Courses in Comparative Literature (Division 354)

241. Topics in Comparative Literature. Comp. Lit. 240 recommended. (3). (HU).

FOUR INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES. This course will compare and contrast the presentation of several ideas that have fundamentally redefined western man's concept of himself in the last 100 years as reflected in four different disciplines (political science, philosophy, theology, and psychology) and three literary genres (drama, novel, and short story). These ideas center upon the rise of the totalitarian state, the emergence of "psychological man," and the destruction of the concept of God as well as of all absolute value systems. How do the styles of each discipline and genre differ according to the writer's aim and intended effect upon the reader? Can we isolate and describe the particular techniques (discursive and metaphoric) used, respectively, by the political scientist, philosopher, theologian, and psychologist to explain and convince? In particular, how does literature as a genre differ from the four other disciplines in its function as a "living laboratory" for the exploration of and experimentation with new visions of the self and society? I. Literature and Psychology: Psychoanalysis in the Short Story. Theories of psychosexual development and the father-son conflict. Texts by Freud, Kafka. II. Literature and Theology: The Irrational in the Novel. Man's religious, mystical impulse in conflict with the logic of science and the demands of rational self-interest. Texts by Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky. III. Literature and Philosophy: Existentialism in the Novel. Nihilism and the concomitant destruction of Christian morality and the western concept of the self. Texts by Nietzsche, Camus. IV Literature and Political Science: Communism and the Drama. The ethics and psychology of Communist revolution and terrorism. Texts by Marx, Lenin, Brecht, Sartre. Three sessions per week: two lectures and one discussion period. Two short papers and two one-hour examinations. (Peters)

424. Literature and Other Disciplines. Junior or senior standing. (3). (HU). May be elected for a total of nine credits.

LITERATURE AND THE LAW. The intersection of the literary and the judiciary, the letter and the law, is a rich area for exploring some of the most basic structures that underlie the mechanisms of representation, interpretation, judgment, and power, in their relation to the ethical realm. Secondary readings will be drawn from Kant and contemporary critics and theorists, but the primary focus will be the critique of judgment implied in each of the following works: Sophocles, Oedipus Rex; La Farce de Maitre Pathelin; Kleist, "Michael Kohlhaas"; Dickens, Bleak House; Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment; Kafka, The Trial. (Porter)

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

This course 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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