The Junior Seminars in criticism are intended especially for moderated junior 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.



LIT 3043   Melville

Alexandre Benson

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10:10 - 12:30 pm

HEG 200


Cross-listed:  American Studies  This seminar offers an intensive reading of Herman Melville’s prose and poetry, from his first novel, Typee, to the posthumously published Billy Budd. We will follow the mutations of a career that produced both hugely popular adventure novels and commercially disastrous narrative experiments (including Moby-Dick; or, the Whale, to which we will devote extended attention mid-semester). At the same time, we will track the topics of concern that persist across this body of work: labor, rhetoric, sexuality, the sublime, faith, and revolt. Class size: 15



LIT 3071   Literature and Philosophy

Nancy Leonard

. . . Th .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 310


Cross-listed: Philosophy  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




LIT 3110   James Joyce's Ulysses

Terence Dewsnap

. T . . .

3:10 -5:30 pm

OLIN 310


Cross-listed: Irish and Celtic Studies   Participants in this seminar pool their ideas about text and context.  Recent Joyce criticism will be emphasized.  Prior knowledge of Joyce and his early writings, notably Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is required. Class size: 15



LIT 3138   Cavafy: A Modernist in the

Ancient World

Daniel Mendelsohn

. T . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 107


Cross-listed: Classical Studies,  Gender and Sexuality Studies   The Alexandrian poet Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933), at once an impassioned amateur of the Greek past (Classical, Hellenistic, and Byzantine) and yet a pioneer in the forthright representation of homoerotic desire in the present, is widely considered the greatest poet of modern Greece. Although scholars have long divided his work into two discrete groups—the “historical” and “erotic” poems—this course, by means of close readings of a large portion of the poet’s work from the 1890s to the 1930s, will reevaluate the relationship of history and sexuality in the poet’s canon. Emphasis will be given to those poems whose focus on illicit desire is reflected in settings that are “marginal” both geographically (locales at the fringes of the ancient world) and temporally (periods of historical transition, e.g., from paganism to Christianity, from the Hellenistic kingdoms to Rome, from Late Antiquity to Byzantium.) All works will be read in translation, with selected readings from Cavafy’s contemporaries, such as Pound, Eliot, and HD, whose work also invoked ancient civilization in the service of a modernist project.  Class size: 15



LIT 315  Proust: In Search of Lost Time

Eric Trudel

M . W . .

1:30 -2:50 pm

OLIN 309


Cross-listed:  French  Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time tells of 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 love, sex and cruelty, reading, language and memory, Proust’s modernist 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 in which it accounts for the temporality and new rhythms of modern life. 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 investigate why the visual arts and music are seminal to the narration. Additional readings from Barthes, Beckett, Benjamin, Deleuze, de Man, Kristeva and Lévinas among many others. Taught in English.  Class size: 15



LIT 3205   Dante & the Modern Imagination

Joseph Luzzi

. . W . .

10:10 - 12:30 pm

HEG 300


Cross-listed:  Italian; Medieval Studies  This new course will explore the fascinating reception of Dante's Divine Comedy over the centuries in multiple literary traditions, national cultures, and artistic media. We will spend the first few weeks of the course developing a reading of Dante's epic poem, then trace its presence in such phenomena as: Petrarch and Boccaccio's debates about poetry; Milton's epic imagination; the founding of the American Dante Society at Longfellow's Harvard; the cinematic Dante of Antonioni and other auteurs; the “illustrated” Dante from Doré to Rauschenberg; selected instances of Dante in the non-Western world; even Dante in American pop culture today. Course/reading in English with option of section/course work in Italian for qualified students.  This course counts as pre-1800 offering.Class size: 15



LIT 3227   Dostoevsky Presently: Poetics, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology

Marina Kostalevsky

. T . Th .

4:40 -6:00 pm



Cross-listed: Russian and Eurasian Studies 

(World Literature offering) Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky remains one of the most widely read authors in the world. He also remains an inspiration for the immensely productive output of scholarship and artistic renditions through different media. In this course we will read and analyze such Dostoevsky texts as his novels The Idiot, Demons, The Brothers Karamazov;  his shorter prose works Poor Folk, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, The Meek One,  Bobok;  and his journalistic pieces from A Writer's Diary (which today might be considered the first blog ever). Also, we will pay special attention to the present state of research on Dostoevsky, starting from the classic studies by Mikhail Bakhtin,  Joseph Frank, and some others, to the latest works by Russian, American, European, and Japanese scholars of Dostoevsky.By looking at Dostoevsky through the lenses of poetics, philosophy, politics , and psychology, we will try to understand what makes this 19th century Russian writer our contemporary.  Taught in English.   Interested students should contact the Professor before registration.  Class size: 15



LIT 3228   Cosmopolitanism, Secularism,

and Modernity in North African Fiction

Nuruddin Farah

. T . . .

3:10 -5:30 pm



Cross-listed: Africana Studies, French Studies, Middle-Eastern Studies,  Human Rights  

(World Literature offering)  Born out of cross-cultural currents going back to Roman times, North African literature is unique in its multiplicity of world views, its secularity, and its commitment to an anti-colonial stance. The authors are multi-lingual, the writing is as emblematic of its layered triple identity – at once African, Mediterranean and Arab - as it is reflective of its modernity. We will read, in English translation, a handful of the most notable 20th century authors from the Maghreb region. As signposts, we’ll be guided in our analysis by these notions: cosmopolitanism, secularism, and multiculturalism. The authors are Albert Camus, Kateb Yacine, Albert Memmi, Taher Ben Jelloun, Mohammed Dib, Aissa Djebar, Abdulwahab Meddeb,Leila Sabber and Alham Mosteghanemi. We also envisage watching a number of films based on the texts or made by the authors themselves.  Class size: 15



LIT 3308   Reading and Writing the Hudson

Susan Rogers

. T . . .

. . . Th .

10:10 - 11:30 am

8:30 - 11:30 am

ASP 302

Field Station


Cross-listed: American Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies  To those who know it, the Hudson River is the most beautiful, messed up, productive, ignored, and surprising piece of water on the face of the earth,” writes Robert Boyle in The Hudson:  A Natural and Unnatural History.  In this course students will get to know the Hudson in all of its complexity through reading a range of works and through writing personal essays of place.  Readings will range from history to natural history, literature to environmental policy.  In addition, each student will be required to undertake independent research into some aspect of the river from the brick or whaling industry to gardens or villas of the valley.  This research, combined with personal experience of the valley, will be used to develop extended creative nonfiction essays.  These personal essays will be read and critiqued in a workshop format.  This course is open to all students interested in creative nonfiction writing from a researched, inter-disciplinary perspective. Students will be required to take a swim test and a canoe course in order to participate in the canoe/kayak outings.  Class size: 15



LIT 3640   Memorable 19th Century Continental Novels

Justus Rosenberg

M . . . .

3:10 -5:30 pm

OLIN 101


(World Literature offering) 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



LIT 405   Senior Seminar I: Literature

Deirdre d'Albertis

M . . . .

4:45 -6:30 pm



Literature Majors writing a project are required to enroll in the year-long Senior Colloquium.   Senior Colloquium is an integral part of the 8 credits earned for Senior Project.  An opportunity to share working methods, knowledge, skills and resources among students, the colloquium explicitly addresses challenges arising from research and writing on this scale, and presentation of works in progress.  A pragmatic focus on the nuts and bolts of the project will be complemented with life-after-Bard skills workshops, along with a review of internship and grant-writing opportunities in the discipline. Senior Colloquium is designed to create a productive network of association for student scholars and critics: small working groups foster intellectual community, providing individual writers with a wide range of support throughout this culminating year of undergraduate study in the major.  Class size: 25