Course

LIT 3025   Poetics Seminar: Experimental Composition

Professor

Joan Retallack

CRN

18263

 

Schedule

Tu                    4:00 -6:20 pm        Olin 203

Distribution

Literature in English

Cross-listed: Integrated Arts

Since “poesis”—the root of “poetics”—simply means “making,” the heart of poetic process and structure is composition. The same can be said of the structure of music. This course will operate as both seminar and laboratory, with particular attention to cross-pollinating traditions of experimentation in poetry, music, philosophy, and science. There will be in-class collaborations to design and test experimental frameworks and procedures as well as individual experimental projects. We will study work by many of the following: Stéphane Mallarmé,  Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein, John Dewey, John Cage, Neils Bohr, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Steve Reich, Alvin Lucier, Jackson Mac Low, Jonathan Skinner, Caroline Bergvall. Though this isn’t a survey course, the purview spans changing horizons of text and sound composition and performance over the last century up to the present. The presence of the John Cage Trust at Bard will give us a chance to study some of Cage’s varied and original approaches to composition. We will realize at least one of his scores. (There will be a number of poets, composers, and other visitors working with us.) Our analysis of aesthetic forms will include questions of value (poethics) as well as the relation of art forms to society and everyday life. Assignments: short, but incisive, essays; compositional projects of differing lengths and durations. A public performance of one Cage piece and selected class compositions will be scheduled toward the end of the semester. Prerequisites: at least one advanced course in poetry and/or music; one theory course in any area, or an independent interest in theory. Contact professor for permission to join the class: retallack@bard.edu. Maximum enrollment: 16

 

Course

LIT 3026   Polylingual Poetics: Pleasures and Pressures of Poetic Texts in Several Languages

Professor

Joan Retallack

CRN

18264

 

Schedule

Wed                1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 310

Distribution

Literature in English

This course is a practice-based seminar in which we’ll engage in intensively pleasurable / pleasurably intensive reading, writing, and translation of a variety of texts that are in many languages other than English, but also multiple forms of English (including Middle English) and polylingualism. As antidote to Anglo-American linguistic imperialism, we will notice and use the ambient polylingualism in which we actually live and explore many possible models of translation—uses and consequences—as well as other forms of conversation across languages. (Work in English will be translated too.) In the spirit of a long tradition of poets’ translation, much of the work of the class will be collaborative, as we draw on the language proficiencies represented by both students and invited consultants. All non-English poetry will be available in multiple translations as well as original texts.  Authors will include many of the following: Sappho, Catullus, Chaucer, Rimbaud, T.S. Eliot, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Valéry, Vincente Huidobro, Velimir Khlebnikov, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Federico García Lorca, Wallace Stephens, Louis and Celia Zukofsky, Kurt Schwitters, Wittgenstein, Lorine Niedecker, Anne Tardos, Jackson Mac Low. Essays on linguistics, translation theory, and philosophy of language will be discussed and there will be weekly writing assignments: short, but incisive, essays; poetry, and poetic translations; imitations, transphonations, and other transformational procedures. Everyone will be encouraged to experiment with bi- and polylingual writing. Maximum enrollment: 16

 

Course

LIT 3035   "Ideology" in Aesthetic Theory

Professor

Florian Becker

CRN

18070

 

Schedule

Tu                    4:00 -6:20 pm        Olin L.C. 208

Distribution

Literature in English

This seminar examines the concept of ideology in its relation to literature, art, and the task of their critique. What is ideology? How, and from what vantage point, can one distinguish between ideological and non-ideological forms of consciousness? What, if anything, makes a work of literature or art ideological? How, if at all, can a work of art or literature resist or critique ideology? In attempting to answer these questions, we will follow a central strand in German aesthetic thought that runs from Hegel to Habermas. We will also engage with recent non-Marxist thought about social norms and communicative action: Do such accounts attempt to do without a notion of ideology, or can they be used to clarify the concept? Core readings include Lukács, Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, and Wittgenstein. Supplementary readings may include Gramsci, Althusser, Parsons, Mead, Goffman, R. Geuss, and B. Williams. Of interest to students in literature, philosophy, art history, and social science.  Prerequisite: Seniors and Juniors only; please see instructor before online registration. Conducted in English. (A tutorial will be offered for students who wish to read selections from the core texts in the original German.) On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 3110   James Joyce's Ulysses

Professor

Terence Dewsnap

CRN

18037

 

Schedule

Tu                    4:00 -6:20 pm        Olin 101

Distribution

Literature in English

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. On-line registration

 

Course

CLAS / LIT 314   Ovid

Professor

Benjamin Stevens

CRN

18016

 

Schedule

Mon Wed        9:00 - 10:20 am     RKC 200

Distribution

Literature in English

See Classics section for description.

 

Course

LIT 3142   History and  Novel: Scott, Eliot, Hardy

Professor

Deirdre d'Albertis

CRN

18099

 

Schedule

Th                    9:30 - 11:50 am     Olin 301

Distribution

Literature in English

The nineteenth-century English novel takes as its grand preoccupation and theme the shaping power of history.  In this seminar, we will read three major figures who defined the novel—both in form and content—as deeply indebted to the historical imagination.  What privileged access does the novelist enjoy when representing historical forces and changes in fictional form?  How is history the sign under which the novel announces its own manifesto for realism? Texts under consideration include: Walter Scott’s Waverley, Old Mortality, and Heart of Midlothian; George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda; Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Well-Beloved.  Readings in historiography will complement our investigations of historical narrative. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT / ITAL  3205   Dante

Professor

Nina Cannizzaro

CRN

18073

 

Schedule

Tu                    4:00 -6:20 pm        Olin 310

Distribution

Literature in English

Cross-listed: Italian Studies, Medieval Studies

According to G. W. F. Hegel, the Divine Comedy invented the prototype of the literary technique on which the novel, i.e. the culminating genre of Western literature, would come to rely upon most: suspense. This is only one of myriad poetic innovations in Dante’s masterpiece. The course examines the array of influences underlying such innovation (Vergil, Ovid, Boethius, A. Daniel, Cavalcanti, Latini, and other works by Dante such as the Vita Nuova, Convivio, Letters and On Literature in the Vernacular), while reading the work against the general backdrop of medieval Christian culture. Themes include human vs. divine knowledge; linear history vs. circular time; revelation and faith; virtue and sin (contrappasso); allegory; the responsibilities of authorship and functions of genre. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 3209   Media and Conflict

Professor

Thomas Keenan

CRN

18040

 

Schedule

Tu                    1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 204

Distribution

Humanities

Cross Listing:  Human Rights Program

The seminar examines the role of representation and mediation in the experience of violence, war, and conflict. Why does it matter how conflicts are presented, in literature and the arts and the mass media? In spite of the apparently all-consuming character of the events themselves, it nevertheless does matter – and, perhaps strangely, to the participants most of all – how they appear in public. What sort of fight is the battle for public opinion, and with what means is it waged? What forms does it take?  We will explore the shifting line between violence and politics in order to construct, across a wide range of theoretical texts and frontline accounts and images, an analysis of the media in conflict.  The focus this semester will be on human rights and terror, with special attention to the jihadist online universe. Readings from Michael Ignatieff, Achille Mbembe, Talal Asad, Susan Sontag, Arjun Appadurai, Eyal Weizman, Elaine Scarry, among many others, and a multitude of exemplary readings and screenings from recent and contemporary conflicts. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 3217   The Tragic Heroine in the Western Imagination:  From Euripides to Tennessee Williams

Professor

Daniel Mendelsohn

CRN

18102

 

Schedule

Tu Th               1:00 -2:20 pm        Aspinwall 302

Distribution

Literature in English

Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies

The figure of the tragic heroine—suffering, abject, grandiose, vengeful, self-sacrificing, murderous, noble, alluring—has gripped the Western imagination for nearly thirty centuries, from the Homeric epics to 20th century theater, and raises a question that remains a compelling one today: Why do male authors focus so consistently on the representation of suffering females—often for the benefit of male audiences?  Through a series of close readings of representative texts (classical, medieval, Renaissance, Neo-Classical, Enlightenment, 19th and 20th century) in a number of genres (epic, tragedy, lyric, fiction, opera), this course will seek to explore the aesthetic nature and ideological roots of this cultural preoccupation. Close readings of texts will be accompanied by readings in theoretical materials and secondary scholarship; weekly showing of films will also be considered required material.

 

Course

LIT 3242   Contemporary Women Writers

Professor

Emily Barton Hopkins

CRN

18098

 

Schedule

Mon Wed Fr  12:00 -1:20 pm       Olin 310

Distribution

Literature in English

Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies

Though there have long been brilliant and influential women writers  (Sappho, Hildegard of Bingen, and Christine de Pizan are some good  early examples), for much of literary history their work has been  overshadowed by their more numerous and voluble male counterparts. In the study of English and American  literature, we see this balance begin to shift in the nineteenth  century, when writers like Jane Austen,  George Eliot, and Emily  Dickinson begin to appear as some of the most influential voices of  their respective generations. Now, in the early twenty-first century,  male and female authors stand on equal footing in the literary world,  yet the balance remains shifted slightly toward the study of male  authors in the academy. Contemporary Women Writers, then, will seek to  address this imbalance by devoting a semester to reading a wide  variety of American women fiction writers: some younger, some older;  some writing short fiction, others writing novels; some native to this  country, some immigrants; some writing traditional narrative, some  questioning the bounds of realist fiction. The list of authors may include short story writers Deborah Eisenberg, Amy Hempel, Edwidge  Danticat, Rishi Reddi, Kelly Link, and Judy Budnitz, and novelists  Marilynne Robinson, Allegra Goodman, Aoibheann Sweeney, and Marly  Youmans; we will focus primarily on authors students may not yet have  met in other courses or in their own reading (thus, we'll leave out  Toni Morrison, wonderful as she is). If departmental funding permits, we may have the opportunity to invite a few of these writers up to read for and speak with our class. Please note that this is not a course in feminist theory, nor will we have an explicitly political agenda; this seminar is primarily an opportunity to study, openly and in depth, a varied and interesting group of writers. Both male and female students are encouraged to enroll. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 3252   The Danger of Romance

Professor

Karen Sullivan

CRN

18105

 

Schedule

Fr                    1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 202

Distribution

Literature in English

Cross-listed:  Medieval Studies

Throughout its history, romance has been criticized for the effects it has upon its readers. Dante Alighieri’s Francesca ends up in Hell for eternity because she has read the romance of Lancelot, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote tilts after windmills because he has been reading romances, and Gustave Flaubert’s Emma Bovary veers into adulterous affairs because she has indulged in similar reading matter. The alternate world presented by romance—with its knights errant, beautiful princesses, fantastic animals, enchanted forests, and decentralized geography—can seem more attractive than our own mundane world and, in doing so, can threaten to distract us from this world and our responsibilities within it. Over the semester, we will be reading the major works of romance literature and, in doing so, will be considering the uncertain moral status of this genre. What function does romance play in our imaginative life? What is “escapism,” and is it necessarily undesirable? Is the danger of romance ultimately the danger of literature or even of the imagination itself? Texts to be read include classical epics and romances, such as those of Homer, Virgil, and Apuleius; medieval Arthurian romances and lays, such as those of Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France; and Renaissance romance epics, such as those of Ludovico Ariosto and Torquato Tasso, as well as some modern descendants of the romance tradition, including those of C. S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 328   Ideology and Politics in  Modern Literature

Professor

Justus Rosenberg

CRN

18049

 

Schedule

Tu                    9:30 - 11:50 am     Olin 301

Distribution

Literature in English

We examine how political issues and beliefs, be they of the left, right, or center, are dramatically realized in literature.  Works by Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, T.S. Eliot, Kafka, Thomas Mann, Brecht, Sartre, Malraux, Gordimer, Kundera, Neruda, and others are analyzed for their ideological content, depth of conviction, method of presentation, and the artistry with which these writers synthesize politics ad literature into a permanent aesthetic experience.  We also try to determine what constitutes the borderline between art and propaganda and address the question of whether it is possible to genuinely enjoy a work of literature whose political thrust and orientation is at odds with our own convictions.  The discussions are supplemented by examples drawn from other art forms such as music, painting, and film.

 

Course

LIT 3308   Reading and Writing the Hudson

Professor

Susan Rogers

CRN

18095

 

Schedule

Wed                1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 305

Distribution

Practicing Arts

Cross-listed: Environmental 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. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 331   Translation Workshop

Professor

Peter Filkins

CRN

18129

 

Schedule

Mon                1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 310

Distribution

Foreign Language, Literature, and Culture

The workshop is intended for students interested in exploring both the process of translation and ways in which meaning is created and shaped through words. It will explore the art of literary translation by focusing on style, craft, tone, and the array of options available to the literary translator in using translation as a tool for both interpreting textual origins and the performative shape of the translation itself. Class time will be divided between a consideration of the approach taken by various translators, theoretical articles on translation, and several of the students' own translations into English of poetry and prose from any language or text of their own choosing. Prerequisite: One year of language study or permission of  the instructor. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 3362   The Essay

Professor

Luc Sante

CRN

18096

 

Schedule

Th                    1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 307

Distribution

Literature in English

This course will consider the essay form as well as its style, with a particular focus on voice, viewpoint, and rhetorical technique. Intensive study will be devoted to word choice, cadence, and even punctuation, in the belief that even the most minute aspects of writing affect the impact of the whole. The goal is to equip students with a strong but supple command of their instrument, a Prerequisite for personal expression. There will be writing and reading (from Macauley to Didion) assignments each week, and exercises and discussion in class. On-line registration

 

Course

ITAL / LIT 339   Advanced  Renaissance Literature and  Thought

Professor

Nina Cannizzaro

CRN

18072

 

Schedule

Wed                1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 304

Distribution

Literature in English

See Italian section for description. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 3500   Advanced Fiction: The Novella

Professor

Mona Simpson

CRN

18097

 

Schedule

To be arranged                                     

Distribution

Practicing Arts

The first semester of a yearlong class, intended for advanced and serious writers of fiction, on the "long story" or novella form. Students will read novellas by Henry James, Flaubert, Chekhov, Flannery O'Connor, Allan Gurganus, Amy Hempel, and Philip Roth (and perhaps others) using these primary texts to establish a community of reference. We will discuss technical aspects of fiction writing, such as the use of time, narrative voice, openings, endings, dialogue, circularity, and editing, from the point of view of writers, focusing closely on the student's own work. The students will be expected to write and revise a novella, turning in weekly installments of their own work, and of their responses to the assigned reading.  The course will meet six times over the semester, dates to be announced.

 

Course

LIT 3801   Indian Fiction

Professor

Benjamin La Farge

CRN

18042

 

Schedule

Tu Th               2:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 309

Distribution

Literature in English

Cross-listed: Asian Studies, Studies in Race and Ethnicity

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, and possibly a memoir by Leonard Woolf. 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 Kiran Desai's The Inheritance f Loss, 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. On-line registration

 

Course

LIT 390   Contemporary Critical Theory

Professor

Nancy Leonard

CRN

18028

 

Schedule

Mon                1:30 -3:50 pm        Olin 308

Distribution

Humanities

Cross-listed:  Integrated Arts

During the last century major changes in the ways works of art and culture were conceived took place under the influence of modernism and poststructuralism. This course engages key texts, both classic and contemporary, in this transformation of our knowledge of language and representation.  Reading full-length studies or significant excerpts of major theorists, the seminar will introduce students to the aesthetics and ethics of modernist and postmodern debates about representation, and about the links between ethics, politics and language. Perspectives to be introduced include semiotics, deconstruction, Lacanian analysis, Foucauldian history, and arts theory.  Students will be working collaboratively as theorists, independently as writers, and collectively as members of the whole seminar. Theorists to be read include Walter Benjamin, Roland  Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Zizek, Hal Foster, and Judith Butler.  Admission by interview prior to registration; Upper College standing is assumed.  A  college course in philosophy, literary, cultural, political or arts theory is ordinarily a Prerequisite. Interview with Professor Leonard necessary before online registration. On-line registration