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"? As an introduction to comparative literature, this course will ask the question: "What is literature?" Our texts will range from fables and myths, the Bible, Homer, and tragedies of Sophocles to fantastic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries (Balzac, Garcia Marquez) 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. No exams: grades will be based on written work and classroom participation. [Cost:2] [WL:1] (Siebers)

430. Comparative Studies in Fiction. Upperclass standing. (3). (Excl).

This course is an exploration of the treatment in literature of the phenomenon of decay. It is also an introduction to, and a comparison between, MEANING, BELONGING and the means of EMPOWERMENT in times of crisis. When the text obliterates a dispensation in an attempt to correct it, it does so in the interest of the self to whom the world is growing strange. How does literature contribute to the maintenance of meaning by creating worlds the structures of which empower the self, and how is the world of a fictional text an enforcement of a people's sense of belonging? We will seek to analyse alienation and marginalization in relation to decadence and to examine ontological issues raised by such a state of affairs. We will identify the structures of worlds, contrast these structures with that of other worlds, and examine people caught in them. There is no final exam in this course. Active participation, two papers and an in-class presentation will be the basis of student evaluation. Cost:2 WL:3 (Some)

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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