“World Literature” courses explore the interrelations among literary cultures throughout the world. They pay special attention to such topics as translation, cultural difference, the emergence of diverse literary systems, and the relations between global sociopolitical issues and literary form.



LIT 2027

 20th CENTURY Latin American Poetry

Melanie Nicholson

 T Th    3:10 pm-4:30 pm



Cross-listed:  LAIS   Poetry in Latin America has often followed a much more ideological, “popular,” and emotionally accessible trajectory than poetry in North America. This course will trace the development of that poetry rooted in the pueblo—as well as its avant-garde, hermetic, or philosophical counterpart—from the Colonial period to the present day.  Certain early figures such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Mexico) will be examined.  However, the majority of the course will focus on twentieth-century poetry, with particular attention paid to Nobel Prize winners Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz. Class discussions, while emphasizing a close reading of the primary texts, will also examine those texts within historical, social, and political contexts.  Conducted in English, with an optional tutorial for those students wishing to read and discuss the poetry in Spanish.  This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 15



LIT 2060

 Modern Arabic Fiction

Elizabeth Saylor

 T Th    3:10 pm-4:30 pm



Cross-listed: Africana Studies, Human Rights, Middle Eastern Studies  In this course, we read a group of Arabic novels and short stories from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, and the wider Arab diaspora. Through this sampling of texts – in addition to accompanying critical literature, films, lectures, and discussion – students will gain a broad-based understanding of the history of Arabic literature, including its formal developments, genres, and themes. The selected texts provide an opportunity for the discussion of colonialism and post-colonialism, globalization, occupation and liberation, religion vs. secularization, Orientalism and Neo-Orientalism, Islam and the West, and gender and women issues. A critical stance toward the dominant narratives of Arabic literary history – especially that of the Arabic novel’s origin and development – calls into question the accepted canon of modern Arabic literature and the subjective processes of literary canonization generally speaking. Frequent written assignments and active class participation are required. Taught in English. This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 22



LIT 2159


Literary Greatness and Gambles

Jonathan Brent

 F          3:00 pm-5:20 pm

OLIN 202


Cross-listed: Russian & Eurasian  Studies This 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. This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 22



LIT 2185

 THE Politics AND Practice OF CultURAL ProdUCTION IN mENA

Dina Ramadan

M W      3:10 pm-4:30 pm



Cross-listed: Human Rights;  Middle Eastern Studies    The politics and practice of cultural production in the Middle East and North Africa can provide for a complicated and multifaceted understanding of the region. This course will draw upon a series of thematic case studies, beginning with European colonialism in the late 19th century to today’s contemporary globalized context that illustrate how cultural production can be read as a form of documentation, resistance, and potential intervention to a range of prevailing narratives. Topics covered include tradition and modernity, the rise (and fall) of nationalism, narrating war, the role of the state, and the performance gender. Interdisciplinary in its approach, this course will ask students to apply the historical and theoretical frameworks provided through the lectures and readings, to a close examination of a range of texts including novels (Sonallah Ibrahim, Assia Djebar), films (Jackie Salloum, Tahani Rached), music (Oum Kalthoum, Dam, Sami Yusuf), and blogs (Riverbend, Hometown Baghdad) from across the region including Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine/Israel, Algeria, Iran and Turkey. This course will be accompanied by a film series.  This course is part of the World Literature offering.

Class size: 22



LIT 2704

 German Literature in 7 Dates

Thomas Wild

 T Th    4:40 pm-6:00 pm

OLIN 201


Cross-listed: German Studies  This course offers seven relevant access points to German literature and history between the 18th and 21st centuries. The starting points of these explorations will be dateable events, such as January 1774 when Goethe establishes his literary fame after six somnambulant weeks of writing The Sorrows of Young Werther, or November 1949 when Hannah Arendt first revisits Germany after the Second World War. A date is the temporal center around which a singular work crystallizes. The constellation of dates this course creates will also reflect on pivotal (German) traditions of conceiving history itself (Nietzsche, Benjamin). Readings further include Kant's What is Enlightenment?, Goethe's Faust, Büchner's Danton’s Death, Rosa Luxemburg's writing on revolution, as well as Hungerangel by the German Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller. The compendium  A New History of German Literature (2004) will furnish apposite background reading. Taught in English. This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 22



CLAS 316

 THE Epic in European Literature FROM HOMER TO MILTON

Daniel Mendelsohn

 T          1:30 pm-3:50 pm

OLIN 301


Cross-listed: Literature  A grasp of epic poetry--its techniques, themes, structure, and ideology--is fundamental to the understanding of the European literary tradition. This course will examine the evolution of the epic from Homer (8th c. BCE) to Milton's "Paradise Lost" (1667). The first half of the semester will be devoted to the Classical epic: Iliad, Odyssey, Theogony, Argonautika, De Rerum Natura, Aeneid, Metamorphoses. The second half will trace the epic across the map of Europe: Beowulf (8th-10th c. CE), the Chanson de Roland (11th c.), the Niebelungenlied (13th c), the Divine Comedy (14th c) Orlando Furioso (16th c.), and Milton. Special attention will be paid to the long tradition of European epic as a vehicle for exploring tensions between European and non-European cultures. Most texts will be read in their entirety.  This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 16



LIT 3045

 Irish Writing AND THE Nationality of LitERATURE

Joseph O'Neill

M          11:50 am-2:10 pm

OLIN 301



Cross-listed: Irish and Celtic Studies  In this course, students will read so-called Irish writing as a means of investigating the general notion that literary texts may possess the attribute of nationality. How is 'Irishness' to be located in a text? What is the function of the term 'Irish' when applied to a piece of writing? In what ways does the idea of 'nationality' (or 'ethnicity,' or 'community') connect the literary, juridical, and political realms? What does artistic discourse have to do with political ethics? What might a post-national literature involve?  Students will read artistic work by (inter alia) Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth,  J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce,  Flann O'Brien, Samuel Beckett, and Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Bowen, Brian Friel. Theoretical work by (inter alia) Rudolf Rocker, John Rawls, Noam Chomsky, and Benedict Anderson will be touched on.  This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 15



LIT 3101

 The Roman Poetry Book

Lauren Curtis

 Th       4:40 pm-7:00 pm

OLIN 309


Cross-listed: Classical Studies; Experimental Humanities  This course examines the invention of a phenomenon central to modern literary life: the poetry book. First adopted in the ancient Greek-speaking world and further developed among poets at Rome, the book and its textual, material form led readers and writers to reimagine the relationship between literary media and poetic meaning. Thus, they initiated a process of creative experimentation and a series of questions surrounding the interrelationship of technology and poetic expression that continue today in the print and digital age. Beginning with the shift from song traditions to book culture in the Greek world, our reading will then focus on several Roman books that take the medium in different directions: Catullus’ “little book,” Virgil’s Eclogues, Propertius’ books of elegies, Horace’s lyric Odes, Ovid’s poetry of love and exile, and Statius’ collection of Silvae. We will explore how the form and idea of the book intersect with ongoing literary conversations about monumentality and evanescence; performance, ritual and the archive; personhood and ventriloquism; defectiveness and beauty; and the poet’s construction of a relationship with literary tradition and with readerships present and future. All readings will be in English.  This course is a literature junior seminar.  This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 15