Courses in Comparative Literature (Division 354)

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

Is literature a specific category of discourse that can be isolated and defined in formal (or other) terms? What happens when we read a work (e.g., the Bible) "as literature"? Can we "read" a movie? A football game? Someone's behavior? We will ask all of these questions and many others as we attempt to explore the discipline called comparative literature. Readings will include poetry from a variety of languages and cultures; Antonioni's film, BLOW-UP; short fiction of Cortazar, Borges, Barth, and Gilman; Coetzee's WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS, and Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS, and a variety of significant theoretical readings (structuralist, semiotic, Marxist, post-structuralist, feminist, etc.). Come prepared to have your views and opinions challenged, and to challenge the views and opinions of others. (McDougal)

436. Comparative Studies in Drama. Upperclass standing. (3). (Excl).

SECTION 001 THEATER OF THE ABSURD, EAST AND WEST. The course will examine the contemporary East European theater (Czech, Polish, Russian) in the context of the modern European theater. It will in particular compare the theater of the absurd in Western and Eastern Europe. While in the West the theater of the absurd was an expression of a philosophy, in Eastern Europe playwrights used it as a political vehicle. Because of its effectiveness, ambiguity, and ability to evade the censorship, the theater of the absurd had a spectacular development in the countries behind "the iron curtain." The course will discuss the "Slavic deviation" of the theater of the absurd not only in the context of the Western theater but also against the background of its own avant-garde theatrical tradition. Readings will include Brecht, Mayakovsky, Witkiewicz, Capek, Ionesco, Beckett, Havel, Rozewicz, and Mrozek. There will be two 5-8 page papers and a take-home exam. (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 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. (Lucente)

496. Honors Thesis. Comp. Lit. 495 and Honors concentration in Comp. Lit. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

In the Honors Thesis course the Honors student typically develops the seminar work done in Comp. Lit. 495 (Senior Seminar) into a longer, more thorough study under the auspices of a faculty thesis director. Students who need help in arranging for a thesis director should contact the Comparative Literature office.

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 a faculty member associated with 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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