a stable and unchanging self and focuses on border zones of culture and being. Readings from Bourdieu, Rancière, Larsen, James, Howells, Hardy, Ernaux, Foucault, Wharton, Woolf, Sarraute, and Eribon.

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, 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 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.

Fiction from the Indian Subcontinent
Literature 310
This course examines fiction by authors from India and Pakistan in an effort to understand the postcolonial condition. Readings include the short text “Toba Tek Singh” by Pakistan’s Saadat Hasan Manto and more recent works by Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Nadeem Aslam, Jerry Pinto, Daniyal Mueenuddin, and others writers who address the social upheavals occurring in the subcontinent, many of which can be traced to the Partition of India in 1947.

People Moving: Literature and the Refugee
Literature 319
Today nearly 40 million people are counted as refugees or “internally displaced people.” This seminar explores some of the factors underlying displacement and responses—especially literary—to it. Attention is given to the political and social dimensions of the refugee experience, but the focus is on imaginative accounts of displacement, flight, and (re)settlement. Texts by Aleksander Hemon, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Leila Aboulela, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jean Marteilhe, and Robin Gwynn. Screenings of Casablanca; Christ Stopped at Eboli; America, America; and The Pirogue.

Dante
Literature 3205 / Italian 3205
This course addresses the fascinating reception of Dante’s Divine Comedy over the centuries in multiple literary traditions, national cultures, and artistic media. After reading the epic poem, students trace its presence in such phenomena as Petrarch and Boccaccio’s debates about poetry, Milton’s epic imagination, the founding of the American Dante Society at Longfellow’s Harvard, the cinematic Dante of Antonioni and other auteurs, the “illustrated” Dante from Doré to Rauschenberg, and Dante in American pop culture today.

Evidence
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.

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.

Dostoevsky Presently: Poetics, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology
Literature 3227
cross-listed: res
Students analyze a range of texts by Dostoevsky, including his novels The Idiot, Demons, and The Brothers Karamazov; shorter prose works, including “Poor Folk,” “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” and “Bobok”; and journalistic pieces from A Writer’s Diary, which might be considered the first blog. Attention is also paid to the present state of research on Dostoevsky, from classic studies by Mikhail Bakhtin and Joseph Frank to the latest works by Russian, American, European, and Japanese scholars.

Palestinian Literature in Translation
Literature 3232
cross-listed: human rights, mes
A survey of Palestinian literature, from the early Arabic press to contemporary fiction. The class reads short stories, poetry, and novels by authors including Ghassan Kanafani, Emile Habiby, Samira Azzam, Anton Shammas, Mahmoud Darwish, Sahar Khalifeh, Fadwa Tuqan, and Elias Khoury.

Before Dear Abby: Writing Women in Early Literature
Literature 3243
cross-listed: gss, medieval studies
What is women’s writing? And, for that matter, what is men’s writing? Do these categories of gender and taste hold for today’s audiences? Did they ever? This course considers literary notions of gender and identity that alternatively reflect and distort our world, and explores how gender is defined, catered to, and productively complicated through readings that include some of the earliest texts written by women; early examples of the “advice” genre; and texts in which male authors ventriloquize women, and vice versa.

Major Currents in American Thought
Literature 3224
american studies
The focus of the course is on three strains in American thought and culture: Emersonianism (individualism, self-creation, pragmatism, languages of movement and becoming); the Protestant tradition and its con­cerns (original sin and the tragic sense, transcendence of justice, imperatives of ethical reform), with Jonathan Edwards as the point of departure; and the conceptualization of American pluralism. Texts by William James, Dewey, Rorty, Cavell, Addams, Faulkner, Niebuhr, King, Stanton, Du Bois, Baldwin, Friedan, Chodorow, and others.

Why Do They Hate Us? Representing the Middle East
Literature 325
cross-listed: experimental humanites, human rights, mes
This course takes its title from the American media’s favorite post–9/11 question with regard 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.

The Danger of Romance
Literature 3252
cross-listed: medieval studies
Dante Alighieri’s Francesca ends up in Hell because she has read the romance of Lancelot, Don Quixote tilts after windmills because he has been reading romances, and Emma Bovary veers into adultery after indulging in similar reading matter. The alternate world presented by romance—knights errant, princesses, enchanted forests—can seem more attractive than our mundane world and, as such, threatens to distract us from our responsibilities within it. Texts include classical romances, Arthurian romances, Renaissance epics, and modern novels that emerge out of the romance tradition.

Critical Orientalisms: Writing Aesthetics and Theory East and West
Literature 3253
cross-listed: asian studies, experimental humanities
From literary modernism to pragmatism to poststructuralism and personal computing, the ­interpretation and imagination of “Asia” and its traditions played a key role in the evolution of Western aesthetic movements across the 19th and 20th centuries. Likewise, meetings between Asian, American, and European writers, artists, and thinkers have served to mediate the experience and shape of modernity in the East. Readings include works by Okakura, Fenollosa, Waley, Pound, Heidegger, Suzuki, Snyder, Chao, Buck, and Barthes, among others.

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.

Innovative Novellas and Short Stories 
Literature 330
An in-depth study of the difference between the short story, built on figurative techniques closely allied to those employed in poetry, and the novella, which demands the economy and exactness of a short work while at the same time allowing a fuller concentration and development of character and plot. Readings from masters in these genres, including Voltaire, de Maupassant, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Aleichem, Mann, Babel, France, Camus, Kafka, Colette, and Borges.

Reading and Writing the Hudson: Writing the Essay of Place
Literature 3308
cross-listed: american studies, 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.

Translation Workshop
Literature 331
This workshop explores the art of literary translation by focusing on style, craft, tone, and the array of options available to the literary translator in using translation as a tool for interpreting textual orgins and the performative shape of the translation itself.

The Art of Misbehaving in Renaissance England
Literature 3315
New English Renaissance drama is filled with audacious overreachers, defiant women, impertinent clowns, and deceptive tricksters—not to mention rogues, spies, murderers, and thieves. This course explores what depictions of rule-breakers and outlaws on stage can tell us about the organization of political and cultural power in the period, and interrogates our own position with respect to codes governing behavior. Readings include works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Jonson, as well as modern works of social theory and primary documents such as etiquette guides and political manifestos.

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.

New Directions in Contemporary Fiction
Literature 333
Students closely examine novels and collections of short fiction from the last quarter century, with particular emphasis on works by pioneering practitioners of the form. Authors include Angela Carter, Robert Coover, Brian Evenson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jamaica Kincaid, Cormac McCarthy, Peter Straub, David Foster Wallace, and Jeanette Winterson. Several writers visit class to discuss their books and read from recent work.

Love without Sex (and Other Mysteries of the Italian Novel)
Literature 3366
cross-listed: italian studies
In a modern world in which images of sexuality proliferate, how did the “first” Italian novel, Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed, create a fascinating portrait of love devoid of erotic elements? What motivated Gabriele D’Annunzio to go in the opposite direction only a half-century later with his highly sensual writing? Who are the women writers that redefined (and are redefining) the predominantly “male” history of the Italian novel? The course explores these and other questions. Texts also include works by Lampedusa, Calvino, and Svevo.

In Absentia: The Death of the Narrator in Modern Fiction
Literature 3367
“And you, holding this book with one white hand, sunk in your cushy armchair . . .”—thus did the narrators of 19th-century novels once address, instruct, and occasionally scold their readers. Within a few decades, these infinitely wise speakers were banished from literary fiction by Flaubert, James, and their modernist successors. The resultant questions—Who is telling this story? Why should I listen, or believe?—is the focus of this course. Authors studied also include Conrad, Ford, and Joyce.

Shakespeare’s Comedies
Literature 352
This upper-level course takes up Shakespeare’s diverse comedies as avenues for exploring different critical and theoretical approaches. Students read all the comedies—The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado about Nothing, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, All’s Well That Ends Well, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and The Merchant of Venice—as well as exemplary works of literary criticism and theory.

Mark Twain
Literature 3521
cross-listed: american studies
In this course, students read Mark Twain’s major works, including, but not restricted to, 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.

The Empire Writes Back
Literature 3522
This course explores how works in the English literary tradition have inspired 20th-century writers outside of England, and how these writers adapted, revised, or ­deconstructed them. Topics include how the expatriate writer and the writer under colonialism developed a poetics of place that was at once imaginary and true to “home,” and how later works relate to earlier ones. Texts by Kamau Brathwaite, Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, Daniel Defoe, Gayatri Spivak, Chinua Achebe, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney.

American Realisms
Literature 355
cross-listed: american studies
This course focuses on texts produced between (roughly) 1865 and 1914, by writers seeking to convey the “realities” of American life in this turbulent period. Realism has long been defined by the works of James, Howells, Twain, Crane, Dreiser, Wharton, and Chopin. In addition to selections from these authors, the class considers texts by writers of color, of varying ethnicities, and by greater numbers of women, in order to better understand the different realities they were striving to document and influence.

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.

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.

Emily Dickinson
Literature 379
Although frequently depicted as working in relative isolation, Dickinson was in fact vitally connected to the world around her. This seminar is devoted to a close reading of her poetry in the context of the historical moment and literary world of which she was a part. By exploring how her work participates in the poetic practices and intellectual currents of her day, students sharpen their understanding of her unique, even radical, contribution to American poetry.

Senior Colloquium: Literature
Literature 405
Literature majors must 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 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.

Postfantasy, Fabulism, and the New Gothic
Literature 431
In recent decades the boundaries between literary novels and genre fiction have become increasingly ambiguous. Early Gothicists framed their tales within the metaphoric scapes of ruined abbeys and diabolic grottoes, with protagonists whose inverted psyches led them to test the edges of propriety and sanity. New Gothic masters, such as Carter, Gaddis, and McCarthy, have contemporized these tropes and narrative arcs, while a parallel literary phenomenon, New Wave Fabulism, has taken the fantasy/horror genre in a similar literary direction. Authors studied also include Crowley, Hand, Coover, Russell, and Straub.