Courses in Comparative Literature (Division 354)

240. Introduction to Comparative Literature. (3). (HU).

What sort of "poetry" is the verse on greeting cards? Are people who read the Bible "as literature" really reading the Bible? What can be learned about literature from jokes and advertising jingles? What does oral storytelling have to do with literary narrative? What does literary narrative have to do with film? the opera? ballet? What exactly is "fiction" and what sort of "truth" (or "truths") can it convey? Why do we read literature from remote cultures (which may not themselves recognize the concept of "literature")? As an introduction to comparative literature, this course asks the question: "What is literature?" Is it a specific category of discourse that can be isolated and defined in formal (or other) terms? Or is it an institution that needs to be accounted for in purely social terms? Is it perhaps both? Or neither? Many more questions will be asked and problems raised than answers given, but we will look at some influential theories of "literarity", examine the major genres, and question literary texts that themselves have something to say about their own nature and communicative situation.

336. Drama. Sophomore standing. (3). (HU).

The course will introduce students to the concept of genre and its evolution: from Classical and Renaissance tragedy (Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Racine) through 19th Century romantic and realistic plays (Schiller and Chekhov) to the 20th Century avant-garde theater (Brecht, Witkiewicz, and Pirandello), and then to the more contemporary "theater of the absurd" (Beckett and Mrozek). It will trace the development of the genre which could be described as a movement from tragedy to farce. The plays will also be compared on the basis of certain themes and philosophical problems: revenge, incest, the tragic hero, and man's responsibility for his acts (Sophocles, Shakespeare, Sartre), tradition and social change and revolution (Chekhov, Brecht, Witkiewicz). (Carpenter)

495. Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature. Senior standing and concentration in Comp. Lit. (3). (Excl).

This seminar is designed as the culmination of the student's undergraduate work in Comparative Literature. As such, it provides an opportunity for the student to synthesize course work and develop a seminar paper, or a substantial part of an Honors thesis. The first part of the course will consist of an overview of the state of current literary theory. Readings will include Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction, U. Weisstein, Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, and a course pack of selected essays. Student presentations will relate the issues raised by Eagleton, Weisstein, and others to their own areas of interest. Thus, students will share a common body of theoretical materials, but approach these materials from very different standpoints. Students will then develop seminar papers in a tutorial situation with the instruction and regroup again during the last three weeks for class presentation and commentary.

498. Directed Reading. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

This course offers a student the opportunity to work closely with an Associate Faculty member of Comparative Literature on a comparative topic chosen by the student in consultation with the professor. Together they will develop a reading list; establish goals, meeting times, and credit hours (within the range); and plan papers and projects which the student will execute with the tutorial assistance of the instructor. The student will be required to submit a written proposal of his or her course to the Program office. For further information, contact the Program in Comparative Literature, 411 Mason Hall.


lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.