Historical studies in the Comparative, English and American literature traditions are organized into sequences. Please notify the instructor if you need a sequence course in order to moderate in the fall of 2016.



LIT 204B

 Comparative Literature II

Joseph Luzzi

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 301



We will study the major theoretical and practical literary issues in the period c. 1600 to 1800. Our discussions will begin by examining the dialogue between poetry and the other arts of the Baroque, especially the music of Bach. Authors include Calderon, Equiano, Goethe, Manzoni, Montesquieu, Racine, and Wordsworth. As part of our sustained reflection on the role and reach and poetry, we will also examine the critique of Enlightenment rationality and rhetoric in the Romantic and Storm and Stress movements. A final goal will be to consider how the idea of “literature” itself underwent changes in this period of scientific, cultural, and political revolution. Class size: 18



LIT 204C

 Comparative Literature III

Marina van Zuylen

 T  Th     3:10 pm-4:30 pm

OLIN 203



Cross-listed:  French Studies, German Studies   Offered as the third installment of the Comparative Literature sequence, this course will explore some of the key issues in nineteenth and early twentieth century poetics. It will organize its readings around two opposing views: should literature carve for itself an autonomous place in the increasingly commercial world of publishing or should it be, as Balzac would have it, the scribbling secretary of the human condition, faithfully mirroring social and economic change? Readings from: Kant, Schlegel, Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Poe, Gogol. Dostoevsky, Balzac, Woolf, Bergson and Proust.  Class size: 22



LIT 250

 English Literature I

Marisa Libbon

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 304



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 the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf to Shakespeare’s 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 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: 18



LIT 252

 English Literature III

Natalie Prizel

 T  Th     3:10 pm-4:30 pm

HEG 308



Cross-listed: Victorian Studies  This course explores developments in British literature from the late eighteenth century to the twentieth century—a period marked by the effects of the French and American Revolutions, rapid industrialization, the rise and decline of empire, two world wars, the development of regional identities within Britain, and growing uncertainty about the meaning of "Britishness" in a global context. Beginning with verbal and visual Romanticism and ending with twenty-first century re-imaginings of a British past, we will discuss such issues as the construction of tradition and national identity, conservatism versus radicalism, class, race, gender, and empire, and the usefulness (or not) of periodization. The centerpiece of the course is close reading and close looking—of poetry, prose, essays, plays, art objects, and film. There will also be a strong emphasis on the historical and social contexts of the works we are reading, and on the specific ways in which historical forces and social changes shape and are at times shaped by the formal features of literary texts. Class size: 20



LIT 257

 American Literature I

Matthew Mutter

 T  Th     1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 202



Cross-listed: American Studies  This course explores the literature of colonial and antebellum America from the 17th to the mid 19th century. We will focus on the Puritan construction of the self and its legacy in American writing, the experience and imagination of colonization and slavery, and the tension between Enlightenment and religious understandings of state, society, and morality.  Class size: 22



LIT 260

 American Literature IV 1945-2001: “WheRe do we find ourselves?”

Elizabeth Frank

  W Th    11:50 am-1:10 pm

ASP 302



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: 18