Course

LIT 2021   Mark Twain

Professor

Elizabeth Frank

CRN

16073

 

Schedule

Wed            3:00  -4:20 pm     PRE 101

Th               1:00  -2:20 pm     PRE 101

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

In this course on one of the United States’ wittiest and most renowned literary figures, students will do individual research and make class presentations on Mark Twain’s major works, including, but not restricted to Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, Life on the Mississippi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, Letters from the Earth and The Mysterious Stranger. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor and one U.S. sequence course or a course in either American Studies or American history. Students wishing to register online should contact the instructor ahead of time at frank@bard.edu.  On-line

 

Course

LIT 2154   Dark Comedy: Humor in African American Literature

Professor

Mathew Johnson

CRN

16141

 

Schedule

Wed Fr       10:30  - 11:50 am OLIN 202

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

Cross-listed:  Africana Studies, American Studies, SRE

In Dark Comedy, students will examine the use of humor, particularly satire, as a tool in African American literature for identifying and deconstructing the absurdities of race, assimilation, and historic memory. We will begin with the newly emboldened writers of the Harlem Renaissance, reading both George Schuyler and Wallace Thurman’s distorted, fly-on-the-wall critiques of the movement, and then see how their political comedy was furthered by Ralph Ellison with Invisible Man. Through the humorous mythic yarns of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, as well as Charles Johnson’s Ox-Herding Tale, we will identify how African and southern American folklore informed the modern comic tradition. Using Chester Himes’s Pinktoes and Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, we’ll explore the relation of gender and status to the choice of satire. With Trey Ellis’s Platitudes, Paul Beatty’s White Boy Shuffle, and Percival Everett’s Erasure, we will attempt to identify not only why a disproportionate percentage of Black America’s strongest writers have continued to be drawn to the satiric form over the last three decades, but also what similarities their messages might have. On-line

 

Course

LIT 2158   Modernist Poetry & Painting

Professor

Karin Roffman

CRN

16145

 

Schedule

Mon Wed   3:00  -4:20 pm     OLIN 205

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

This course will investigate the historical and literary context behind Wallace Stevens's late modernist declaration that "the poet…is in rapport with the painter."  We will follow the development of poets' thoughts about paintings and painters from the Symbolists through the Abstract Expressionists.  The class will focus on the works, ideas, and the intellectual and artistic collaborations of six poets: Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, Frank O'Hara, and John Ashbery.  We will consider ekphrastic works (for example, how these poets described paintings), details of friendships between poets and painters, and we will also examine letters and essays about how poetry and painting influenced each other in the first few decades of the twentieth century.  We will study a few of the artistic "isms" such as Symbolism, Cubism, Futurism, Imagism, Vorticism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism by revisiting the spaces that inspired discussions, essays, and poems about the relationship between poetry and painting, including Gertrude Stein's Paris salon, Stieglitz's Gallery 291, Walter Arensberg's Central Park West apartment, the 135th Street Library, and the important armory shows and exhibitions between 1910 and 1920.  Other writers and painters studied will include: Paul Cezanne, Charles Demuth, H.D., Aaron Douglas, Marcel Duchamp, Juan Gris, Marsden Hartley, Wassily Kandinsky, Alfred Kreymborg, Wyndham Lewis, Henri Matisse, Stếphane Mallarmế, John Marin, F.T. Marinetti, Barnett Newman, Georgia O'Keefe, Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound, Man Ray, Mark Rothko, Charles Sheeler, and Paul Valếry.

Course

LIT 2159  Into the Whirlwind: Literary Greatness and Gambles under Soviet Rule

Professor

Jonathan Brent

CRN

16312

 

Schedule

Th               7:00  -9:20 pm     OLIN 202

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

Cross-listed: Russian StudiesThis course will examine the fate of the literary imagination in Russia from the time of the Revolution to the stagnation of the Brezhnev period.  We will look at the majestic, triumphant imaginative liberation in writers such as Isaac Babel, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Mandelstam and Mikhail Bulgakov; the struggle with ideology and the Terror of the 1930s in Yuri Olesha, Anna Akhmatova, Lidia Chukovskaya, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Varlam Shalamov, Boris Pilnyak and Yuri Tynyanov; the hesitant Thaw as reflected in Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago; and the course will conclude by reading Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and  Moscow to the End of the Line, by Venedikt Erofeev. Readings of literary works will be supplemented with political and historical documents to provide a sense of the larger political-social-historical context in which they were written. After the violent, imaginative ebullience of the Revolutionary period, how did literature stay alive during the darkest period of mass repression, censorship and terror when millions of Soviet citizens were either imprisoned or shot?  What formal/aesthetic choices did these writers make in negotiating the demands of official ideology and Party discipline, on the one hand, and authentic literary expression, on the other?  What image of history and of man did these “Engineers of human souls” produce?  These are some of the questions we will ask and seek to answer.  All readings will be in English.

 

Course

LIT 2162   Fictional Writers and the Russian Metatext

Professor

Jennifer Day

CRN

16166

 

Schedule

Mon Wed   1:30  -2:50 pm     ASP 302

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

Cross-listed: Russian Studies

Fiction in which the main character is a writer, or in which the narrator refers explicitly to the process of writing, often takes on a self-referential function. What does it mean to write about writing? What can a fictional text whose subject is fictional texts tell us about the potential of language as a self-shaping tool, or about the role of art in a given cultural context? In this course we will employ such metatextual questions as a way to guide our study of fiction by major Russian authors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In reading Russian novels and stories that admit and examine the very process of their own creation, we will be in a unique position to explore notions of selfhood and to trace ways in which Russians have understood themselves best precisely through reading and writing. We will use literary theories on genre, irony, aesthetics and the reader-writer-character triangle in our linkage of construction of self to construction of text, particularly in fiction that experiments with forms such as the fictional diary or the complex frame narrative. Authors to be read include Pushkin, Lermontov, Dostoevsky,  Chekhov, Zamyatin, Bulgakov, and Nabokov,. Conducted in English.  On-line

 

Course

LIT 2163   Innuendo

Professor

Nancy Leonard

CRN

16458

 

Schedule

Tu  Th  1:00 – 2:20 pm  OLIN 310

Distribution

OLD: A / B

NEW: Literature in English

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.  On-line

 

Course

LIT 223   Cultural Reportage

Professor

Peter Sourian

CRN

16006

 

Schedule

Tu    4:00  -6:20 pm   OLIN 309 OR PRE 101

Distribution

OLD: B/F

NEW: Practicing Arts

For the self‑motivated student interested in actively developing journalistic skills relating to cultural reportage, particularly criticism. The course stresses regular practice in writing reviews of plays, concerts, films, and television. Work is submitted for group response and evaluation. College productions may be used as resource events. Readings from Shaw's criticism, Cyril Connolly's reviews, Orwell's essays, Agee on film, Edmund Wilson's Classics and Commercials, Susan Sontag, and contemporary working critics. Enrollment limited, but not restricted to majors.  On-line

 

Course

LIT 2312   Louisiana

Professor

Karen Sullivan

CRN

16046

 

Schedule

Tu Th          10:30  - 11:50 am OLIN 101

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

Cross-listed: French Studies

This course will be considering Louisiana, not just as a place, but as an idea. What does Louisiana (and New Orleans in particular) mean in the American imaginary? How did the various populations distinctive to this region—the Creoles, the Cajuns, the “Americans,” the free people of color, among others—help define this meaning? The history of this region is a history of traumatic changes, from its sale to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, to its defeat in the Civil War, to the turbulence of Reconstruction, to the introduction of Jim Crow, to the cholera and yellow fever epidemics, to the flood of 1927, to the oil boom and bust of recent decades, to Hurricane Katrina this summer. How has the idea of Louisiana (and New Orleans) persisted through all of those crises? We will start out reading the first French accounts of Louisiana, then turn to works by George Washington Cable, Kate Chopin, William Faulkner, Lafcadio Hearn, Zora Neale Hurston, Louis Armstrong, Tennessee Williams, and Walker Percy.  On-line

 

Course

LIT 2501   Shakespeare

Professor

Geoffrey Sanborn

CRN

16174

 

Schedule

Wed Fr       1:30  -2:50 pm     OLIN 303

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

The core of the course will be the close reading of nine plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV part I, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest. This will be both rich and insufficient: ideally, the reading list would be longer and we would actually go to the plays. But as Shakespeare himself points out again and again, nothing is sufficient. We will assiduously supplement our experience of the nine plays with films, in-class performances of scenes, biography, and criticism, in an effort to go to what Shakespeare gives us. We will not be able to help drawing him toward our language, our culture, our moment in history, but we will do everything we can to move in the other direction as well. No prerequisites. Requirements: three papers, two in-class performances, and pre-class postings on a web forum. On-line

 

Course

LIT 2882   Different Voices, Different Views

Professor

Justus Rosenberg

CRN

16395

 

Schedule

Mon Wed   10:30  - 11:50 am OLIN 107

Distribution

OLD: B

NEW: Literature in English

A close reading of selected plays, poems, and short stories by contemporary authors from North, West and South Africa, Egypt, India and China.  These works are analyzed for their intrinsic literary merits and the verisimilitude with which they portray the social conditions and political problems in the respective countries.  We examine the extent to which their writers have been drawing on native traditions or been affected by extraneous artistic trends, or belief systems such as Christianity, Islam, Marxism, Democratic Socialism. Authors include: Assia Djebar, Sembéne Ousmane, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nawal Saadawi, Chinua Achebe, Naguib Mahfouz, Tayeb Salih, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, R.K. Narayan, Mahasveta Devi, and Salman Rushdie.