Courses in Comparative Literature (DIVISION 354)

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

What is a story? Is literature a specific kind of discourse that can be isolated and defined in formal (or other) terms? What happens when we read a work (e.g., the Bible, a myth, a newspaper) "as literature"? What happens if we read works of psychology, anthropology, or philosophy "as literature"? Or if we read literature "as psychology, anthropology, or philosophy"? Can we "read" a movie? A football game? Someone's behavior? As an introduction to comparative literature, this course will ask the question: "What is literature?" Our texts will range from fables and myths (Medusa, Lady Godiva, Narcissus), the Bible, Homer, and tragedies of Sophocles to fantastic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries (Balzac, Garcia Marquez, Henry James) and theoretical writings by literary critics, philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, and political scientists. We will probably write a collective poem or two in class, or perhaps try our hand at inventing a "sacred text." Classwork will consist of two discussion hours and one lecture hour per week. There will be regular weekly readings and three short writing assignments over the term (one of which will be "creative" and the others comparative). No exams: grades will be based on written work and classroom participation. [Cost:2] [WL:1] (Siebers)

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. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Porter)

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. [Cost:1] [WL:5, Independent study; permission of instructor required; Department office can issue override.]

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. [Cost:1] [WL:5, Independent Study; permission of instructor required. Go to Comparative Literature Office.]


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