Don Quixote is often called the first novel, for its parodic contrast of chivalric romance with a more "realistic" mode. How curious that most of Quixote's successors have been heroines, as such disqualified from tilting, whether at windmills or giants. After dipping into Cervantes and a few other precursors, we spend time with some of the many "Female Quixotes." What is at stake in their quests? What do they learn as readers, and what can their readers learn? What disciplines of reading and representation are involved in these narratives?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This seminar traces and examines the network of disparate stories that coalesce around bodies and health from the standpoint of narrative theory and the medical and environmental humanities. While the medical humanities show how authorship and authority over matters of illness, the body and the self are negotiated through a complex layering of narrative voices, ecocriticism reveals the enmeshment of the human body with the environment, value systems, and the distribution of knowledge.
- In this interdisciplinary class, students of race as well as gender, sexuality, disability, etc. read deeply and broadly in academic journals as a way of learning the debates in their fields and placing their scholarship in relationship to them. Students report each week on the trends in the last five years of any journal of their choice, writing up the articles' arguments and debates, while also revising a paper in relationship to those debates and preparing it for publication.
- Since the 18th century, intellectuals and poets have turned to Greece in a movement which may be seen as idealizing or decadent, nostalgic or radical. What defines a particular style as Greek or Hellenizing and what motivates its adoption? To what extent is Hellenism also a reflection on a culture's relationship to itself? How is Hellenism articulated in and through the different arts, and is an aesthetic Hellenism always also a political Hellenism?