Undergraduate Courses

LITR 143: World Cinema

Development of ways to engage films from around the globe productively. Close analysis of a dozen complex films, with historical contextualization of their production and cultural functions. Attention to the development of critical skills. Includes weekly screenings, each followed immediately by discussion.

Professor: Dudley Andrew
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday 6:30p.m.-9:30p.m.; Monday & Wednesday 11:35a.m.-12:25p.m.

LITR 169.01: Epic in the European Literary Tradition

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities: exile and homecoming; the heroic times of war and peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer’s Odyssey, Vergil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Inferno, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and Joyce’s Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 1:00p.m.-2:15p.m.

LITR 169.02: Epic in the European Literary Tradition

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities: exile and homecoming; the heroic times of war and peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer’s Odyssey, Vergil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Inferno, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and Joyce’s Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 2:30p.m.-3:45p.m.

LITR 169.03: Epic in the European Literary Tradition

The epic tradition traced from its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome to the modern novel. The creation of cultural values and identities: exile and homecoming; the heroic times of war and peace; the role of the individual within society; memory and history; politics of gender, race, and religion. Works include Homer’s Odyssey, Vergil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Inferno, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and Joyce’s Ulysses. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m.

LITR 183: Dante in Translation

A critical reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy and selections from the minor works, with an attempt to place Dante’s work in the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages by relating literature to philosophical, theological, and political concerns.

One discussion section conducted in Italian.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 1:30p.m. - 2:20p.m.

LITR 191: Louis XIV and the Culture of Absolutism

An exploration of the major literary works of seventeenth-century France, with special emphasis on the relationship between absolutism and cultural life. Artistic patronage and the institutionalization of the arts, support for and subversion of royal authority, and the characteristics of classical style.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 11:35p.m. - 12:25p.m.

LITR 196: Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain

Introduction to the Golden Age of Hebrew poetry in Muslim Andalusia from the tenth century through the twelfth. Major figures of the period and the cultural and philosophical questions they confronted. The Judeo-Arabic social context in which the poetry emerged; critical issues pertaining to the study and transmission of this literature. Readings from the works of several poets.

Readings in translation. Additional readings in Hebrew available.

Professor: Peter Cole
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Wednesday 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

LITR 197: The Tale of Genji

A reading of the central work of prose fiction in the Japanese classical tradition in its entirety (in English translation) along with some examples of predecessors, parodies, and adaptations (the latter include Noh plays and twentieth-century short stories). Topics of discussion include narrative form, poetics, gendered authorship and readership, and the processes and premises that have given The Tale of Genji its place in “world literature.” Attention will also be given to the text’s special relationship to visual culture.

No knowledge of Japanese required. A previous college-level course in the study of literary texts is recommended but not required.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday 9:00a.m.-10:15a.m.

LITR 198: Medieval German Lyric

Introduction to courtly poetry of the German High Middle Ages, from twelfth through thirteenth centuries. Focus on the woman’s voice as a performance device in the lyric of major artists. The language and formal conventions of lyric subgenres; development of the woman’s role in the lyric of other European cultures.

Readings and discussion in English; texts available in the original Middle High German.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Thursday 3:30p.m.-5:20p.m.

LITR 215: The Age of Goethe

Introduction to Germany’s “classical” period, from the 1790s to the 1830s, with attention to literature, philosophy, art, and culture. The close connection between literature and philosophy of the period; the theoretical foundations of European Romanticism and of later backlashes against it. Some attention to twentieth-century theory.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Friday, 1:00p.m.-2:15p.m.

LITR 229: Around Kafka

Franz Kafka’s writings viewed as a site for the radical questioning  and dislocation of Western systems, institutions, and mores of the early twentieth century. Attention to the shorter fiction, the novels, the letters, and their strategic interrelations; examinations of the fields of knowledge, ideological presumptions, and aesthetic and cultural experiments that Kafka touched, and to some degree deranged, with his writing.

Professor: Henry Sussman
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

LITR 245: Novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

Close reading of major novels by two of Russia’s greatest authors. Focus on the interrelations of theme, form, and literary-cultural context. Readings and discussion in English.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 3:30p.m. - 4:20p.m.

LITR 250: Postcolonial Theory and Literature

A survey of the principal modes of thought that have animated decolonization and life after colonialism, as seen in both theoretical and literary texts. Concentration on the British and French imperial and postcolonial contexts. Readings in negritude, orientalism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and novels. 

Lectures in English; readings available in both French and in English translation.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Tuesday, 1:30p.m. - 3:20p.m.

LITR 252: Machado de Assis

The place of Machado de Assis in world literature explored through close reading of his nine novels and selected stories in translation. Machado’s hybrid literary world, skeptical critique of empire in Brazil, and narrative constructions.

Readings and discussion in English; readings of texts in Portuguese for Portuguese majors.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30p.m.–3:20p.m.

LITR 292: Modern Brazilian Literature

Study of major writers, movements, and works in Brazilian literature, including drama, poetry, essay, manifesto, memoir, and fiction. Introduction to canonical writers, works, and movements, including naturalism, realism, modernism, social realism, innovative writing, and postmodern trends. General introduction to key concepts in Brazilian civilization.

Conducted in English.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00p.m.-2:15p.m.

LITR 300: Introduction to Theory of Literature

An examination of concepts and assumptions in contemporary views of literature. Theories of meaning, interpretation, and representation. Critical analysis of formalist, psychoanalytic, structuralist, poststructuralist, Marxist, and feminist approaches to theory and to literature.

Professor: Martin Hägglund
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 3:30p.m.-4:20p.m.

LITR 302: Trains in French Literature, Film, and History

The aesthetics of trains in French and Francophone literature and culture. Survey of major literary movements in France from the nineteenth century to the present; trains and subways in French film, visual arts, and comics; the role of trains in French history, including industrialization, deportation, and colonization; theory on cities and public transportation.

May not be taken after FREN 306.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 1:00p.m.-2:15p.m.

LITR 307: Walter Benjamin and the Modernization of Nineteenth-Century Paris

The radical modernization of Paris under the Second Empire (1851–70) as seen through the eyes of Walter Benjamin. Focus on Benjamin’s Arcades Project, a compendium that charted developments such as Parisian mass transit and streamlined traffic, the construction of apartment houses, and the dissemination of mass media. Readings from other literary texts on the same events include works by Balzac, Zola, and Aragon.

Professor: Henry Sussman
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday, 3:30p.m.-5:20p.m.

LITR 325: Texts that Teach in Italian Literature

Ways in which texts can serve as educational tools. Works span the classical period to the modern age, with some attention to visual media. Narratives that indirectly teach certain skills by modeling behaviors through plot devices; characters in literature who are influenced by what they read; the selection and use of specific literature in Italian schools for promoting students’ moral, social, and intellectual development.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 4:00p.m.-5:15p.m.

LITR 328: Folktales and Fairy Tales

History of the folktale from the late seventeenth through the late twentieth centuries. Basic concepts, terminology, and interpretations of folktales, with some attention to twentieth-century theoretical approaches. Performance and audience, storytellers, and gender-related distinctions. Interconnections between oral and written traditions in narratives from western Europe and Greece.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2016
Day/Time: Monday, 1:30p.m.-3:20p.m.

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