99065

LIT 3015   After Nature: Imagining

the World without Us

Deirdre d'Albertis

. . . Th .

1:30 - 3:50 pm

HEG 300

ELIT

Cross-listed:  EUS   In this seminar we examine the recent history of fictions imagining what Alan Weisman memorably calls “the world without us.”  Taking our departure from  W.G. Sebald’s “After Nature” (and the 2008 New Museum show exploring the same theme), we will trace the development of a distinctly modern strain of post-apocalyptic literature from Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826)  through Nevil Shute’s On the Beach (1957) to Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island (2006).   We will consider cinematic works of Tarkovsky, Herzog and Haneke in tandem with readings in 20th and 21st century fiction.  Of particular concern will be writers’ and film-makers’ vision of existence in a post- or “neo” human society.  What does it mean to be human  “after nature”?  How do we re-conceptualize the state of nature so central to enlightenment discourse from Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau on?

 

99475

LIT 3023   Poetry and Society

Joan Retallack

. . W . .

1:30 - 3:50 pm

OLIN 309

ELIT

Cross-listed:  Human Rights   What consequences, if any, do the poetries of a culture and a time have on the ethical, if not moral, framework of the society’s relation to its citizens and those it considers “others”?  This question could of course be asked exactly the other way around, probing how social contexts generate certain kinds of poetics. In considering the forms of life that poetries enact and imply, we’ll be engaging in inquiries that are both domestically and internationally “cross-cultural.” We will also importantly consider poetics not explicitly political at all, since they too embody social values. Poets whose work will be studied include those responding (or not!) to times of civil and “world” wars, occupation, imprisonment, racial and ethnic injustice, sexual and gender discrimination, and ecological concerns. Poetic form will be as much under scruitiny as arguments or messages.  Work by Guillaume Apollinaire, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Anna Akhmatova, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Wittgenstein, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, Yehuda Amchai, Etel Adnan, Mahmoud Darwish, Caroline Bergvall, C.D. Wright, and Juliana Spahr are likely to be included. This is a practice-based seminar. You will have the opportunity to experiment with poetic forms, write short essays and conduct collaborative research in an area of contemporary social concern that interests you. The final assignment will be a poetic project accompanied by a detailed statement of the principles that went into composing it, including its relation to authors we have studied. Admission by permission of professor.

 

99143

LIT 3027   Poetics of Pragmatism

Ann Lauterbach

. . W . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

ASP 302

ELIT

Before, during and after the election of Barack Obama, the word “pragmatism” was often heard, and perhaps William James’ comment that “truth happens to an idea” was proven by this singular event. But what is Pragmatism, and how did it come to be central to American philosophical and poetic thought? Is it merely a matter of use, what works, or is there more to it, as the radical relation between experience and experiment becomes one that tests both empiricism and transcendence, and complicates values of objectivity and subjectivity. Readings in: Jonathan Edwards, Emerson, James, Dewey, Cavell, Geertz, Joan Richardson, Wallace Stevens, Gertrude Stein, Charles Olson, Susan Howe, John Ashbery.

 

99550

LIT 3036   Poetic Lineages

Cole Heinowitz

M . . . .

1:30 – 3:50 pm

OLIN 310

ELIT

T. S. Eliot famously remarked, “what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it.” Taking this statement as our starting point, this seminar will explore the perpetual trans-historical dialogue taking place within Anglo-American poetry and poetics. Tracing the various poetic lineages from the Romantic era to the present moment, we will explore the ways in which conceptions of the power of poetry are transformed by shifting historical, aesthetic, political, and philosophical moments. Throughout our investigations, we will ask: What is the relationship between poetic utterance and political power? What role do subjectivity and emotion play in poetic expression? How do the formal dimensions of language complicate its denotative function? Writers to be considered include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Charles Bernstein, J.H. Prynne, and Lyn Hejinian.

 

99471

LIT 3134   Thomas Pynchon & Don DeLillo

Elizabeth Antrim

M . . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 304

ELIT

Cross-listed:  American Studies     Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo are conventionally understood as two of the most important practitioners of American literary postmodernism. But what, formally, makes them postmodern? What is postmodernism? How do Pynchon and DeLillo defy or push the limits of this frame? The process of answering those questions will lead us into a wide range of related subjects, including consumerism, paranoia, violence, technology, mass media, and the construction of history. Major texts under consideration include Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, V., Gravity’s Rainbow, and Mason & Dixon, and DeLillo’s White Noise, Mao II, Underworld, and Falling Man.

 

99501

LIT 3143   Women on the Edge

Mary Caponegro

. . . Th .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 303

ELIT

A study of numerous experimental women authors and their predecessors, including Dorothy Richardson, Djuna Barnes, Natalie Sarraute, Clarice Lispector, Elfriede Jelinek, Marguerite Young, Kathy Acker, Jamie Gordon, Yoko Tawada, Diane Williams, Christine Schutt, Patricia Eakins, Fiona Maazel, and others. Critical essays will supplement the fiction.

 

99388

LIT 315   Proust: In Search of Lost Time

Eric Trudel

. . W . F

10:30 -11:50 am

OLIN 304

ELIT

Cross-listed:  French Studies   Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is about an elaborate, internal journey, at the end of which the narrator discovers the unifying pattern of his life both as a writer and human being. Famed for its style and its distinctive view of time, love, sex and cruelty, reading, language and memory, Proust's epic broke new ground in the invention of a genre that lies between fiction and autobiography. Through a semester devoted to the close reading of Swann’s Way and Time Regained in their entirety and several substantial key-excerpts taken from all the other volumes, we will try to understand the complex nature of Proust's masterpiece and, among other things, examine the ways by which it accounts for the temporality and new rhythms of modernity.  We will also question the narrative and stylistic function of homosexuality, discuss the significance of the massive social disruption brought about by the Great War and see how the arts are represented and why they are seminal to the narration. Additional readings will include philosophy, art criticism and literary theory. Taught in English.

 

99495

LIT 3215   Power, Violence and Make Believe: Revealing Politics in Fiction

Mark Danner

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 304

HUM

Cross-listed:  Human Rights    Power and politics we learn not at first hand but by following their elaboration in fictional forms. Though both epic and drama focused on violence, power and political struggle - beginning with The Illiad, the "poem of force," if not before - it is in the modern novel that we find an ongoing, centuries-long narrative investigation into the workings of power. In this seminar, through the works of Stendhal, Trollope,  Adams, James, Conrad, Chesterton, Malaparte, Asturias, Carpentier, Garcia Marquez, Penn Warren, Camus, Just, DeLillo, and McCarrey, among others, we will undertake a close study of the development of the political novel, with special attention to the analysis of violence, force and power.

 

99074

LIT 323   Economies of Modern European Literature

Joseph Luzzi

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

RKC 200

ELIT

Cross-listed:  Italian Studies   Economic history tells us that, from around 1820, the rates of production and general standards of living in Europe began to increase dramatically (and unevenly), and the industrial revolution that they reflect has continued to define the world’s economic organization. This course will explore how the emergence of free-market economic practices altered the literary map of the Continent and shaped the idea of literature itself. We will consider the major events that triggered this sea change, and how the writers of the age interpreted them. Most important, we will analyze how this free-market ethos was internalized and incorporated into the thought processes and literary forms in the modern age. Authors and works under discussion include the idea of “contract” in William Wordsworth’s “Michael”; the Christian political economy of Alessandro Manzoni’s Betrothed; the role of the free market in the free indirect style of the Realist novel; the link between literary and aesthetic “value” in the late-Enlightenment discourses of aesthetics and political economy; and classic (Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Ruskin) and more contemporary (Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci) theorists on the nexus between aesthetics and economics. Readings/course work in English. Interested students should contact Prof. Luzzi (jluzzi@bard.edu) prior to registration to determine eligibility.

 

99061

LIT 331   Translation Workshop

Peter Filkins

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 302

FLLC

The workshop is intended for students interested in exploring both the process of translation and ways in which meaning is created and shaped through words. Class time will be divided between a consideration of various approaches to the translation of poetry and prose, comparisons of various solutions arrived at by different translators, and the students' own translations into English of poetry and prose from any language or text of their own choosing. Prerequisite: One year of language study or permission of the instructor.

 

99496

LIT 3324  Freudian Psychoanalysis

and Language

Helena Gibbs

. T . . .

4:00 – 6:20 pm

OLIN 301

HUM

The understanding that language inhabits the human subject is essential to Freud’s conception of the unconscious.  It is Freud who taught us to read slips of the tongue, bungled actions, memory lapses, and dreams as a language in its own right, as a formation of the unconscious.  He demonstrates throughout his work that language implicates us at a level far beyond what we typically consider as communication.  By singling out certain properties of language (i.e., words signifying a variety of meanings at once), he scrutinizes language’s ability to structure us as subjects.  This course will focus on selections from Freud that demonstrate this close attention to language.  Among them, we will read sections from The Interpretation of Dreams, Studies on Hysteria, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, and The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. These readings will serve as a point of departure for a broader examination of Freudian psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice.  Freud’s texts will be complemented by essays by Jacques Lacan and other authors whose works shed further light on the subject of the unconscious.

 

99081

LIT 333   New Directions in

               Contemporary Fiction

Bradford Morrow

M . . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 101

ELIT

This seminar is devoted to close readings of novels and collections of short stories by innovative contemporary fiction writers published over the last quarter century, with an eye toward exploring both the great diversity of voices and styles employed in these narratives as well as the cultural, historical, and social issues they chronicle.  Particular emphasis will be placed on analysis of fiction by some of the more pioneering practictioners of the form, including Cormac McCarthy, William Gaddis, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Richard Powers, David Foster Wallace, Michael Ondaatje, Ian McEwan, Jamaica Kincaid, along with two or three authors who will visit class to discuss their books and read from recent work.

 

99109

LIT 3401   Poetry and Politics in Ireland

Terence Dewsnap

M . . . .

9:30 -11:50 am

RKC 200

ELIT

Cross listed:  Irish and Celtic Studies   Nineteenth- and twentieth-century poets such as James Mangan, Samuel Ferguson, W. B. Yeats and Austin Clarke recreated images of a Celtic past that served the cause of Irish nationalism. We will study their poetry; also militant songs and ballads from the late eighteenth century to the present, some anonymous, some by prominent patriots like Thomas Davis and Padraic Pearse; also problem poems by poets Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh and Seamus Heaney dealing with contemporaneous events and issues. We will pay some attention to diaries and memoirs illuminating specific moments in Irish history from 1798 to the present. 

 

99134

LIT 3500 A  Advanced Fiction: The Novella

Mona Simpson

TBA

 

.

PART

The first semester of a yearlong class, intended for advanced and serious writers of fiction, on the "long story" or novella form. Students will read novellas by Henry James, Flaubert, Chekhov, Flannery O'Connor, Allan Gurganus, Amy Hempel, and Philip Roth (and perhaps others) using these primary texts to establish a community of reference. We will discuss technical aspects of fiction writing, such as the use of time, narrative voice, openings, endings, dialogue, circularity, and editing, from the point of view of writers, focusing closely on the student's own work. The students will be expected to write and revise a novella, turning in weekly installments of their own work, and of their responses to the assigned reading.  The course will meet six times over the semester, dates to be announced.

 

99084

LIT 389   Different Voices, Different Views

                   from the Non-Western World     

Justus Rosenberg

. T . . .

4:00 -6:20 pm

OLIN 101

ELIT

Significant short works by some of the most distinguished contemporary writers of Africa, Iran, India, Pakistan, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East are examined for their intrinsic literary merits and the verisimilitude with which they portray the socio-political conditions, spiritual belief systems, and attitudes toward women in their respective countries.  Through discussions and short analytical papers, we seek to determine the extent to which these writers rely on indigenous literary traditions, and have been affected by Western artistic models and developments by competing religions and ideologies.  Authors inclue Assia Djebar, Nawal El Saadawi, Ousmane Sembene, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chinua Achebe, Naguib Mahfouz, R.K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Nadine Gordimer, Mahmoud Darwish, Mahasveta Devi and Tayeb Salih.

 

99078

LIT 390   Contemporary Critical Theory

Nancy Leonard

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 308

HUM

During the last century major changes in the ways works of art and culture were conceived took place under the influence of modernism and poststructuralism. This course engages key texts, both classic and contemporary, in this transformation of our knowledge of language and representation.  Reading full-length studies or significant excerpts of major theorists, the seminar will introduce students to the aesthetics and ethics of modernist and postmodern debates about representation, and about the links between ethics, politics and language. Perspectives to be introduced include semiotics, deconstruction, Lacanian analysis, Foucauldian history, and arts theory.  Students will be working collaboratively as theorists, independently as writers, and collectively as members of the whole seminar. Theorists to be read include Walter Benjamin, Roland  Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Zizek, Hal Foster, and Judith Butler.  Admission by interview prior to registration; Upper College standing is assumed.  A  college course in philosophy, literary, cultural, political or arts theory is ordinarily a prerequisite. Interview with Professor Leonard necessary before online registration.