LITERATURE SEQUENCE COURSES: Historical studies in the Comparative, English, and American literature traditions are organized into sequences. Please notify the instructor if you need a dequence course in order to moderate in fall 2018.

 

92016

LIT 204A

 Comparative Literature I

Karen Sullivan

 T  Th    3:10-4:30 pm

ASP 302

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Medieval Studies It was over the course of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance that the concept of the author, as we now conceive of it, first emerged. When a literary work is composed, who is it who composes it? To what extent does such a work represent the general culture out of which it emerged, and to what extent does it reflect an individual consciousness? How does our assumption of who the author is affect how our reading of the text? We will be keeping these questions in mind as we examine the shift in medieval and Renaissance literature from epic to lyric and romance; from orally-based literature to written texts; and from anonymous poets to professional writers. Texts to be read will include The Song of Roland, troubadour lyrics, Arthurian romances, The Romance of the Rose, Dante's Inferno, Petrarch’s sonnets, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Christine de Pizan's Book of the City of Ladies, and Francois Villon's Testament. Class size: 22

 

92021

LIT 204B

 Comparative Literature II

Marina van Zuylen

 T  Th    1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 201

LA

ELIT

This course will span literary texts from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth century in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.  It will examine Humanism's impact on the formation of selfhood; the crisis of authority in Spanish and French classical drama; the influence of Commedia dell'Arte on Italian theater; and idealist philosophy on the emergence of German Romanticism.  We will dwell on the invention of autobiography, Cartesian and anti-Cartesian body-mind duality, the waning conception of heroism, the Enlightenment and its enemies, and comedy's role in bringing the everyday to the center of the literary experience. Authors will include Montaigne, Castiglione, Molière, Madame de la Fayette, Goldoni, Sor Inés de la Cruz, Descartes, Rousseau, Schiller, and Goethe.  This course counts as pre-1800 offering.  Class size: 22

 

92022

LIT 250

 English Literature I

Marisa Libbon

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 202

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Medieval Studies  How did England begin to take shape (and to shape itself) in the collective cultural imagination?  The aim of our work will be twofold: first, to gain experience reading, thinking, and writing about early English literature. And second, to devise over the course of the semester our own working narrative about the development of that literature and its role in the construction of the idea of England.  We will read widely, from Beowulf to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but we will also read closely, attending to language, form and content, historical context, and the continuum of conventions and expectations that our texts enact and break in order to fashion a self-consciously English literature.  In addition to Beowulf and The Tempest, our readings will include selections from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Domesday Book; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain; Spenser’s Faerie Queene; and several “romances”—the pop fiction about knights and their adventures—that circulated widely in both Chaucer’s medieval and Shakespeare’s early-modern England.   Class size: 22

 

92023

LIT 251

 English Literature II

Joseph Mansky

T  Th     1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 101

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Medieval Studies  This course explores seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature in England, during a vital transition between a period of dissent, struggle and war to an achieved modernity, a nation of divergent identities in compromise. The seventeenth century’s characteristic figure is Satan struggling against God in Milton’s Paradise Lost – but other poets and dramatists like John Donne, Ben Jonson, John Webster, and Andrew Marvell helped to shape the age’s passionate interest in the conflict of political, religious, and social ideas and values. After the Civil War and the Puritan rule, monarchy was restored, at least as a reassuring symbol, and writers were free to play up the differences as they did in the witty, bawdy dramatic comedies of the elites and the stories and novels by Behn and Sterne which appealed to middle-class readers. Class size: 22

 

92024

LIT 257

 American Literature I

Alexandre Benson

 T  Th    11:50-1:10 pm

HEG 308

LA

D+J

ELIT

DIFF

Cross-listed: American Studies  This course looks at American literature from the colonial period to the early republic (16th to early 19th century) through questions of colonization and indigeneity; race, gender, and authorship; and aesthetic tradition and innovation. Early American writing is a field of myriad, unstable genres and literary forms, and our readings will set gothic novels alongside political tracts, captivity narratives alongside hymn texts, and lyric poems alongside works of natural history. Authors discussed will likely include Charles Brockden Brown, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Olaudah Equiano, Hannah Foster, Cotton Mather, Samson Occom, Mary Rowlandson, David Walker, and Phillis Wheatley.  Class size: 22

 

92025

LIT 260

 American Literature IV: where do we find ouRselves?

Elizabeth Frank

  W Th   1:30-2:50 pm

ASP 302

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: American Studies  In the wake of World War II, the United States emerged as the world’s dominant military, economic, and cultural power. That power, diffused into the lives of individual Americans by technological, political, and social change, simultaneously deepened a sense of powerlessness for some and fulfilled hopes and expectations for others: if you imaginatively identified with the nation and its privileged symbols—for example, whiteness, masculinity, weaponry, and material plenty—would you experience the promised sense of centrality and significance seemingly mandated by our military triumph, our wealth, our extraordinary global prestige, and our historical sense of providential destiny? Or would you experience, or even be aware of, America’s failure to deliver on its promises? In this course, we will be looking at the ways in which American literature imagined and represented what it was like to live American lives between August 6, 1945, and September 11, 2001, the day when American verities and pieties underwent a sudden reckoning. We will begin by asking ourselves and our writers the same question with which R.W. Emerson opens his great essay, Experience:Where do we find ourselves? and go on to examine works by mid-to late twentieth-century and contemporary writers of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. Moreover we shall do so through explicit reference to traditions and problems bequeathed to us by American writing from the seventeenth-century on.  Can we still see ourselves as the City on a Hill? What has happened to the democratic faith of Emerson and Whitman?  Do we possess a "usable past"?  Is ours a society marked by "quiet desperation"? Readings vary each time the course is given; some covered authors have been John Hersey, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison and Junot Diaz, among others.  Class size: 22