COMPLIT 240 - Introduction to Comparative Literature
Section: 001 What makes life worth living? : Analysis, Detection and Desire
Term: FA 2010
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature
Course Note:
What is comparative literature? How and what do comparatists compare? We address these questions and indicate how comparative literature differs in scope and methodology from the study of a national literature. Readings come from Western and non-Western societies and are considered within a variety of contexts.
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Other:
Theme
Other Course Info:
F.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

At the beginning, COMPLIT 240 is an introduction to the classic detective stories of Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie. But things get weird (that is, fun) quite fast, and soon we’ll be thinking about neurosis, ghosts, and Chinese history, and reading drama, novels, history, and psychology. The stories we will read in this class are woven of mysteries and enigmas. They want very much to answer questions of life and death (what went wrong? who done it? why?), but often pose more questions that they answer.

To the LSA Theme Semester’s question, What makes life worth living? The course answers with yet more questions:

  • How do you make sense of what is in itself and by itself without sense — that is, the world around you, your life, your “self”, the words you read?
  • What if that sense you that you make is arbitrary, or doomed to be wrong?
  • What desires are directing your sense-making?
  • What are you making from and with your desire to make sense?

Readings:

  • Paul Auster, City of Glass
  • Patrick Chamoiseau, Solibo Magnificent
  • Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Sigmund Freud, Dora
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King
  • Jonathan Spence, The Question of Hu

The texts we will read in this class are woven of mysteries and enigmas. They want very much to answer questions of life and death (what went wrong? who done it? why?), but often pose more questions that they answer. Some of our questions, then: What makes a detective? What does she or he want? What does it mean to solve a problem? How do we know when it’s completely solved? We will explore these questions, working under the hypothesis that asking questions is as important as answering them.

To the LSA Theme Semester’s question, What makes life worth living? The course responds: paying attention. Pay attention and you’ll make meaning.

Readings will be drawn across genres, time, and cultures, from ancient Greece to the present in New York and Martinique.

COMPLIT 240 - Introduction to Comparative Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
13073
Open
16
 
-
M 10:00AM - 11:00AM
002 (DIS)
P
13075
Open
6
3LSA Hnrs
-
WF 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Note: Discussion sections will meet starting week of 9/10.
003 (DIS)
P
13077
Open
3
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: Discussion sections will meet starting week of 9/10.
004 (DIS)
P
13079
Open
7
 
-
TuTh 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Discussion sections will meet starting week of 9/10.
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 9780940650534
City of glass, Author: Auster Paul, Publisher: [s.n.] 1985
Required
ISBN: 9780679751762
Solibo magnificent, Author: Chamoiseau, Patrick., Publisher: Vintage Books 1999
Required
ISBN: 9780553350012
The murder of Roger Ackroyd, Author: Christie, Agatha, 1890-1976., Publisher: Bantam Books 1983
Required
ISBN: 1417707275
City Of Glass The Graphic Novel., Publisher: Bt Bound 2004
Optional
ISBN: 9780195054934
Oedipus the king, Author: Sophocles ; translated by Stephen Berg and Diskin Clay., Publisher: Oxford University Press 1988
Required
ISBN: 9780394571904
The question of Hu, Author: Spence, Jonathan D., Publisher: Knopf 1988
Required
ISBN: 9780141439907
The turn of the screw ; and, the aspern papers, Author: Henry James., Publisher: Penguin [New ed.] 2003
Required
ISBN: 9780020509875
Dora: an analysis of a case of hysteria, Author: Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939., Publisher: Collier Books 1963
Required
ISBN: 9780140437713
The adventures and memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Author: Arthur Conan Doyle ; introduction by Ian Pears ; notes by Ed Glinert., Publisher: Penguin 2001
Required
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