Spring 2018

  • Creative Writing (Literary Translation)

    Practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Criticism by professionals and talented peers encourages the student's growth as both creator and reader of literature. Students must be fluent in their chosen language.
  • Love and Violence through Words: Modern Chinese Literature in the Age of Revolution

    This course will introduce you to important works in modern Chinese literature from late 19th century to the present, which have served as tools of propaganda, national defense, cultural revolution, self-fashioning, gender-conscious communication, or complete depoliticization. Therefore, the multiple literary genres of novel, folklore tale, theater and poetry will be analyzed against related forms of film, opera, music-drama and painting.
  • Topics in Greek Literature: Plato and Aristotle on Poetry

    The antithetical views that Plato and Aristotle held about poetry profoundly shaped the classical tradition and remain of fundamental importance to modern approaches to literature and to art generally. This course will analyze each philosopher's position closely with the aim of contrasting them and drawing out their aesthetic and other implications.
  • Masterworks of European Literature

    This course will examine closely major works of European literature written since the Renaissance, different in language, genre and style (two novels, a play, an epic poem and a volume of verse) yet all inviting us to think about what a masterwork might be, and how the concept may change over time. The works will be read in English, but we shall pay attention to questions of translation, and to some of the historical pressures placed on the myths and realities of European culture.
  • Learning Shakespeare by Doing

    A course on works of dramatic literature whose comparative dimension is theatrical performance. We will consider four Shakespeare plays covering a range of theatrical genres; the emphasis will be on the ways in which Shakespearean meaning can be elucidated when the reader becomes a performer. Students will move from the reading/performing of individual speeches to the staging of scenes to the question of how an overall theatrical conception for a play might be a key to the fullest understanding of the text.
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Culture and Ethics

    This course investigates the question of ethics and culture in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is the relationship between culture and ethics? How does the conflict permeate everyday life, and how do Palestinian and Israeli artists, writers and filmmakers respond? How have they pushed aesthetic and ethical limits in representing extreme violence and loss? How does the cultural imagination transgress borders or challenge one-sided understandings of responsibility?
  • Who Owns This Sentence? Copyright Culture from the Romantic Era to the Age of the Internet

    Literature, art, computer code, social media, news, music and video games--copyright underpins almost everything we read or hear. But it is not an old idea. Why was it invented? For whose benefit? What is a "work" or an "author"? Is copyright still relevant, or is a new framework needed? From Balzac and Dickens to Facebook, from Bizet to Broadway musicals, this new course invites students to think about the philosophical and cultural issues raised by copyright in the past and present--and for the future.
  • Poetries of Resistance

    Poetry can be seen as a mode of reflection on history and, very often, as an act of resistance to it. This course will examine works written in Europe, Latin America and the US during the 20th and 21st centuries in different languages and historical contexts. We will explore their oppositional and also their liberatory effects: their ability to evoke their times, to disrupt our usual understandings while offering new political, artistic and ethical perspectives.
  • Class, Desire, and the Novel

    Literary plots involving social and erotic ambition, examined in novels from the seventeenth century to the present, as well as in films and other genres. Topics include: social climbing and descent; the marriage plot and queer alternatives to it; ambition and longing as narrative engines; the family and social order; criminals, outlaws, and rivals to the family; social class and selfhood; the relationship between gender, sexuality, and narrative structure.


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