Comparative Literature

  • Texts and Images of the Holocaust

    In an effort to encompass the variety of responses to what is arguably the most traumatic event of modern Western experience, we explore the Holocaust as transmitted through documents, testimony, journals, memoirs, creative writing and cinema. In our study of works, reflecting diverse languages, cultures, genres, and points of view, we focus on issues of bearing witness, collective vs individual memory, and the nature of radical evil Throughout we are mindful of tensions between ethical and aesthetic imperatives, and the perils of representation itself, when faced with the unrepresentable.
  • Beyond Crisis Contemporary Greece in Context

    This course examines an emergent historical situation as it unfolds: the ongoing financial, social, and humanitarian "crisis" in Greece, including the "refugee crisis." It offers a comparative approach to current Greek cultural production, through literature and film of the past decade and writings drawn from history, anthropology, political science, economics, news sources, and political blogs.
  • The Gothic Tradition

    The purpose of this course is to analyze and understand the cultural meanings of the Gothic mode through a study of its characteristic elements, its historical, aesthetic, and political origins in eighteenth-century English and German culture and thought, its development across Western national traditions, and its persistence in contemporary culture, including film, electronic media, clothing, social behavior, and belief systems, as well as literature. Films, artifacts, web sites and electronic publications will supplement readings.
  • Lyric Language and Form I: Renaissance to Romantic

    Open to undergraduate and grad. students, this course investigates poetry and prose writings on poetry by major poets writing in 16th-19th cent. English, Spanish, and German, alongside critical texts on poetics. (Foreign language knowledge desired but not required.). Brief practica on the mechanics of poetics (meters, rhyme and stress patterns, and specific poetic forms) will be presented to assist us in our examination of texts. Figuration and representation, lyric syntax and experience, temporality, and materiality, are some of the critical subjects we will address. See prof.
  • Comparative Literature Graduate Pedagogy Seminar

    Teaching practicum required of departmental PhD students; open to those planning to teach in the spring semester, as well as to those concurrently teaching their first course at Princeton. A wide range of topics is discussed, based primarily upon the needs and experience of participants. These typically include: facilitating discussions, delivering lectures, grading papers, designing course syllabi, teaching with translations, using technology in the classroom, developing a statement of teaching philosophy, and preparing a teaching portfolio.
  • Introduction to Comparative Literature

    This seminar familiarizes students with some of the fundamental theoretical, philosophical, and interpretive works on the arts and techne of sense-making from which critical, literary, aesthetic, social and media theory continue to derive today. These include: Lessing's Laokoon; Hegel's Aesthetics; Saussure's Course in General Linguistics; Austin's How to Do Things with Words, and writings by Marx, Husserl, Derrida, Adorno, Freud, Jakobson, de Man, Spitzer, Auerbach.
  • 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.
  • Ocean Media: Islanding, Space, Modernity

    This seminar explores the oceanic imaginary of space and the spatial technologies of islanding in the modern world-including the emergence of mega-ports, artificial islands, and the creation of political and economic zones of exception and military bases, with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asia. Posing islanding in the verb form, the readings deconstruct "island" as a natural geographic setting and probe its role in mediating the relations between individual and totality, insularity and world, mainland and periphery, land and sea, etc.
  • Topics in Medieval Literature: Reading the Roman de la Rose

    Arguably the single most influential vernacular work of the European Middle Ages, the Roman de la Rose presents itself as both an "art of love" and a "mirror of lovers," a prism that reflects the forms of medieval knowledge in unexpected ways. This seminar focuses on the two-part literary work in its literary, philosophical and theological contexts, as well as on its reception, with attention to the "quarrel of the Rose" to which it gave rise in fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
  • The Novel and Romance

    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?

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