Fall '99 Course Guide

Courses in Comparative Literature (Division 354)

Fall Term, 1999 (September 8 December 22, 1999)

Take me to the Fall Term '99 Time Schedule for Comparative Literature.


Comp. Lit. 240. Introduction to Comparative Literature.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Vassilis Lambropoulos

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

"Greek and geek mythology bump and run." That's how Time magazine described The Matrix. Its makers, the Wachowski brothers, told The New York Times that, in preparation for the film, they read and reread their favorite book, The Odyssey. What did they get out of it?

This course offers an introduction as well as an adventure in comparative literature by focusing on the ultimate cyberride, the travels of Odysseus. There have been few figures in myth, literature, and history more puzzling, more controversial than this "man of twists and turns." Presented by some as the ultimate search for home and meaning, and by others as a ruthless manipulation of people and circumstances, the journeys of Odysseus have fascinated great authors, painters, musicians, intellectuals, and film makers. The course will follow these adventures in writers such as Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Joyce, Cavafy, Walcott, and many others. It will sample poems, novels, short stories, plays, and essays. It will also visit several historical periods and far away places, real and imaginary. Readings will be supplemented by excerpts from a great variety of films and documentaries.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

Comp. Lit. 410. Major Authors.

Section 001 Freud on Dreams, Sexuality, and Being Jewish.

Instructor(s): Masuzawa

Prerequisites & Distribution: Junior standing. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Freud commenced his career as the founding father of psychoanalysis when he published a lengthy book on dreams. According to psychoanalytic theory, what is a dream, what does it mean, and how can one interpret it? (It may not be what you think.) Freud is also famous for supposedly advocating pan-sexualism, or, roughly, the idea that, in the last analysis, everything human boils down to sex. What is sexuality according to Freud? (This, too, may not be what you think.)

This seminar will introduce you to some of the major works by Freud, and it may lead you to appreciate him as an innovating theorist of interpretation, a skillful reader/interpreter of anything ranging from hysteric symptoms to the so-called great works of literature (including the Bible), as well as a masterful rhetorical writer in his own right. In the course of reading, we hope to come to a better understanding of certain widely circulated yet densely technical psychoanalytic concepts for example, "the unconscious," "repression," "perversion," "Oedipus complex," "penis envy," and "fetishism."

Freud also wrote substantially on the subject of the Hebrew tradition and Jewish identity, and these writings were an integral part of his psychoanalytic theorizing. In addition, in view of the fact that many of his own "disciples" were German-speaking Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, just like himself, he sometimes embraced, and sometimes struggled against, the notion that psychoanalysis was "a Jewish science." How should we assess this notion?

With these issues and some others in mind, we will examine and evaluate the cultural significance of psychoanalysis over the course of the 20th century.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

Comp. Lit. 430. Comparative Studies in Fiction.

Section 002 The Arab-Israeli Conflict in Middle Eastern Literature. Meets with Arabic, Armenian, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic Studies 383.001.

Instructor(s): Carol Bardenstein (cbardens@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Upperclass standing. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of nine credits.

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

See Arabic, Armenian, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic Studies 383.001.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 2 Waitlist Code: 4

Comp. Lit. 434. Comparative Studies in Poetry.

Section 001 English Romantic Literature. Meets with English 461.001.

Instructor(s): Marjorie Levinson (cecily@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Junior standing. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

See English 461.001.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

Comp. Lit. 492. Comparative Literary Theory.

Section 001 Rereading.

Instructor(s): Ross Chambers

Prerequisites & Distribution: Junior standing. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

The verb "read" is used in a weak sense (as in "It's too dark to read". and a strong sense. This strong sense, in which reading involves an understanding or interpretive grasp of texts, is what the course is about. In this latter sense, reading is a real life skill as well as a literary prerequisite; it's an important social requirement and an essential survival technique. Yet college education tends to encourage the belief that it is enough to read a text only once, which is like saying it's enough to survey the text, without addressing the ways in which it resists easy reading, that is, its opacities and reticences; its otherness. Rereading is a way of going beyond what one recognizes first off in a text, so as to grapple with its otherness.

This is an experimental course, and it will not have a detailed syllabus because much of what happens will be determined by our group interactions as we go about teaching one another the skills of rereading. I will ask you, though,

to nominate two substantial texts that you want to reread, and to reread them in the course of the term, reporting to the group on your experience;

to read and then reread a small number of texts (fiction, non-fiction, films) that we will discuss and rediscuss in class;

to read one of the above texts a third time, and to write about it in a final essay.

We will start by considering together the "lessons" (readings) about reading that we can derive from Michel Deville's film La Lectrice (The Reader) and Gustave Flaubert's novel, Madame Bovary. The emphasis throughout will be on slow, careful reading (for which you will need to reserve plenty of time).

It is also a writing and rewriting course. There will be three essay assignments (3-5 pp.; 7-8 pp.; and 10-12 pp./respectively), each of which will be preceded by a careful draft (not a "rough draft".. You'll be encouraged to get feedback on your drafts from other students as well as from me.

Novels to buy: Flaubert, Madame Bovary; Mann, Death in Venice; Baker, The Mezzanine. We will also read poetry, non-fiction, and films.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

Comp. Lit. 495. Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature.

Section 001 Literature & Anthropology.

Instructor(s): Alina Clej (aclej@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Senior standing and concentration in Comp. Lit. (3). (Excl).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

What do these two disciplines have in common? How did the new concept of the "primitive" Other that emerged at the turn of the 19th century influence Western ways of representation and expression? Did the development of anthropology help Europeans better understand other cultures, as well as their own? Or was this emerging discipline a mere symptom of the Europeans' own colonialist malaise?

These are some of the general questions that we will explore in this course, by focusing in particular on the developments of Western anthropology in the first half of this century, and on the influence that the "discovery" of non-western cultural forms had on Western art and literature belonging to Modernism. Readings will include essays by Leo Frobenius, Marcel Griaule, Marcel Mauss, Claude Levi-Strauss, and by contemporary anthropologists, such as Clifford Geertz, James Clifford, Michael Taussig, as well as theoretical texts by postcolonial critics, such as E. Said and Homi Bhabha. Literary illustrations will be drawn from French and Francophone writers (Tristan Tzara, Andre Breton, A. Bataille, M. Leiris, R. Caillois, A. Artaud, Aime Cesaire). Examples from other linguistic and cultural areas (including Latin-American literature) are welcome for discussion.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 1 Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

Comp. Lit. 496. Honors Thesis.

Prerequisites & Distribution: Comp. Lit. 495 and Honors concentration in comparative literature. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

In the Honors Thesis course the Honors student typically develops the seminar work done in Comparative Literature 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, 2015 Tisch Hall, 763-2361

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

Comp. Lit. 498. Directed Reading.

Prerequisites & Distribution: Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

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, 2015 Tisch.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

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