This course explores a crucial aspect of Comparative Culture: the literature surrounding food, ranging from Homer to Julia Child. We will begin with a brief history of eating and drinking, mostly as they appear in literary texts from antiquity and early modernity. Topics will include Adam and Eve's apple, the Last Supper, and Proust's Madeleine. We will then proceed to food writing from modern times, focusing on taste, on the lure of particular foods, and on the social circumstances of dining. Particular emphasis on the reading and writing of culinary autobiography.
- The Junior Seminar will investigate the literal and figurative meanings of the phrase "the place of literature." How relevant is geography to literature? How do we distinguish between imagination, invention, and falsehood when considering a literary setting? How well, far, and fast do texts travel? How do contemporary texts convey the particulars of transient populations and non-native speakers? What does an individual text disclose about its origins and potential destinations? What does it mean to map a text?
- An introduction to medieval literature and the question of performative language in literature, linguistics, philosophy and theology. Works to be read include romance and lyric poetry from the French, German and English traditions, as well as selections from Scholastic philosophy, grammar and theology. We will also study some twentieth-century philosophical and linguistic accounts of speech acts. Topics to be discussed include lies, promises, oaths, baptisms, ritual speech and the structure of sacraments.
- We will study arthouse films that address global audiences while rooted in particular, local, vernacular sources of artistic creation and persuasion. We will contrast the formulaic (echo-chamber) rhetoric of Hollywood with the heuristic rhetoric of Italian Neorealism, the Danish Dogma '95 and French, Turkish, Iranian New Wave films. Our focus will be on the concept of physiognomic figuration viewed as the cinematic articulation of enthymemes (rhetorical arguments). This seminar invites a widely interdisciplinary approach.
- For historical reasons most books that come into English are translated from just a few languages, creating a misleading impression of the spread of literature itself. This course provides an opportunity to discover literary works from languages with small reading populations which rarely attract academic attention in the USA.
- This course is an introduction to contemporary Latin American literature & visual arts with a transatlantic perspective. Placing special emphasis on the changing relationships between aesthetics & politics, it analyzes different genres & artistic styles that emerge with new forms of imagining the relations between culture & politics, from the 1960s to the present.
- Since 1605, Don Quixote has been an icon of idealistic and misguided desire. This course explores quixotic desire and its representation (from the psychoanalytic to the cultural issues it raises) in Cervantes seminal text, Flaubert's daring update, 'Madame Bovary', Mann's 'Death in Venice', Kafka's 'Metamorphosis', Nabokov's 'Lolita', and Kathy Acker's post-feminist post-punk 'Don Quixote'. Films inspired by this topic (by Welles, Visconti, Chabrol and Kubrick) will also be considered.
- COM 362 examines the gendered experiences of childhood and adolescence under the Nazis in World War II as witnessed, remembered, and represented in texts and images through a variety of genres and different nationalities. We include historical studies, diaries, testimonies, memoirs, fiction (semi-autobiographical or otherwise), photos, and film (documentary and feature) of 1st and 2nd generations.
- Why do people collect objects? What desires motivate this obsession across cultures? How does a collection reflect and shape our relationship with objects? It is no accident that many writers are fascinated by the collector: Balzac, Eco, James, Pamuk and Proust all devoted significant creative energy to this figure. In this course, we will consider collecting as a serious mode of thinking. Analysis of key literary works will be combined with hands-on study of museum collections in Princeton and beyond.
- This course examines how Arab writers and filmmakers represent social and political issues such as the aftermath of colonization, labor migration, civil war, authoritarianism, and women's rights. It covers novels and film from Egypt, the Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Algeria, Syria, and Iraq, on the Syrian civil war, the Arab Spring, the Lebanese Civil War, the Palestinian struggle, Islamic fundamentalism, and Ba'athist Iraq. The course will also address the role of Arabic literature and film as social and political critique. All readings and films are in English translation.