Spring 2016

  • Conceptions of the Sensory

    In-depth discussion and analysis of conceptions of the sensory in writings by philosophers, poets, art critics and theorists, and artists, from the early modern to contemporary periods. We will investigate the ways in which the sensory is understood as the necessary basis for conceptual thinking of diverse kinds, including systematic and dialectical philosophy (Kant and Hegel), sign theory (Saussure), imaginative and figural writing, and theory and practice of the plastic arts (Rilke, Mallarmé, Adorno, Greenberg, Serra, Stella, Scully, Buchloh, Warhol, among others).

  • Lyric Form and Language II: The Modern Period

    This course is the continuation of a 2-semester sequence for undergraduates and graduate students, but may be taken independently of the fall semester course (COM 421). We will focus on reading major poets of the modern period in English, French, German and Spanish with additional readings in the theoretical reflections on modernity, poetry, and the arts written by several of the poets we read. These include: Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Rilke, Celan, Garcia Lorca, Pax, Borges, Stevens, Bishop and Ashbery, among others. Secondary readings will include essays by major theorists and critics.

  • Translation Theory: Teaching in Translation

    Disciplines across the university rely on texts in translation for research and teaching alike. Yet few of us, from undergraduates to professors, have been trained to discuss translated materials as translations. If each translation embodies an interpretation of an original, how does this affect our own reliance on and interpretation of these texts? This course fosters a responsible pedagogy of translated texts, first and foremost by offering a solid foundation in translation theory and translation studies.

  • Topics in Critical Theory: Comparative Literature Writing and Dissertation Colloquium

    The Writing and Dissertation Colloquium is a biweekly forum for graduate students in Comparative Literature to share works in progress with other graduate students. The seminar welcomes drafts of your prospectus, article, dissertation chapter, conference paper, exam statement and grant or fellowship proposal. Work is pre-circulated. The 90 minute sessions, done in conjunction with a rotating COM faculty member, are designed to offer written and oral feedback.

  • The Renaissance: England Reads Venice

    Venice fascinates the English early moderns, for its politics, its religion, its art. Dramatists locate plays there, travellers return with fantastic stories, Sir Philip Sidney gets his portrait painted by Veronese. Our questions have to do with ways in which creative figures from one linguistic or generic sphere read the evidences from another sphere. We consider works by Shakespeare and Jonson.

  • Constraint in Modern European Fiction & Poetry

    A study of 20th century writing in European languages relying to some degree on the principle of constraint or 'strict form'. Queneau, Calvino, Mathews, Perec, Roubaud and other members of Oulipo will constitute the central focus, but depending on students' linguistic competences works by e.g., Harig, Kharms, Nabokov, Cortazar may be included. Attention is focussed on underlying principles as well as on practice and product.

  • The Novel and Romance

    "The novel" has been defined since its establishment as a literary genre in tension with both "romance" and "history." This year's seminar interrogates this definitive tension among narrative genres through readings in two forms of historical romance that were central to the development of the modern novel, even though they are often considered peripheral: chivalric and gothic. Critical readings accompany and guide our readings in narrative.

  • Studies in Forms of Narrative: Fiction in Latin America

    The course explores a range of forms and uses of fiction in Latin America since the end of the 19th century, with special attention to changing contexts of politics and history. Texts are available in English, and also read in Portuguese or Spanish as knowledge or enthusiasm allows.

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