How does the history of literary criticism have an impact on the practice of criticism today? What are the enduring central questions that critics bring to their work and, indeed, what is the essence of that work? Our seminar immerses us in these issues as we survey the critic's task from Aristotle to the New Critics. The course is designed for graduate students who would like to think deeply about their practice as critics and to explore the history of criticism as a resource for new writing.
- With Augustine's Confessions as our starting point, we will consider confessions in a variety of contexts: religious, rhetorical, formal/aesthetic (lyric and narrative), psychoanalytical, racial, and judicial. The spotlight will be on Romantic-era writers who take the confession beyond its institutional functions, trusting it to convey both the quality of consciousness and narratives of selfhood. At the same time, these writers severely test the authenticity and adequacy of confession. We will then turn to the legacy of Romantic ambivalence toward confession in Freud, Foucault, J.W.
- This course explores representations of the World and History in major bandes dessinées (or graphic novels) published in French from the 1930s to the present, and produced by authors of various backgrounds (French, Belgian, Italian, Jewish, Iranian). Informed by theoretical readings, discussions will address key aesthetical, political, and ethical issues, including Exoticism, Orientalism, (Post)colonialism, national and individual identity, as well as the theory of reception, to critically assess the fluctuations of these visions between fantasy and testimony.
- In literature and art, dance and architecture the labyrinth delineates a path which has been interpreted in various ways, as a figuration of the polarity of chaos and order, for example, or as a trajectory of initiation symbolizing the experience of separation, disorientation and rebirth. On the basis of selected pictorial material as well as selected readings of the myths of Theseus and Dedalus, the seminar will focus on the relation between the structure of the maze and narrative structures in 20th century German literature.
- An introduction to the literature, art, religion and philosophy of China, Japan and Korea from antiquity to ca. 1400. Readings focus on primary texts in translation and are complemented by museum visits and supplementary materials on the course website. The course aims to allow students to explore the unique aspects of East Asian civilizations and the connections between them through an interactive web-based platform, in which assignments are integrated with the texts and media on the website. No prior knowledge of East Asia or experience working with digital media is required.
- This course will explore the ways in which national identity was imagined and implemented within Italian literature, culture, and cinema before, during, and after the period of Italian unification in the mid-XIX century. Examples are drawn from a wide range of literary, artistic and cultural media.
- A study of the thought of the great German pessimist, Arthur Schopenhauer.
- A close reading of Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil", with emphasis on his criticism of Philosophy, his perspectivism, his attack on mortality, and his aestheticism. Other texts of his are also consulted.
- This seminar will examine 20th-century Eastern European history through literary works from a number of countries in the region, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to present-day Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belarus, and the Balkans. Readings will generally consist of one novel per week, but we will also look at a number of other genres, including the short story, poetry, drama, the journal, and reportage.
- Russia in Color investigates the application, evolution, and perception of color in art in (Soviet) Russia and emigration. This Princeton University Art Museum-based course explores the rich holdings of the museum, with a particular focus on Russian and European objects, as selections of artworks are paired with theoretical and cultural readings (media theory, philosophy, literature, science). The course includes a basic introduction to color terminology, guest lectures on the technologies and science of color printing, and a hands-on practicum in color mixing/pigmentation.