91298

LIT 301   Reading for Writers

Mary Caponegro

. T . . .

10:10 - 12:30 pm

OLIN 107

ELIT

This course is designed to be a joyous, rigorous exploration of that component of fiction which distinguishes one author from another, and which is a more prominent feature of certain authors’ works than others. We’ll look closely at what constitutes style, and what makes one writer a stylist and another not. If “reading for the plot” is the default paradigm in fiction, what happens when we train our minds to look behind the scenes of plot, to observe how cumulative linguistic, imagistic and syntactic patterns coalesce such that sentence generates story? What is the relation of style to form and structure, and what range of choices exist between the polarities of restraint and ostentation? Analytical papers with occasional creative options will assist in our endeavor. Works studied will include many of the following literary texts, in general one book per week:  Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov; Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho, by Samuel Beckett; The Aspern Papers, by Henry James; The Palm Wine Drinkard, by Amos Tutuola; Memoirs of Hadrian, by Marguerite Yourcenar; The Mezzanine, by Nicolson Baker; Housekeeping, by Marilyn Robinson; The Passion Artist, by John Hawkes; Lost in the City, by Edward P. Jones; In the Heart of the Country, by J.M. Coetzee; This is Not a Novel, by David Markson; The Last Samurai, by Helen de Witt; The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell; In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, by William Gass; Because They Wanted To, by Mary Gaitskill; The Sea, by John Banville; Bogeywoman or Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon, Netsuke, by Rikki Ducornet; Amy and Isabelle, by Elizabeth Strout.  Class size: 15

 

91500

LIT 3023   Poetry and Society

Joan Retallack

. . W . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

RKC 122

ELIT

Cross-listed: Human Rights, Written Arts  What, if anything, does poetry contribute to the most significant conversations of humankind? Conversations about our commonalities and differences—matters of race, class, gender, war and other forms of violence; cultural and political power; social values; responsibilities to fellow human beings as well as to other forms of life on the planet. Does poetry resonate with knowledge and intuition necessary for thinking about such matters but unavailable by other means? Can it be a potent form of agency? These are complex questions we will be examining via specific texts and writing explorations of our own in both essay and poetic forms. We’ll look at the role of poetics in human rights and environmental (ecopoetic) discourses, investigative poetics, ethical thought experiments and more. Work by Apollinaire, Lorca, Pound, Stein, Wittgenstein, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, Yehuda Amichai, Etel Adnan, Mahmoud Darwish, Neruda, Raul Zurita, Jonathan Skinner, Juliana Spahr, and Jena Osman, 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 areas of contemporary social concern that interest you. The final assignment will be a combined essay and poetic project. The class is required to attend poetry readings and other events (e.g., Human Rights, and Environmental Policy programming) related to the course during the semester.  Admission by permission of professor. Class size: 15

 

91289

LIT 3036   Poetic Lineages

Cole Heinowitz

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 303

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, John Keats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, H.D., Charles Olson, Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, Clark Coolidge, and J.H. Prynne.  Class size: 15

 

91286

LIT 3071   Literary Method: Genealogy

 and the Unsayable

Nancy Leonard

. . . Th .

10:10 -  12:30 pm

OLIN 310

ELIT

Cross-listed: Philosophy  This course will inaugurate a series of seminars in criticism intended especially for moderated Junior I literature majors.  The seminars will introduce students to exciting current thinking in the field, emphasizing how particular methods and ideas can be employed in linking literary texts to their contexts. Intended too is a deep exploration of writing about literature at some length, in the form of a 20-25 pp. paper, developed over the course of most of the semester. This seminar will explore two ideas that have become increasingly important in thinking about texts: genealogy, a historical concept, and unsayability, a philosophical one.  We will read Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals  and selected essays, Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and additional essays, and Giorgio Agamben’s The Signature of All Things: On Method, in the first half of the term. James’s The Turn of the Screw will be in dialogue with the theory of genealogy, and students will be encouraged to explore it through original research. The genealogical approach allows us to examine connections between past and present which escape simple questions of cause and effect, influence and intention.  James’s text will also suggest unsayability, and thus provide a bridge to the second half of the course. Here we will probe the unsaid—the concept of what language does not and cannot say—in literature and philosophy, taking it over and over to texts by writers as varied as Blake and Beckett, Dickinson and Kierkegaard, Celan and Faulkner, and philosophers like Derrida, Heidegger, and Cavell. At least one classic narrative film will also be screened. Preference given to moderated literature majors but other Upper College students admitted by permission of the instructor (email Leonard@bard.edu). Class size: 15

 

91271

LIT 3081  Afro-Futurism(s): Technologies

of  Literature and Culture in the Black Diaspora

Charles Walls

M . . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLINLC 210

ELIT

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, American Studies  This interdisciplinary course will examine how black diasporic communities have used science fiction, cosmology, fantasy, and utopianism to explore the intersections between race and technology, to redefine knowledge and subjectivity, and to imagine alternative political spaces. Drawing on the work of a variety of writers, artists, and musicians, we will consider the development of this theme and its related aesthetic forms to analyze how “Afro-futurism” occupies a provocative but little explored place in the interrogation of and challenge to normative historical narratives, class divisions, sexism, and racism.  Figures likely to appear on our syllabus will reflect a broad historical range from the nineteenth- to twenty-first centuries: Pauline Hopkins, George Schuyler, Ralph Ellison, Ishmael Reed, Samuel Delaney, Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Rene Cox, Jean-Rene Basquiat, Sun Ra, Paul D. Miller, Ramellzee, Parliament, Anthony Joseph, and others.  Class size: 15

 

91297

LIT 3146   T.S. Eliot &Wallace Stevens

Matthew Mutter

. . W . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 304

ELIT

Cross-listed: American Studies  An in-depth study of two major American writers whose aesthetic visions represent divergent trajectories for modernist poetics.  Attention will be given to their relation to Romanticism, their understanding of lyric subjectivity, their juxtapositions of literature and religion, their philosophies of abstraction and the image, and their engagement with social and cultural crises.  Class size: 15

 

91255

LIT 315   Proust:In Search of Lost Time

Eric Trudel

. T . Th .

3:10 -4:30 pm

OLIN 301

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.  Class size: 15

 

91555

LIT 3206   Evidence

Thomas Keenan

. T .  . .

4:40 – 7:00 pm

OLIN LC 120

HUM

What can literature teach us about evidence? What does it tell us about other sorts of signs, and how to read the traces of things left behind at this or that scene, of a crime for instance?  Evidence, etymologically, is what we see, what is exposed or obvious to the eye, and to the extent that something is evident it should help us make decisions, form conclusions, or reach judgments.  Hence its legal meanings.  On the basis of these traces of what has happened —whether in the form of statistics, images, or testimony—we decide, and so their ethical and theoretical stakes are high.  Sometimes what we see and read seems to compel action, while at other times it appears to immobilize us.  As more and more of our world is exposed to view, what becomes of the would-be foundational character of evidence?  What is it to ignore evidence?  This seminar will explore the theory and practice of evidence, with special attention paid to (a) accounts in the mass media of, and (b) testimonies and forensic evidence about, the most extreme cases (genocide, atrocity, terror, human rights violations).   Readings  from Gilles Peress, Ariella Azoulay, Eyal Weizman, Michael Ondaatje, Susan Sontag, Toni Morrison, Shoshana Felman, Bruno Latour, Jacques Derrida, Miiguel Tamen,  and others.

 

91267

LIT 3325   National Myths, Transnational Forms: Samurai, Cowboy, Shaolin Monk

Andrew Schonebaum

M . . . .

10:10 - 12:30 pm

OLINLC 206

FLLC

Cross-listed:  Asian Studies  We will consider how certain stories and images are used to create national identity and at the same time appeal to a transnational or global audience. Class size: 16

 

91256

LIT 333   New Directions in

Contemporary Fiction

Bradford Morrow

M . . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 205

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 practitioners of the form, including Cormac McCarthy, William Gaddis, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Don DeLillo, 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. Class size: 15

 

91295

LIT 3354   Faulkner and Morrison

Geoffrey Sanborn

. . . Th .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 303

ELIT/DIFF

Related interest: Africana Studies  An intensive study of two of the greatest American novelists of the twentieth century. In the first half of the course, we will read four Faulkner novels—The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!—together with some of his short fiction and a wide range of essays, interviews and critical studies. In the second half of the course, we will do the same thing with Morrison: the novels will be The Bluest Eye, Sula, The Song of Solomon, and Beloved, and the secondary materials will include Playing in the Dark, her influential monograph on American literature. Topics will include race, violence, prophecy, motherhood, ancestry, ecstasy, privacy, the effort to speak the unspeakable, and the strange pleasures of words. Requirements include two ten-page papers. Preference to moderated literature majors.  Class size: 15

 

91614

LIT 3413   Close-reading Evil    

Francine Prose

. . . . F

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 101

ELIT

Cross-listed with Human Rights  In this class we will look (word by word, sentence by sentence) at the ways in which language has been used to portray and explore the mystery of evil. We will study texts ranging from the Book of Genesis and Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale” to the fiction of Flannery O’Connor, Denis Johnson and Roberto Bolano.  We will also read fiction and nonfiction written during and about American Puritanism, the slaveholding South, colonial exploration, the Hitler and Stalin eras. Finally, we will look at newspaper and magazine articles that address, directly or indirectly, the problem of evil. Two short weekly papers are required. Admission is by email application to fprose@erols.com.

 

91657

LIT 3500 A  Advanced Fiction: The Novella    

Mona Simpson

TBA

TBA

TBA

ELIT

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.  A submission is required at monasimpson@mac.com .  Class size: 12

 

91250

LIT 3640   Memorable 19th Century Novels

Justus Rosenberg

. T . . .

10:10 - 12:30 pm

OLIN 101

ELIT

This course offers an in-depth examination of continental novels that are part of the literary canon, such as Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Balzac’s Cousin Bette and Thomas Mann’s The Buddenbrooks, which collectively provide a realistic picture of the major artistic, social, political, and philosophical trends and developments in 19th century Europe.  We explore these writers’ portrayals of the rising middle class, the corrosion of religious beliefs and romantic notions, the position of women in society, the birth of radical ideologies, the debate between materialism and idealism as philosophical concepts, and analyze the diversity of their narrative strategies.  Our readings are enhanced by selected screen adaptations of some novels. Class size: 15

 

91245

LIT 374   Jane Austen

Deirdre d'Albertis

             Writing Lab:

. . . Th .

. T . . .

10:10 - 12:30 pm

2:00 – 3:00 pm

OLIN 107

ELIT

Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies; Related interest: Victorian Studies    A seminar devoted to the close study of Austen's major novels:  Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.  We will examine each work in relation to a rich critical tradition surrounding it, charting the waxing and waning of Austen's reputation as successive generations of readers rediscover and attempt to explain her subtle art.  Upper-college standing is assumed; some familiarity with literary history, as well as theory is also to be desired. This is a writing intensive course. Regular short writing assignments will be required, along with two 10-page essays (see below). We will meet for weekly hour-long writing labs. General goals are to help with the development, composition, organization, and revision of analytical and exploratory prose; the use of evidence to support an argument; strategies of interpretation and analysis of texts. Students will be responsible for their mechanics of grammar and documentation. Class size: 15

 

91252

LIT 381   Truth, Beauty, and the Market: Explorations in Literary Value

Joseph Luzzi

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLINLC 118

ELIT

Why is literary “value” so difficult to define and likely to lead to heated debate? How is the word value itself forever suspended between, on the one hand, its notion as something transcendental and timeless (“priceless”), and on the other, its status as a cultural commodity (something bought and sold)? How is literature at once a product beholden to a specific time and place (to a “market”), but also a work of art that can defy categorization and quantification? Students in this course will explore such fundamental questions about the way that we evaluate, judge, and consume literary works. We will explore how the term literary value draws on developments in the history of aesthetics as well as related fields like philosophy, law, economics, and sociology. Our focus will be on the special ways that literary texts produced after the Enlightenment and into the 19th- and 20th-centuries created notions and models of literary value that drew on major social and cultural changes like the industrial revolution and spread of capitalism; the emergence of a public sphere through institutions like the coffee house and the press; and the creation of modern notions of the “author” in fields like copyright law and intellectual property. We will consider such issues and texts as the aesthetic thought of Kant and writings on taste by Hume; theorists on value including Smith, Marx, and Simmel; literary texts on the emergence of capitalism like Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads and Verga’s House by the Medlar Tree; questions of class struggle in Zola’s Germinal, Manzoni’s Betrothed, and Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons; and more contemporary critics including Barthes and Foucault on the “author,” Habermas on the public sphere, and the recent theories of value in Casanova, Guillory, and Herrnstein Smith. All readings are in English translation. Class size: 15