Undergraduate Courses

LITR 017 All the World's a Stage: A Brief History of Western Drama and Theater (1400 to Present)

Close reading of exemplary dramas in the Western tradition from the late medieval period to the present, with some attention to critical texts about the history of Western drama. Changing conceptions of what a play is and does; drama’s developing theatrical context; underlying world views.

Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.

1 Yale College course credit(s)
Professor: Jan Hagens
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00p.m. - 2:15p.m.

LITR 020: French Literature in Global Context

Introduction to contemporary French fiction in a global perspective. Close readings of prizewinning novels by writers of the former French Empire—in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean—alongside key manifestos and theoretical essays that define or defy the notion of world literature.

 

Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.

Professor: Jill Jarvis
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:35a.m. - 125:50p.m.

LITR 024 Game of Thrones and the Theory of Sovereignty

Introduction to the classical and modern theory of sovereignty in the context of G.R.R. Martin’s popular Game of Thrones series (primarily the books, which are formally more complex and narratively more sophisticated than the television series). Although The Game of Thrones is obviously not a work of German literature, it addresses theoretical and literary-historical discourses that are prominently represented in the German context. Emphasis on strategies of literary and theoretical analysis; literature as a testing ground for theoretical models; theory as an analytic framework for evaluating literary and cultural depictions. Questioning the basis of the contemporary relevance and popularity of this material in light of questions of tragedy, individual agency, myth (vs. history), realism (vs. fantasy), environmental catastrophe and geopolitics.

Enrollment limited to first-year students.

Professor: Kirk Wetters
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 9:00a.m. - 10:15a.m.

LITR 025 African Literature in the World

This seminar introduces students to a subset of African literature that has entered the canon of world literature. Bookended by the writings of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Adichie, we explore the marks of regional specificity in these works and how they transcend local geographical markers to become worldly artifacts. Our considerations include why certain texts cross the boundaries of nation and region while others remain confined within territorial bounds. We also examine advantages of the global circulation of African literary works and the pitfalls of a global readership. The class moves from an introductory unit that orients students to African and world literature to focus on close reading of primary texts informed by historical and theoretical nuances. From analyzing works responding to the colonial condition and the articulation of anticolonial sensibilities, to those narrating the African nation at independence and the postcolonial disillusionment that followed, the seminar attends to the formal and thematic implications of globalization for African literary writing. Authors include Chinua Achebe, Mariama Ba, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mbolo Mbue, NoViolet Bulawayo, Taiye Selasie, and Chimamanda Adichie.

Professor: Cajetan Iheka
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 1:00p.m. - 2:15p.m.

LITR 140 How to Compare

This course is an exploration of literary comparison from methodological as well as historical perspectives. We compare texts within genres (stories and stories), across genres (poems and animations), across periods (classical and modern), and between cultures and languages. We consider questions such as whether all comparisons must assume a common ground, and whether there is always an implicit politics to any comparison. Topics range from theories of translation and ekphrasis, to exoticism and untranslatability. Readings include texts by Auerbach, Ibn Rushd, Tsvetaeva, Flann O’Brien, Lukács, and Nona Fernández. We will also examine operas (Brecht and Fuentes-Berain), films (Parajanov and Barta), and one computer game.

Professor: Samuel Hodgkin
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday 9:25a.m. - 11:15a.m.

LITR 140: How to Compare

Exploration of literary comparison. Study of different literary and aesthetic objects, as well as different means and ends that such comparisons can have. Topics range from theories of translation and ekphrasis to proper use of archives. Readings include works by Borges, Andre Breton, Chen Kaige, Hafiz, Dickinson, Ovid, Durrenmatt, Murasaki Shikubu, Mambety, and Segalen; the paintings of Mantegna, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio; as well as the Pancatantra, Arabian Nights, and the oral epics of the Haida. Junior seminar; preference given to juniors and majors.

Professor: Robyn Creswell, Professor: Marta Figlerowicz
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00p.m.-2:15p.m.

An exploration of literary comparison from methodological as well as historical perspectives. We compare texts within genres (stories and stories), across genres (poems and paintings), across periods (classical and modern), and between cultures and languages. We consider questions such as whether all comparisons must assume a common ground, and whether there is always an implicit politics to any comparison. Topics range from theories of translation and ekphrasis, to exoticism and untranslatibility. Readings include texts by Auerbach, Borges, Andre Breton, Hafiz, Victor Segalen and Edward Said; and films by Chen Kaige and Pasolini.

Professor: Robyn Creswell, Professor: Jing Tsu
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Wednesday, 2:30pm-4:20pm

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, Professor: Marta Figlerowicz
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 11:35am-12:50pm Screening Monday 6:30pm-9:30pm

LITR 151: The Wisdom of Ancient Egypt

Overview of the different text genres attested in ancient Egypt. Critical analysis of primary sources and their important role in the reconstruction of the history and cultural aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization.

Prerequisite: general introductory class on the Egyptian history and culture, or permission of the instructor.

Professor: Christina Geisen
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30pm-5:20pm

LITR 152: Sanskrit Classics in Translation

The chief genres of Sanskrit secular literature set against the background of the cultural history of ancient India. Various literary styles compared with those of other world literary traditions.

Professor: David Brick
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Thursday, 1:30-3:20

LITR 154 The Bible as a Literature

Study of the Bible as a literature—a collection of works exhibiting a variety of attitudes toward the conflicting claims of tradition and originality, historicity and literariness.

Professor: Leslie Brisman
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.m.

LITR 154: The Bible as Literature

Study of the Bible as a literature—a collection of works exhibiting a variety of attitudes toward the conflicting claims of tradition and originality, historicity and literariness.

Pre-1800 with completion of supplementary assignments in the language of the King James Bible. If there is sufficient interest, a second section will be offered.

Professor: Leslie Brisman
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 2:30p.m.-3:45p.m.

LITR 165: The Invention of the Classic

The discourse of classicism from antiquity to modern times. Contemporary debates over the value of the classics in education; the emergence of classics as a discipline; changing definitions of the classic across time; notions commonly associated with the classics such as timelessness, beauty, and canon. Readings from Cicero, Horace, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Winckelmann, Eliot, Gadamer, Foucault, Kermode, Calvino, and Nussbaum.

Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Wednesday, 1:30pm-3:20pm

LITR 169 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 in times of war and of 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.

Professor: Anastasia Eccles
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:30p.m. - 3:45p.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 in times of war and of 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 2018
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 in times of war and of 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.

Professor: Katja Lindskog
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 2:30p.m.-3:45p.m.

LITR 169: 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 in times of war and of 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 2019
Day/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 11:35am-12:50pm

LITR 172: Man and Nature in Chinese Literature

An exploration of man and nature in traditional Chinese literature, with special attention to aesthetic and cultural meanings. Topics include the concept of nature and literature; neo-Taoist self-cultivation; poetry and Zen (Chan) Buddhism; travel in literature; loss, lament, and self-reflection in song lyrics; nature and the supernatural in classical tales; love and allusions to nature; religious pilgrimage and allegory.

All readings in translation; no knowledge of Chinese required. Some Chinese texts provided for students who read Chinese. Formerly CHNS 200

Professor: Kang-I Chang
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2018
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00p.m.-2:15p.m.

LITR 175: Japan's Classics in Text and Image

An introduction to the Japanese classics (poetry, narrative fiction, drama) in their manifestations in multiple media, especially in the visual and material realm. Special reference to and engagement with a simultaneous Yale University Art Gallery installation of rare books, paintings, and other works of art from Japan.  No knowledge of Japanese required. Formerly JAPN 200.

Professor: Edward Kamens, Professor: Mimi Yiengpruksawan
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2019
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:35am-12:50pm

LITR 176 Medieval Women Writers and Readers

This course explores writings by and for women in medieval Britain, with attention to questions of authorship, authority, and audience. Readings include the Lais of Marie de France, Ancrene Wisse, The Life of Christina of Markyate, the Showings of Julian of Norwich, The Book of Margery Kempe, the Digby Mary Magdalene play, and the Paston letters.

Professor: Jessica Brantley
Course Type: Undergraduate
Term: Spring 2020
Day/Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 9:00a.m. - 10:15a.m.