Undergraduate

  • Radical Poetics, Radical Translation

    This course invites students to consider not just what poems mean but how they mean, and how that, how, complicates, challenges, obscures, enlivens, or collides with the task of translation. We will look at forms of poetry that challenge the limits of the translatable, as well as radical translation methods that expand our notion of what translation is. Examples include poems written in made-up languages; unstable texts; homophonic and visual translation; erasure poetics; and multilingual poems.
  • Modern Hebrew Literature: A Historical Introduction

    This course follows the development of modern Hebrew prose in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How was Hebrew refashioned from a liturgical to a modern literary language capable of narrating novels and conveying contemporary dialogue? Who were the revolutionary writers who accomplished this feat and what ideological struggles accompanied it?
  • Mediterranean Contingencies: Byzantium and Its Medieval Others

    Well before other medieval societies (both Christian and Muslim), Byzantium was flourishing in the 4th century. Greek-speaking (though bilingual with Latin until the 6th century), this self-proclaimed, New Rome, faced unprecedented challenges. It grew into an immense empire, an empire, paradoxically, whose cultural influence spread over the centuries in inverse proportion to its political strength.
  • Thomas Mann and His World

    This course focuses on Thomas Mann's great novels, The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus, and the world that produced them--both Mann's own turbulent times and the tradition he inherited. We will explore Mann's artistic sources (Goethe, Dante, Dürer, Beethoven) and theoretical influences (Nietzsche, Adorno, Lukács). Themes include time and narrative; Mann as a queer author; medicine; music; and Mann's languages. Self-exiled from Germany, Mann spent part of World War II in Princeton.
  • Romanticism and the Real: What is Representation?

    Historicization often proceeds by shorthand, assigning names to periods, movements, styles, even "content," and the points of view these are assumed to represent. No two such ascriptions are more frequently invoked than "romanticism" and "realism," whose conventional opposition defines to a large extent our own view of "modern" literary and aesthetic history across traditions. In this seminar we take a critical look at that opposition as it influences not only our view of literary and intellectual history in general but of literary representation itself.
  • Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation)

    Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. We will address the challenges of revising, with the goal of arriving at a 25-30 page sample of the author's work. Weekly readings will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations and also on some translation theory.
  • Tokyo as a Literary Topos

    In this course, we will examine the varying representations of Tokyo thematized in literary texts written since the alleged beginning of modern Japan. We will pay attention to the transforming metropolis, its repeated destruction and reconstruction, its changing roles in the lives of the people living within and without Tokyo. We will see how Tokyo at once becomes a site of nostalgia and suffering, desire and struggle. Our inquiries will also extend themselves to differing social status and gender roles in the city.
  • Cultural Systems: Proust, Freud, Borges

    An overview of three of the most influential writers in the twentieth century, focusing on selected masterpieces. All three were fascinated by similar topics: dreams and memory; sexuality; Judaism. All three lived during traumatic historical periods. Proust during WWI; Freud during WWII; and Borges during Peronismo. Seminar will explore the relationship between literature modernism, politics, and religion.
  • Communication and the Arts: The Battle of the Books: Culture Wars in Early Modern Europe

    This course will focus on a major intellectual controversy of the 17th and 18th centuries known as the <i>Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns</i>. Through close readings of seminal texts we will address issues pertaining to the historical significance of the <i>Quarrel</i>, its sociopolitical implications, and the role it played in the cultural and scientific evolution of early modern Europe.
  • Holocaust Testimony

    This course focuses on major issues raised by but also extending beyond Holocaust survivor testimony, including the communication of trauma, genres of witnessing, the ethical implications of artistic representation, conflicts between history and memory, the fate of individuality in collective upheaval, the condition of survival itself, and the crucial role played by reception in enabling and transmitting survivors' speech.

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