Courses in Comparative Literature (Division 354)

422. Literature and the Other Arts. Junior or senior standing. (3). (HU). May be elected for a total of 9 credits.

This course is designed to offer students an insight into the complex and sometimes invisible links between aesthetics and ideology, by focusing on the literary and artistic production of a number of European countries in the period between the two world wars (1918-1939). We will explore the relation between ideology and art through a variety of aesthetic movements (Futurism, Constructivism, Dada and Surrealism, Expressionism, Bauhaus, etc.) and their artforms, which range from explicitly politicized genres (the literary manifesto, avant-garde and proletarian theatre, propaganda cinema, and poster-art) to more elusive forms of political commitment or detachment (the surrealist dream, hermetic poetry, mythic and primitive art). By providing a basic knowledge of theories of ideology, as well as methods of historical and sociological analysis, the course will invite the students to explore specific problems related to the topic: e.g., the use of art for propaganda or subversion, the improbable alliance between surrealism and communism, the relation between film production and the Nazi movement. Sources for these analyses will come in part from the historical matter of the course, and partly from modern and contemporary theories of ideology (Lukacs, Adorno, Benjamin, Althusser, Raymond Williams, Eagleton, Jameson). We will finally attempt to question the political conditions of artistic production at the time. How do art and politics influence and contaminate each other? To what extent is power an aesthetic phenomenon? What is the relation between eroticism, death and fascism? How can we assess the impact of political forces on our very way of interpreting artforms and texts? The course will be organized through lectures and research workshops (according to individual projects and linguistic abilities). Requirements include active participation in research, and discussions, and a final essay based on individual and collective research. No prerequisites. Students from all disciplines are welcome. (Clej)

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 in an overview of the state of current literary theory. Readings will include Terry Eagleton, LITERARY THEORY: AN INTRODUCTION, and a course pack of selected essays. Student presentations will provide an opportunity for applying theoretical insights to their own areas of interest. Thus, students will share a common body of theoretical materials, but approach these materials from individual standpoints. Students will then develop seminar papers in a tutorial situation with the instructor and regroup again during the last three weeks for class presentation and commentary. (Porter)

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

This course is intended for Comparative Literature concentrators. It 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.


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