91523

LIT 140   Introduction to Media

Maria Cecire

. T . Th .

11:50 -1:10 pm

OLIN 201

HUM

Cross-listed:  Experimental Humanities; Science, Technology, & Society  This course offers a foundation in media history and theory, with a focus on how to use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches such as close reading and visual literacy to critically engage with both traditional and new media. The work of theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Jean Baudrillard, Katherine Hayles, Henry Jenkins, Friedrich Kittler, and Marshall McLuhan will guide our discussions as we consider how media frame and shape humanistic texts, from medieval manuscripts to the transmediated narratives of the internet age. Topics to be covered include print culture, the rise of the motion picture and electronic media, algorithms and hypermedia, and what Jenkins has called the “convergence culture” of today. As part of our ongoing examinations of how material conditions shape discourse, we will assess our own positions as users, consumers, and potential producers of media.  Class size: 20

 

91533

LIT 2031   Ten Plays that Shook the World

Justus Rosenberg

M . W . .

10:10 - 11:30 am

OLIN 101

ELIT

Cross-listed: French Studies, Theater

(World Literature offering) A close reading and textual analysis of plays  considered milestones in the history of the theater.  In this course we isolate and examine the artistic, social and psychological components that made these works become part of the literary canon.   Have they lasted because they conjure up fantasies of escape, or make its readers and viewers face dilemmas inherent in certain social conditions or archetypical conflicts?   What was it exactly that made them so shocking when first preformed?  The language, theme, style, staging?  We also explore the theatre as a literary genre that goes beyond the writing.  For a meaningful and effective performance, all aspects of the play, directing, acting, staging, lighting will be considered.  Class size: 20

 

91528

LIT 2039   Nature Fakers: Environment

in American Literature

Alexandre Benson

. T . Th .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 202

ELIT

Cross-listed:  American Studies, Environmental & Urban Studies   This course takes the first part of its title from a 1907 essay by Theodore Roosevelt. He was weighing in on a running literary-critical debate about whether nature writers ought to represent animal life realistically. The President said yes; the debate died down. In this course we will revive it, for two reasons. First, Roosevelt’s essay begins to suggest the importance of the nature-writing tradition—in which we will read widely, from Henry David Thoreau to Annie Dillard—to certain forms of national self-imagination. Second, the questions about representation and the nonhuman that were at play in the nature-fakers debate remain far from settled in critical thought today. We will therefore supplement our reading of nature writing with recent scholarship that interrogates the very idea of “nature,” connecting the question of its authenticity to the politics of race, gender, and species. Authors likely to include John Burroughs, Donna Haraway, Vicki Hearne, Thomas Jefferson, Aldo Leopold, Timothy Morton, John Muir, Harryette Mullen, and. E. B. White. Class size: 20

 

91907

LIT 2014   The Novel in English II:

Education and Its Discontents

Deirdre d'Albertis

. T . Th .

1:30 - 2:50 pm

OLIN 306

ELIT

In this course we will study the English novel as integrally connected to nineteenth-century debates surrounding education (debates that in many ways continue to characterize our conceptions of teaching and learning).  What does it mean to become an educated person?  Who is educable and who is not? With the advent of educational reform in the period, both working-class men and women of all classes sought (and began to gain) access to institutions of higher learning.  How might formal schooling be understood either to help or to hinder individual growth and development?  Authors considered will be Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Hughes, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.  Key texts include:  Hard Times, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend (if time permits), Jane Eyre, Villette, The Mill on the Floss, Tom Brown’s School Days and Jude the Obscure. Class size: 18

 

91530

LIT 2050   Blues, Spirituals and the 20th Century African American Novel

Donna Grover

. T . Th .

11:50 -1:10 pm

OLIN 203

ELIT

Cross-listed:  Africana Studies, American Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies   African American Spirituals and Blues music share fundamental musical structures, however they offer very different narratives.  Spirituals detail a transitory existence marked by suffering that culminates in a celebratory ascendance into heaven.  While the blues often feature stories of anger, hurt and earthly survival is the only cause for celebration.  In this course we will explore the critical influence these musical forms had on African American writers of the twentieth century. Writers such as James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison used these musical traditions to shape their narratives and to interrogate experience.  James Cone maintains that both blues and spirituals “preserve black humanity through ritual and drama” and the same could be said of the Post-Reconstruction African  American novel.  Among the novels we will read are:  Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God; Black Boy by Richard Wright and Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosely.  Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon are among the musicians included in our inquiry.  Class size: 18

 

91539

LIT 2065   Romantic-era Poetry and Drama, 1750-1850

Cole Heinowitz

M . W . .

3:10 -4:30 pm

OLINLC 206

ELIT

This course offers a critical introduction to the poetry and drama produced in Britain during the turbulent century that witnessed the Enclosure Acts, industrialization, the American and French Revolutions, the impeachment of Warren Hastings, the Napoleonic Wars, abolition, and the Reform Bill.  Our central focus will be on British authors (including Gray, Crabbe, Baillie, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, Beddoes, Clare, and Landon), though we will also attend to key European influences and interlocutors such as Diderot, Goethe, Rousseau, and Hölderlin. Along the way, we will reevaluate the standard historical, intellectual, and aesthetic divisions that separate Enlightenment from Romantic thought, Sensibility from Romanticism, tradition from innovation, the self from the other, and the page from the stage.  Class size: 20

 

91504

LIT 2081   Mass Culture of Postwar Japan

Nathan Shockey

M . W . .

3:10 -4:30 pm

OLIN 202

FLLC

Cross-listed:  Asian Studies, Experimental Humanities   This course explores the literature, history, and media art of Japan since World War 2.  Beginning with the lean years of the American occupation of 1945 to 1952, we will trace through the high growth period of the 1960s and 1970s, the “bubble era” of the 1980s, and up through to the present moment. Along the way, we will examine radio drama, television, popular magazines, manga/comics, film, fiction, theater, folk and pop music, animation, advertising, and contemporary multimedia art. Throughout, the focus will be on works of “low brow” and “middle brow” culture that structure the experience of everyday life. Among other topics, we will consider mass entertainment, the emperor system, the student movement and its failure, the birth of environmental awareness, changing dynamics of sex, gender, and family, “Americanization,” the mythos of the middle class, and the historical roots of contemporary Japanese society. In addition, we will think about changing images of Japan in American popular media and the ways in which the mass culture of postwar Japan has shaped global cultural currents in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  Taught in English.  Class size: 20

 

91531

LIT 2101   Myth/Tale/Story

Benjamin La Farge

. T . Th .

3:10 -4:30 pm

OLIN 301

ELIT

As the anthropologist Malinowski has written, myths are "a special class of stories, regarded as sacred...stories [that] live not as fictitious or even as true narratives; but are to the natives a statement of a primeval, greater, and more relevant reality." It is the purpose of this course to demonstrate how myths that once were sacred are secularized when recycled as literary art, and how many of the greatest stories written by modem masters--from Melville to Kafka--have tapped into the great myths of the past. But between those myths and the modem short story lies the vast, unchartered region of the tale--the oral tradition of story-telling. "The first true storyteller is, and will continue to be, the teller of fairy tales," wrote Walter Benjamin, who argued that "the fairy tale taught mankind...to meet the forces of the mythical world with cunning and high spirits." We will explore these mysterious waters by first reading The Metamorphoses of Ovid, followed by The Golden Ass of Apuleius, and classic fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm et aI., before tracing the residual presence of myth in the work of modem masters, both male and female. Some of the papers assigned will give students an opportunity to write their own tales if they wish. Class size: 18

 

91537

LIT 2140   Domesticity and Power

Donna Grover

. T . Th .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 301

ELIT

Cross-listed:  Africana Studies, American Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies  Many American women writers of the 19th and 20th centuries used the domestic novel to make insightful critiques of American society and politics. These women who wrote of the home and  of marriage and detailed the chatter of the drawing room were not merely recording the trivial events of what was deemed to be their “place.” The course begins with Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s handbook of housekeeping, The American Woman’s Home (1869). We will also read the novels and short stories of Harriet Jacobs, Frances E. W. Harper, Kate Chopin, Nella Larsen, Jessie Fausett, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and others. Class size: 18

 

91482

LIT / CHI 215   The Chinese Novel: The Story of the Stone and Gender in Late Imperial China 

Li-Hua Ying

M . W . .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLINLC 120

ELIT/DIFF

See Chinese section for description.

 

91510

LIT 2153   Infernal Paradises: Literature

of Russian Modernism

Olga Voronina

. T . Th .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLINLC 206

ELIT

Cross-listed: Russian & Eurasian Studies  Dominated by utopian thinking, the twentieth century witnessed both the creation and deconstruction of many visionary projects, some of which combined political endeavors to change the world with attempts to facilitate, subdue, or subjugate artistic self-expression. In this course, we explore the theme of utopia as an intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual concept with a great capacity for social transformation. Focusing on works by Chekhov, Bely, Blok, Mayakovsky, Tsvetaeva, Zamyatin, Pasternak, Bunin, Nabokov, and Akhmatova, the course aims to demonstrate continuity of the Russian literary tradition while revealing how innovative creative forms and resonant new voices contributed to an unprecedented artistic revival, the one that flourished under the harsh conditions of censorship, totalitarian oppression, and forced isolation between the Russian culture and its western counterpart. Class size: 20

 

91366

LIT 2163   Innuendo

Nancy Leonard

M . W . .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 310

ELIT

Studies in the not quite said of fiction, poetry, drama and theory.  Perspectives will be offered from linguistics, poetics, etiquette, theater history and critical theory which go some way to explain why we so often need not to articulate fully what most wants saying.  We’ll learn to distinguish the contexts and purposes of different kinds of innuendo by the analysis of speech acts, poetic statements, philosophical claims and social prohibitions. Close reading and active discussion of literature will be at the center of the course. Readings will be drawn from Ferdinand de Sassure and other linguists, J. L Austin, Deborah Tannen, Wallace Stevens, John Ashbery, Ann Lauterbach, Miss Manners, Proust,  Chekhov, Wilde, Beckett, Agamben, Blanchot, and Derrida.  Critical and creative writing assignments.  Class size: 18

 

91535

LIT 2201   Imagining the Past: Medieval Crusading Literature and the Post-Medieval World

Marisa Libbon

. T . Th .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 305

ELIT

Cross-listed Human Rights; Medieval Studies    The Third Crusade is arguably the most famous medieval attempt by western kingdoms to occupy the “Holy Land”: Jerusalem and its environs.  Lasting from 1189 to 1192, and pitting the infamous crusader-king Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) against the brilliant Muslim leader and tactician Saladin, the Third Crusade has been a potent site of literary, historical, and popular reimagining from the late twelfth century to the present day.  Why and how has the memory of the Third Crusade been repeatedly reconstructed and mobilized? And, to what end?  What is the relationship between history and literature, between (supposed) fact and fiction when the past is reimagined?  To address these questions, among others, our field of exploration will include texts and images produced during several periods: that of the Third Crusade itself; later medieval England as it looked back at and grappled with the glories and disasters of its past; early Tudor England, which reinscribed the late twelfth-century past as a place where Robin Hood “reigned” in Richard I’s absence; and the early twenty-first century, when, after 9/11, the Third Crusade re-entered the modern discourse.  This course counts as pre-1800 offering. Class size: 18

 

91536

LIT 2202   Ecstasy, Hysteria, Obsession: Literature & the Extreme

Francine Prose

. . . . F

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 201

ELIT

Cross-listed: Human Rights  

(World Literature offering)  Great literature has often portrayed extreme emotions and their consequences—unrequited love and erotic obsession, ecstatic joy and misery—as intense but nonetheless “normal” aspects of human experience. But in the early 20th century, these same states of consciousness began to be viewed as illnesses requiring treatment, as aberrations with only a minimal relation to the political and social realities that may have helped create them.  The reading list will include long novels, stories, plays, and works of nonfiction: Proust, Freud, Garcia Marquez, Bolano, Bronte, Mansfield, St. Aubyn, among many others. There will be large amounts of reading and a weekly one-page response paper. Class discussions will focus on language, on a close-reading of short selections from the works we have read. Students should write to me at fprose@erols.com  explaining their reasons for wishing to take the course.  Class size: 20

 

91540

LIT 2212   Writing Africa

Nuruddin Farah

M . W . .

11:50 -1:10 pm

OLIN 307

ELIT

Cross-listed:  Africana Studies 

(World Literature offering)  Over the years, Africa has served as the background setting for a variety of British and American authors, who perceive the continent as a place with “no intellectual life” as V.S. Naipaul put it. Why is it, we’ll ask, that in these works, grand ideas are raised and discussed with great intensity, when the African is ‘virtually absent,’ because the author denies him/her the power of speech, or is physically present but not wholly as a full human being equal to the others? We will, along the way, explore topics such as colonialism, racism, and civilization, inquire into the construction of the African in the consciousness of these authors, and ask what ‘contribution’ if any has the continent made towards the ‘manufacture’ of these texts by Joseph Conrad, Evelyn Waugh, Joyce Cary, Ernest Hemingway, Saul Bellow, V.S. Naipaul, William Boyd, Paul Theroux, and Norman Rush. Class size: 18

 

91538

LIT 226   Intro to Poetics: Texts, Forms, Experiments

Joan Retallack

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 309

PART

Cross-listed: Experimental Humanities  This course is designed for any students who wish to explore poetic forms, as well as those who are considering (or on their way to) moderating into Written Arts. (Those already moderated are also welcome if there is room.) We will be asking what poets need to know in today’s world, not only about poetry per se, but also about the many models and metaphors from other disciplines (philosophy, science, music, etc.) that have always inflected the poetries of their times. We will explore a broad range—historically and varietallyof  ways to compose with words that have and haven’t been called poetry. (Just what determines whether or not a piece of writing is a poem?) We’ll also pay attention to technologies that are currently expanding the genre, looking at various kinds of digital poetries. This is a hybrid class: part seminar, part workshop. Students will produce a mid-term and a final portfolio of work, as well as present work designed for performance—both individually and collaboratively. There will be readings from a required booklist and handouts throughout the semester. The class is required to attend poetry readings (generally scheduled on Thursday evenings) and other events related to the course during the semester.   Interested students must email Professor Retallack,  mail to: retallack@bard.edu. Class size: 18

 

91529

LIT 2319   The Art of Translation

Peter Filkins

. T . Th .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 303

ELIT

By comparing multiple translations of literary, religious, and philosophical texts, this course will examine the way in which translation shapes textual meaning and our appreciation of it. We will also read several key theoretical essays that trace differing approaches to translation and what can or cannot be expected from translation. Finally, students will also take on a short translation project of their own in order to explore firsthand what it means to translate. Brief comparative readings will include multiple translations of Homer, Sappho, Plato, the Bible, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Baudelaire, Proust, Kafka, Babel, Rilke, Neruda, Borges, Basho, Li Po, and Celan. Essays on translation will include those by Dryden, Schleiermacher, Humboldt, Goethe, Benjamin, Valéry, Paz, and Nossack. Students should contact instructor to get permission.  Class size: 15

 

91365

LIT 2501   Shakespeare

Nancy Leonard

M . W . .

10:10 - 11:30 am

OLIN 301

ELIT

Too often Shakespeare is less exclaimed over than dentally drilled: this course promises to remedy that by a close reading of seven great plays, spread over the various kinds of play he wrote: comedy, history, tragedy and romance.  We will find out how characters enact our contemporary concerns with issues like politics, sexuality, gender, and race, but also how they appeared within their own historical framework.  For instance, knowing how limited the prospects of early modern European women were, even aristocrats, creates new admiration for Shakespeare’s bold and quirky comic heroines.  Our primary focus is literary, but we will draw on critical readings, theater history, film and performance work. Plays to be read include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, 1 Henry IV, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, and The Tempest. Open to all students. This course counts as pre-1800 offering. Class size: 20

 

91364

LIT 276B   Chosen Voices: Jewish Authors

Elizabeth Frank

. . W . .

. . . Th .

3:10 -4:30 pm

1:30 -2:50 pm

ASP 302

ASP 302

ELIT/DIFF

Cross-listed:  Jewish Studies, Theology  

(World Literature offering)  In this course we will read major nineteenth and twentieth-century Jewish authors who, in their attempts sometimes to preserve Jewish tradition and just as often to break with it (or to do a little of both), managed to make a major contribution to secular Jewish culture. The struggle to create an imaginative literature by and about Jews is thus examined with respect to often conflicted literary approaches to questions of Jewish identity and history (including persistent anti-Semitism in the countries of the Diaspora and the catastrophe of the Holocaust). In the process we will discuss such notions as Jewish identity and stereotypes, questions of "apartness" and "insideness," and explore literary genres such as the novel, the tale, the fable, the folktale and the joke in relation to traditional forms of Jewish storytelling, interpretation and prophecy. We will look as well at what it is that makes "Jewish humor" both Jewish and funny and consider the consequences of a particular author's decision to write in either Hebrew or Yiddish, or in a language such as Russian, German or English. We will discuss as well Jewish participation in literary modernism. Authors include Rabbi Nachman of Bratzslav, Isaac Leib Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Primo Levi, Isaac  Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, Grace Paley, Aharon Appelfeld, Leslie Epstein, and Angel Wagenstein."   Class size: 20

 

91532

LIT 2800   Indian Fiction

Benjamin La Farge

M . W . .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 301

ELIT

(World Literature offering) In the days of British colonial rule, the collision of East and West inspired a number of English authors to write some of their best fiction, and since independence several Indian writers have re-imagined that collision from a post-colonial perspective. The contradiction of writing about Indian life in the language of the departed British Raj has created a cultural hybridity which some of these novelists turn to advantage. Indian fiction of the modern period is of three kinds; those written by English authors during the last hundred years of Empire; those written by Indian authors during the first sixty years of Independence; and those written by Indians in the diaspora. From the first we will read Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India. From the second we will read R.K. Narayan’s  The Guide, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, plus a selection of stories. From the third we will read V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas. To contextualize these novels, we will read chapters from a brief study of Indian history, religion, and culture. Class size: 18