Courses in Comparative Literature (DIVISION 354)

241. Topics in Comparative Literature. Comp. Lit. 240 recommended. (3). (HU).
Section 001 War.
Two proverbial sayings about war are that it is too important to be left to the generals, and that you may not be interested in war, but it is interested in you. This course examines the cultural importance and interest of war its representations and interpretations as displayed in world literature from ancient Greece and later European history to World War II and the Vietnam war. We will also study analytic, historical and journalistic accounts of war, and some painting, film, and video. Authors include Homer, Clauswitz, Whitman, Orwell, Neruda, Brecht, Auden, Arendt, Joan Didion, Michael Herr, Cormac McCarthy, and John Keegan. The course explores the values and significance attached to war as well as its follies and disasters. One lecture and two discussion sections per week; students are evaluated by oral participation, two in-class tests, and three short (or one term) papers. Cost:2 WL:2 (Bahti)

430. Comparative Studies in Fiction. Upperclass standing. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of nine credits.
Section 001 Telling Stories: in Fiction, on Film.
Storytelling began around an open fire, and the passion for narrative has continued unabated ever since. What is a story and why are they so important for our (and other) cultures? Our focus will be on fictions in prose and verse of the last two centuries and more recent fictions on celluloid (the movies!). Do novels, poems, and films tell stories in the same ways? What tools do they share and how do they differ? Works will include advertisements, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, selected short fiction, and novels (The French Lieutenant's Woman, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, If on a Winter's Night). Come prepared to discover new works of fiction and new ways of reading, viewing, and discussing them. Three short papers. No final. Cost:1 WL:2 (McDougal)

Section 002 Faust and the Faust Legend (in English Translation). No prerequisite. We will begin by tracing the earliest versions of the Faust legend from the late Classical "myth of the Magus" to the sixteenth-century chapbooks. The main focus of the course will be however the four central texts of the tradition: Marlowe's DOCTOR FAUSTUS, Goethe's FAUST (both parts), Thomas Mann's DOCTOR FAUSTUS, and Mikhail Bulgakov's THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, and the fundamental theological, philosophical, aesthetic, and social issues that they raise. No knowledge of German is required, but German concentrators will be expected to read parts of Goethe and Mann in the original. Cost:1 WL:2 (Amrine)

490. Comparative Cultural Studies. Junior standing. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 Comedy on the Edge: Dangerous Humor from Homer to Hollywood.
Thinkers from Aristotle to Woody Allen have been haunted by laughter. Although most of us participate, we cannot define humor or what emotions are involved in "laughing at" something. Particularly mysterious is the way effective satire makes entertainment out of the most disturbing and dangerous material. Throughout the term we will explore how such "comedy on the edge" seduces us into laughing while packing a powerful intellectual and emotional punch. With the help of Plato, Bergson, Freud, Bakhtin and other voices we will consider the construction of the comic across a spectrum of themes: language, the body, sexuality, race, and ideology. Experience of other cultures and times Aristophanes, Rabelais, Chekhov, Bierce, Dorothy Parker will illuminate the present as we find tools to understand contemporary humor. Since satire is most "alive" at birth, much of our material will be drawn literally from yesterday's broadcast. Special attention will be given to comic voices currently articulating the "position of the other" (e.g., the emergence of strong female and African-American "schools" of comedy). Students will write several papers of moderate length and give a few oral presentations. Cost:1 WL:2 (Dobrov)

Section 002 India Today: Colony, Nation, and Empire in Modern Writing. This course will seek to clarify what "India" has meant in modern literature. We will read a wide range of works, Indian and western, that attempt to specify what it is to be Indian. The works include novels, short stories, plays, poems, essays, and memoirs. We will be examining the impact on literature of British colonialism, Indian nationalism, and the recent immigrant diasporas. The following are some of the questions that will occupy us during the term: Can a colonized people have a "national" literature? Can the cultural authority of the colonizers be challenged in forms like the novel that are derived from the colonial culture itself? How has the relationship between literature and nationalism been changed as India has moved from being a British colony to being an independent nation-state? What does it mean to be "Indian" and "modern" at the same time? What are the forms in which the leading issues of 20th-century Indian history conflicts of class and caste, gender and ethnicity, minority and majority have been represented in literary works? We will also attempt to understand the range of forms such as social realism, modernism, folklore and mythology that have been available to Indian writers in exploring these issues. Finally, we will concern ourselves with the changing meaning of Indianness in face of the new diasporas of the last three decades. The requirements for the course are regular participation, a class presentation, and a 20-25 page paper. Cost:2 WL:2 (Mufti)

492. Comparative Literary Theory. Junior standing. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 Cultural Studies as Postmodern Critique: Novel, Cinema, TV, and Video.
This course will treat a series of problems within cultural studies: the relation between culture and academic study, the relation between culture, society, and politics, and the study of comparative studies within the audience of cultural investigations. Readings will include novels, as well as critical and theoretical text. Viewings will include films, television clips, and videos. Throughout, the goal of the course will be to assess the importance that culture can be said to have as regards both the academy and society at large in a critical fashion in the era of the postmodern. Class requirements will be a seminar presentation and a final paper. WL:2 (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, 2015 Angell-Haven Connector.


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