LITERATURE SEQUENCE COURSES: 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 2017.



LIT 204B

 Comparative Literature II

Marina van Zuylen

 T  Th     3:10 pm-4:30 pm




This course will span literary texts from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth century in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.  It will examine Humanism's impact on the formation of selfhood; the crisis of authority in Spanish and French classical drama; the influence of Commedia dell'Arte on Italian theater; and idealist philosophy on the emergence of German Romanticism.  We will dwell on the invention of autobiography, Cartesian and anti-Cartesian body-mind duality, the waning conception of heroism, the Enlightenment and its enemies, and comedy's role in bringing the everyday to the center of the literary experience. Authors will include Montaigne, Castiglione, Molière, Madame de la Fayette, Goldoni, Sor Inés de la Cruz, Descartes, Rousseau, Schiller, and Goethe.  This course counts as pre-1800 offering. Class size: 22



LIT 204C

 Comparative Literature III

Eric Trudel

M  W       3:10 pm-4:30 pm




This course examines the peculiar and perplexing Euro-American literary transformation loosely named Romanticism to Modernity. Reading selected texts by a limited number of authors very carefully, we will emphasize the relation between the self and others, as it happens in language: what is it to meet others in words? How do actions and obligations emerge and change out of encounters in language? How does what we think or know get linked with what we do, if it does? And how does language sustain or bear with non-human others: ideas, the dead, memories, and so on? Readings from Apollinaire, Balzac, Baudelaire, Chekhov, Dostoesky, Flaubert, Goethe, Gogol, Hoffmann, Hofmannsthal, James, Kafka, Lautréamont, Mallarmé, Novalis, Rilke, Schlegel, Schiller, Wilde and Woolf.   Class size: 22



LIT 250

 English Literature I

Marisa Libbon

M  W       1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 107



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 Beowulf to Shakespeare’s The 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 selections from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Domesday Book; 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     11:50 am-1:10 pm

OLIN 101



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: 22



LIT 257

 American Literature I: Amazing grace – the puritan legacy in american literature and culture

Elizabeth Frank

  W Th    10:10 am-11:30 am

ASP 302



Cross-listed: American Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies; Religion  Writings from the first three generations of Puritan settlement in seventeenth-century Massachusetts are closely examined not only in relation to each other but also to later American texts bearing persistent traces of Puritan concerns.  We will explore such essential Puritan obsessions as the authority of divinely authored Scripture, original sin, predestination, election, free grace, "the city on a hill," and covenanted relations between mankind and God.  Our focus will be on the rich and fertile complexity, as well as the problematic features of Puritan belief and rhetoric as they find expression in Puritan writings.  We will look at Pauline theology, Puritan plain style and metaphor, and the Puritan construction of the radically individual American self.  Authors include notable Puritan divines, poets, historians and citizens, as well as later writers, among them Jonathan Edwards, Washington Irving, Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Robert Lowell and Martin Luther King, Jr.   Class size: 22



LIT 260

 American Literature IV

Matthew Mutter

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 101



Cross-listed: American Studies  This course is an examination of American literature from the end of WWII to our current cultural moment. The course will explore the fortunes of classic American ideals in this era and the role of literature in articulating, galvanizing, or criticizing the various social and political upheavals (WWII and Vietnam, suburbanization, the Civil Rights and feminist movements, the expansion of consumer culture, the sexual revolution, 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) that marked this period. We will also investigate the distinct aesthetic and formal characteristics that distinguish this literature, which will allow us to develop an understanding of “postmodernism,” “confessionalism,” “Afrofuturism” and “The New Journalism,” as well as the literary and existential values of irony, sincerity, and authenticity. The course will likely include fiction from James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Octavia Butler, Don DeLillo, Jhumpa Lahiri, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, Flannery O’Connor, Marilynne Robinson, and Philip Roth, and poetry from John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop and Frank O’Hara to Michael Palmer and Jorie Graham.

Class size: 22