The Literature BA Program | Academic Requirements | Student Learning Outcomes | Minor in Literature | Courses Sequences for the Major and Minor | Courses: 1000–2999 | Courses: 3000–3999 | Courses: 4000–4999 | Faculty
Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
LIT 3003 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
Engages the question “Dostoevsky or Tolstoy?” through readings of some major works, emphasizing The Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina as examples of “dialogic” vs. “monologic” narratives.
Lesbian and Gay Poetry
LIT 3004 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A writing-intensive course in which students study the poetry of queer-identified writers through the lenses of sexuality, culture, identity, history, and poetic technique.
Formerly also offered as GND 3004.
Women and Film
LIT 3025 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Considers the intersections of sexual difference and cinema. Topics include theories of enunciation and sexual difference, female authorship and the idea of “women’s cinema,” gender and genre, woman as spectacle, the female spectator, and feminist film theory. Representations of sexual difference in films by selected male directors are studied as a means of examining the institution(s) of cinematic expression. The bulk of the course is devoted to studying women directors as they attempt to work within and against that institution.
Formerly also offered as CIN 3025 and GND 3025.
Literatures of the Mediterranean
LIT 3035 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
From ancient Greece and Rome, medieval Spain, and colonial North Africa to contemporary Latin Europe and the Middle East, the rich cultures of the Mediterranean have fascinated writers. A comparative survey of the literatures of the Mediterranean basin from Homer, Herodotus, St. Augustine, and Virgil to Flaubert, Maupassant, Vittorini, Goytisolo, and Camus.
Changed from JST to LIT prefix Spring 2016 (10/26/15); replaced by LIT 3047 Fall 2016 (2/04/16):
Literature of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
LIT 3037 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
What kinds of storytelling techniques do Israeli and Palestinian writers employ when they write about the conflict that has plagued their lands for generations? What commonalities and differences emerge when Israeli and Palestinian narratives are read together? Authors include Emile Habiby, Ghassan Kanafani, David Grossman, and Dahlia Ravikovitch. Hebrew and Arabic works are read in translation.
Formerly also offered as JTS 3037.
Added Fall 2016, replaces LIT 3037 (2/04/16):
Literature and Film of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
LIT 3047 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Explores a variety of literary and cinematic works that depict the conflicting points of view and the varied interests of contemporary Israeli and Arab writers and filmmakers. Students learn the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and then explore a variety of issues relating to it by reading the work of Amos Oz, David Grossman, Mahmood Darwish, and others. Films include Paradise Now (Hany Abu-Assad, 2005) and Lemon Tree (Eran Riklis, 2008).
French Caribbean Literature
FRE 3067 Refer to French Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3067.
Literature of the American West
LIT 3085 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
No American geographical fact is more significant than “the West”—less a place than an idea, an imaginative provocation. Many American writers have been provoked to represent the West, and students read from among their work, including such writers as Raymond Chandler, Sandra Cisneros, Jack London, Nathanael West, Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Willa Cather, and many poets.
Wright, Ellison, Baldwin
LIT 3090 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
Explores the “Wright School” as it is depicted in Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940) and as it is reflected/contested in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) and James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953) and Notes of a Native Son (1955). Students also explore, in individual or group projects, subsequent writings of the 1960s by these writers.
Immigration and Ethnicity in U.S. Literature
LIT 3093 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
We are “a nation of immigrants,” wrote John F. Kennedy. Beginning in the 1880s and continuing to the present, this course explores issues surrounding immigration, ethnicity, and nationality through the lens of immigrant writing. Students look at shifts and continuities over time and among diverse ethnic groups and explore how America creates ethnicity and immigrants create America.
Cervantes and European Narrative: The Rise of the Novel
LIT 3100 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Centers on close readings of Don Quixote and selected exemplary novels. Using Cervantes as a model text, the class attempts to define the “novel” as an evolving genre in European narrative.
Comparative 19th-Century Novel
LIT 3121 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
A study of four major novels, their respective national obsessions, and contrasting historical contexts (British: Dickens’ Great Expectations; American: Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter; French: Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet; Russian: Dostoevsky’s The Possessed). Texts are read in conjunction with historical background material.
Early Modern English Poetry
LIT 3127 / 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall) / Sequence I
An exploration of representative poems in English and associated poetical theories from the late medieval and early modern period (c. 1450–1660), including erotic and religious lyrics, epic and narrative poems, and the emergence of women poets. Poets studied include Wyatt, Spenser, Philip, Robert and Mary Sidney, Southwell, Greville, Ralegh, Shakespeare, Donne, Wroth, Herbert, and Crashaw.
Medieval English Literature
LIT 3140 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence I
Examines the literature of England written in French, English, and Latin from the Norman Conquest of 1066 (when England was taken over by a Francophone elite) to the 15th century. Epic, romance, history, and the literature of spiritual devotion are read in their literary relations and social contexts. All readings are in translation.
Medieval and Renaissance English Drama
THP 3140 / Sequence I
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3141.
LIT 3150 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence I
A study of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales for students who want an introduction to medieval studies and for those who wish to extend their knowledge of the Middle Ages.
Renaissance in England
LIT 3155 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence I
The principal nondramatic genres—lyric poetry, prose fiction, political theory, social commentary, religious devotion—of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, read in their social and cultural contexts.
Added Fall 2016 (2/05/16):
LIT 3157 / 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Alongside theoretical considerations of the novel as a form of rewriting (Bakhtin, Bloom, Landow, et al.), students consider the effects of Caryl Phillips, Maryse Conde, Zadie Smith, Mario Vargas Llosa, Louisa Hall, Kamel Daoud, and others in rewriting Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Madam Bovary, The Scarlet Letter, Mrs. Dalloway, The Stranger, and other master narratives.
Prerequisite: LIT 2450
Literature of the High Middle Ages
LIT 3160 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence I
Literature from the songs of the troubadours and the rise of romance to the work of Dante is examined in connection with movements in European intellectual life and social history. Readings are in translation.
British Culture and Society in the 20th Century
HIS 3180 / Sequence III
Refer to History Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3180.
The Vietnam War in U.S. Literature and Film
LIT 3195 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
Examines how literature and film shape people’s understanding of a war that is fading from living memory. Readings and screenings include memoirs, novels, short stories, documentaries, and Hollywood films about the U.S. war in Vietnam.
Formerly also offered as CIN 3195.
Added Spring 2015 (6/24/14):
Shakespeare and Philosophy
PHI 3205 / Sequence I
Refer to Philosophy Courses for description.
Spanish and Latin American Cinema
SPA 3211 Refer to Spanish Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3211.
South Asian Literature
LIT 3215 / 4 credits / Every year / Sequence III
Examines the emergence of national identity as represented in South Asian literature in the aftermath of colonialism. The class explores contemporary literary texts along with selected archival documents. Topics include nationalist literature, colonial discourse, and postcolonial fiction. Writers include Rukun Advani, Anita Desai, Mahasweta Devi, Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, and Salman Rushdie. Taught in English.
The Renaissance in Europe
LIT 3220 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence I
Considers the literature of the Italian Renaissance in connection with such movements as humanism and Neoplatonism. Readings include works by Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Castiglione, and Ariosto in translation, but work in the original language is encouraged when possible.
Literature of Decolonization in South Asia
LIT 3226 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
Explores the process of decolonization in the context of the emergence of India and Pakistan in South Asia and traces the origin of fundamentalism in this region. Students examine the impact that fundamentalism has on religious, regional, and class identity through the works of both literary and nonliterary writers (e.g., Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Nandy, Adiga, Sidhwa, Desai).
LIT 3250 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence I
One of the greatest English writers and the central poetic influence in the language, Milton is read in the context of the classical literary, political, and religious traditions that he inherited, disputed, and transcended. Special focus is on the relationship of “prophesy” and mythmaking to the radical and dissenting imagination.
Theories of Drama and Performance
THP 3250 Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
LIT 3265 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
Focuses on one of modernism’s most innovative fiction writers, Franz Kafka of Prague (1884–1924). Students explore the relationship of Jewish to European-Christian culture in Kafka’s work, the literary sources and historical contexts of his allegories, and the influential concept of the “Kafkaesque.” The goal is to become familiar with the multiple interpretations generated from works like The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika.
Added Spring 2015 (9/30/14):
Kafka to Roth
LIT 3266 / 4 credits / Special topic, offered irregularly / Sequence III
Post-war American Jewish writers introduced new subjects and styles—such as Kafkaesque paradoxes, immigrant humor, and Yiddish-inflected sentences—to the American literary tradition. The course begins with Kafka’s short stories and includes Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Stanley Elkin, Philip Roth, and Edith Pearlman.
The Age of Reason
LIT 3271 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence II
Examines the idea of reason in British literature from Dryden to Wollstonecraft. Readings include traditional genres and forms of writing that escape traditional literary taxonomies.
LIT 3275 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the genre of satire as it develops from classical Rome (Petronius) and the Renaissance to its modern versions. Satires by Swift, Pope, Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, and Gary Shteyngart target the follies and vices of political, religious, and artistic institutions and the hypocrisy, absurdity, and comedy of individuals.
Politics and Memoir
POL 3307 Refer to Political Science Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3307 (crosslisting reinstated Spring 2014).
Modern Poetry in the U.S. and Latin America
LIT 3310 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
The coming of age of poetry in the Americas through the work of the great modernists: Wallace Stevens, Vicente Huidobro, Ezra Pound, Cesar Vallejo, T.S. Eliot, Octavio Paz, William Carlos Williams, and Pablo Neruda. Taught in English. Latin American poets may be read in translation or in Spanish.
Formerly also offered as SPA 3310.
Reinstated Spring 2015 (5/15/14):
The 19th-Century Novel in the U.S.
LIT 3315 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence II
What constitutes the genre of the novel and its various subgenres? Which historical contexts most shaped the novel’s development, and how? What was the novel’s role in culture and society? This course asks these questions about the 19th-century novel in the U.S. In addition to many of the novels from the period, students read various theoretical and historical considerations of the novel.
The 19th-Century British Novel
LIT 3320 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence II
The novels of Austen, Dickens, the Brontës, Eliot, and Hardy in the political, intellectual, social, and cultural context of Britain and its empire in the 19th century.
LIT 3330 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
Examines the emergence of the Romantic imagination, the concept of the subject or self, and the plural nature of Romantic discourse in Wollstonecraft, Austen, and Wordsworth, among others. Topics explored include the writers’ diverse concepts of creativity and originality, sense of their place in society, notions of political identity, and relation to British literary traditions.
LIT 3340 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
Traces the evolution of Romanticism in the aftermath of the radical promise of the first generation of Romantic poets, through the prose writers who self-consciously documented their literary and cultural heritage, to the full flowering of such writers as Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Keats, and Emily Brontë.
Added Fall 2015 (12/24/14):
Romanticism and Modernism
LIT 3344 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the continuities of themes and paradigms between the Romantic and Modern periods in British literature. Topics include literary form and its relation to historical and social change; Empire; gender and sexuality; and the romantic fragment and modernist fragmentation.The goal of this advanced course is to enable students to recognize the narrative of British literature by witnessing its transmission.
Americans on the Move
LIT 3345 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
By studying migration in early 20th-century U.S. literature, this course examines the causes, costs, and consequences of relocation for immigrants to the U.S., expatriates to Europe, African-Americans to the North, workers to cities, and others out West. Major consideration is given to how real and imagined mobility across national, regional, class, ethnic, gender, and racial borders interrogates these boundaries.
Romanticism and Empire
LIT 3355 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence II
An advanced course examining the construction of India and other “Oriental” spaces in the British imagination during the first phase of imperialism in India (1757–1857). This period coincides with the Romantic movement in England; therefore, British Romanticism and also nonliterary writing in Britain during this period are considered in the context of Empire. Topics include otherness, difference, exoticism, transculturation, assimilation, and hybridity.
Global Modernity: Empire and its Aftermaths
HIS 3365 Refer to History Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3366.
LIT 3369 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence II
Victorian poetry against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world during a period that marked the high point of England’s global power. Writers include Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Arnold, and Hopkins.
Added Spring 2015 (8/27/14):
Lettered Cities: The Literatures of Latin American Cities
SPA 3370 / Sequence III
Refer to Spanish Courses for description.
The Literature of Journalism
JOU 3374 Refer to Journalism Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3374.
Literature of the Harlem Renaissance
LIT 3380 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
Examines racial pride, racial origins, and urban blacks through an exploration of essays, poems, short stories, and novels by writers of the period (1915–1930). Authors include Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, Nella Larsen, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston. Emphasis is on students’ written analysis of in-class and outside readings.
LIT 3415 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
Metafictions “radically call attention to their status as fictions.” They are hardly new, despite their association with “postmodernity”—Cervantes’ Don Quixote is an example of early metafiction. This course focuses on contemporary texts in the global context: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Murakami; The Hakawati, Alameddine; My Name is Red, Pamuk; Underworld, Delillo. Considerable experience with literature is helpful.
Description revised Spring 2015 (10/28/14):
LIT 3420 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
A study of modern poetry with a focus on T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, and others.
Modern and Postcolonial France
HIS 3424 / Sequence III
Refer to History Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3424.
Teaching Good Prose
LIT 3455 / 4 credits / Fall
Helping others to read and write better improves one’s own reading and writing dramatically. In this course, advanced students improve their own writing and gain tutoring experience by serving as peer tutors in first-year courses. Each student is attached to a College Writing section and serves as a peer mentor/tutor, attending classes and working closely with the instructor (approx. 2 to 4 hours weekly).
Formerly also offered as LWR 3455.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Contemporary British Drama
THP 3460 / Sequence III
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
LIT 3490 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
An examination of the style, production, and reception of Ulysses, one of the founding texts of modernist fiction. Students analyze the distinctive style of each chapter and examine the relationship of the book to political and cultural issues of the period and to other literary texts by Joyce and continental writers. Readings also include historical, cultural, and critical materials.
Goethe to Kundera
LIT 3491 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Traces the rebellious “Faust” myth in literature from Goethe, through Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons and the devils of Dostoevsky, Mann, and Gide, to Kundera’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting and the film Mephisto.
Black American Drama
THP 3495 / Sequence III
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3495.
The Black Arts Movement
LIT 3505 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the Black Arts Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, a multifaceted group of African American artists, writers, and musicians committed to creating politically charged, socially relevant art. The relationship of art and politics is addressed by looking at such figures as Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Malcolm X, Larry Neal, Faith Ringgold, John Coltrane, Sonia Sanchez, and the Last Poets, among others.
Gay and Lesbian Theatre and Performance
THP 3520 Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
The Civil War and the American Imagination
LIT 3530 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The Civil War, its antecedents in slavery, its aftermath in Reconstruction, its enduring resonance in our culture. Against a background of historical analysis, the course examines both nonfiction works—fugitive slave narrative (Douglass and Jacobs), diary (Mary Chesnut), and propaganda film (Birth of a Nation)—and works of fiction by Stowe, Melville, Faulkner, and Morrison.
“Race” and the White Literary Imagination in the U.S.
LIT 3531 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines perceptions of racial difference in literature by whites in the U.S., focusing primarily on the 19th century. The class reads recent historical and theoretical scholarship on categories of “whiteness,” “blackness,” and (Native American) “Indianness” and conducts research on 19th-century documents concerning slavery, Indian removal, and “scientific” inquiries into racial difference. Readings include Brown, Cooper, Poe, Stowe, Melville, Child, Twain, Dixon, and Faulkner.
Race and Representation: U.S. Literature and Film
CIN 3533 Refer to Cinema Studies Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3533.
LIT 3540 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
Detailed readings of the major essays, poetry, and journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the paradoxical central figure of American culture. The course addresses his powerful influence in literature, political ideology, rhetoric, religion, and popular arts.
Reinventing the American Renaissance
LIT 3541 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
In the 1940s, Emerson, Melville, Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Whitman were dubbed the undisputed fathers of American literature. The course explores how these authors became the nation’s cultural touchstones. Students also look at authors who were contemporaries of Emerson and company, asking: Why were they neglected for so long? What do they offer? How does the reader’s experience of the more “traditional” texts change when they are read next to the once-neglected texts?
Modern British Literature
LIT 3555 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
An exploration of how British writers have responded to the social, historical, and intellectual ferment of the 20th century. Authors studied may include as T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, W.H. Auden, Samuel Beckett, V.S. Naipaul, and Muriel Spark.
Added Spring 2014 (9/13/13); changed from JST to LIT prefix Spring 2016 (10/26/15):
Imagining America’s Yiddish World: Writings and Performance
LIT 3570 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Focuses on a variety of writings (memoirs, letters, fiction, poetry), theatre, and films depicting the Yiddish world of the Lower East Side, home to more than two million Eastern European Jewish immigrants between 1880 and 1920. Readings include selections from the work of a variety of authors, from Yiddish newspapers, films, and other cultural materials.
Formerly also offered as JST 3570.
LIT 3575 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
An examination of the novels, short stories, and essays of Virginia Woolf.
Description revised Fall 2016 (1/19/16):
Realism and Naturalism in U.S. Literature
LIT 3581 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
What is a realist novel? What does it do, how, and to what end? Students consider these issues by interrogating texts in their cultural contexts, exploring the authors’ critical writings, drawing links among novels, and analyzing their reception over time. Readings include works by William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Henry James, Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, and Ann Petry.
Childhood in U.S. Literature
LIT 3585 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores constructions and representations of childhood and adolescence in post–Civil War U.S. culture and fiction, focusing particularly on ideological linkages between nation and family and how these connections shape the experiences and writings of authors and educators across cultures. Readings may include works by Alger, Louisa May Alcott, Twain, Dewey, Adams, Riis, Yezierska, Fauset, Cisneros, and Rita Mae Brown.
LIT 3586 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores historical and theoretical constructions of childhood and literature written specifically for children. Issues considered include child development, family, sexuality, gender construction, nationalism, multiculturalism, fantasy, realism, and illustration. Readings include philosophical, psychological, and pedagogical theories of childhood, as well as books written for children. Particularly recommended for students interested in careers in education.
Women and Drama
THP 3600 Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
Added Spring 2015 (10/13/14):
Jazz and the Literary Imagination
LIT 3605 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
From hip-hop to Kerouac, jazz has influenced American culture through its improvisatory nature and capacious style. This course traces the jazz aesthetic (its early developments, definitions, and evolutions) across a range of novels, poems, and musical performances by writers and artists, including Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Billie Holiday, Gayl Jones, Louis Armstrong, Ralph Ellison, Thelonious Monk, and James Baldwin.
Modern Spanish Literature
SPA 3610 Refer to Spanish Courses for description.
Shakespeare and Film
THP 3620 Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3619.
LIT 3620 / 4 credits / Alternate years
The development of U.S. poetry. The course examines its major figures (Dickinson and Whitman from the 19th century; Stevens, Frost, and Williams from the 20th century) and surveys the “minor” poets. Provides an overview of contemporary poetry, as well as much practice in the close reading of poetic texts.
The Modern Latin American Novel
SPA 3630 / Sequence III
Refer to Spanish Courses for description.
LIT 3630 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
The major novels of Melville, as well as some of his poetry and several important shorter works of his fiction.
Reviewing the Contemporary Novel
LIT 3635 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An introduction to the contemporary novel and the art and practice of book reviewing. Students read exemplary novels (e.g., Cloud Atlas and Netherland); they read exemplary book critics (e.g., Zadie Smith and James Wood); and they write their own exemplary reviews of contemporary fiction. Writing assignments range from blog posts to newspaper-style reviews and magazine-style essays.
Formerly also offered as JOU 3635.
Women Fiction Writers of the 20th and 21st Centuries
CWR 3653 / Sequence III
Refer to Creative Writing Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3653.
American Women Writers
LIT 3665 / 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines several texts written by American women, including works by Radstreet, Wheatley, Rowson, Stowe, Dickinson, Jewett, Cather, Wharton, Hurston, Bishop, and Naylor. The question of whether there is a traceable female tradition during the past 350 years is addressed. Readings include feminist literary criticism and theory.
Formerly also offered as GND 3665.
LIT 3670 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
In this memoir-saturated time, it is important to recall that a person’s self-told story is one of the original and essential American literary genres. Students read autobiographical narratives from Puritan times to the present, from Ben Franklin to Annie Dillard, as writers struggle to control the construction of that most American of characters, “I.”
Added Spring 2015 (9/30/14):
LIT 3673 / 4 credits / Spring / Sequence II
An examination of the novels of Jane Austen. Topics include gender and authorship; irony, sympathy, and point of view; the marriage plot; and filmic adaptation.
LIT 3676 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An examination of short fiction as it emerged from the oral tradition of storytelling. Biblical tales and parables, Greek romance, saints’ lives, and the great story collections of medieval and early modern Europe are considered from a comparative perspective.
Surrealism and Its Legacy
LIT 3680 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
Surrealist literature, films, and art in France, Spain, and Latin America. Artists include Aragon, Breton, Buñuel, Césaire, Char, Dali, Eluard, and Lorca. Works are read in translation and lectures given in English; students with French and/or Spanish are encouraged to read in the original language.
Formerly also offered as FRE 3681 and CIN 3680.
Prefix changed from SPA, Fall 2015 (3/17/15):
Modern Novel of Latin America (in English)
LIT 3685 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
Major works of the most celebrated Latin American novelists, such as Cortàzar, García Márquez, Carpentier, and Guiraldes, emphasizing the cultural and social contexts from which these novels spring. Although this is a literature course taught in English, students with competent Spanish language skills are encouraged to read the works in the original and write their papers in Spanish.
Formerly also offered as SPA 3685 and LST 3686.
Reinstated Spring 2014 (9/11/13):
The Idea of Latin America
SPA 3687 Refer to Spanish Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3687.
American Theatre in Our Time
THP 3690 / Sequence III
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3690.
Contemporary U.S. Literature
LIT 3695 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
Novels, poems, and plays produced in the U.S. from World War II to the present. Focus is on the development of a postmodern aspect, and attention is concentrated on the flourishing literature of minority groups. Writers include Jack Kerouac, Thomas Pynchon, Louise Erdrich, ToPIn this memoir-saturated time, it is important to recall that a personni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Adrienne Rich, and Tony Kushner.
Contemporary Literatures in English:
Multicultural Britain and Postcolonial Global Culture
LIT 3696 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
Focuses on literature that responds to the characteristics of the contemporary English-speaking world: the breakup of British colonial empires that produced new literatures in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, and postwar exile and migration that gave rise to vibrant minority voices within Britain itself. Readings include such authors as Michelle Cliff, Salman Rushdie, and Caryl Phillips. Attention is also given to contemporary filmmakers like Hanif Kureishi and Mike Leigh.
The Latin American Short Story
SPA 3700 Refer to Spanish Courses for description.
Theatre and Revolutions
THP 3700 Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
SPA 3705 / Sequence I / Taught in English
Refer to Spanish Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3705.
Theatrical Representations of the Holocaust
JST 3709 / Sequence III
Refer to Jewish Studies Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3709.
SPA 3710 / Sequence I / Taught in Spanish
Refer to Spanish Courses for description.
Classics of French Literature on Film
FRE 3710 / Sequence III
Refer to French Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3711.
Literature of the Holocaust
LIT 3725 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
Despite the imperative to accept shocked silence as the most appropriate response to the Nazi genocide, the Holocaust experience has inspired a powerful and eloquent body of literary expression, especially in fiction and poetry. This course considers some of the significant authors and texts that constitute the literature (e.g., Appelfeld, Schwarz-Bart, Wiesel, Singer, Borowski, and Wallant).
Formerly also offered as JST 3725.
Prerequisite: WRI 1110 or permission of instructor
Adapting Literature for Performance
THP 3725 Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3730 and LWR 3730.
Added Spring 2015 (9/30/14); replaced by LIT 3745 Spring 2016 (9/22/15):
LIT 3735 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
“Who am I?” This course examines the ways this question is asked in a range of autobiographical forms and practices—autobiography proper, essay, memoir, graphic memoir, self-portraiture, performance—in works produced over the last half century. In addition to autobiographical texts and images, readings include a few key critical or theoretical essays about autobiography and self-fashioning.
Added Spring 2016, replacing LIT 3735 (9/22/16):
Identity and Self-Fashioning
LIT 3745 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
“Who am I?” This course explores the ways this question is addressed in a range of autobiographical forms and practices—autobiography proper, essay, memoir, graphic memoir, self-portraiture, performance, film—in works produced over the last half century. In addition to autobiographical texts and images, readings include a few key critical or theoretical essays about autobiography and self-portraiture.
European Drama in Our Time
THP 3750 / Sequence III
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3751.
Poetry and the Avant-Garde
LIT 3755 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
The notion of the “new” in poetry and art is examined. Students read a range of poetry written in the late 19th century through the 1940s in France, Germany, Spain, Latin America, and the U.S., and explore ways in which expressive novelty is linked to particular cultural and social situations. Along with the poems and some visual art, some contemporary texts that advance theories of the “avant-garde” are considered.
The Personal Essay
WRI 3785 Refer to Expository and College Writing Courses for description. Formerly also offered as LIT 3785.
Modern British Novel
LIT 3816 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
The British novel—in Britain and beyond—in the “long 20th century” from 1880 to the present. Such authors as Woolf, Forster, Naipaul, and Rushdie, among others, are examined.
British Poetry I: Beginnings to the 1650s
LIT 3825 / 3 credits / Alternate years / Sequence I
An examination of the development of the British poetic canon in its literary and historical context. The development of lyric poetry is discussed in the context of changing reading practices and uses of literacy, and the multiple relations between literary artistry and the social world.
The Modern Novel
LIT 3839 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
Considers works of fiction that represent “modernity” as social, ethical, and/or individual crisis. The course explores overlapping modernist prose styles from romanticism to surrealism and concludes with a “postmodern” novel.
Added Spring 2016 (9/22/16):
Zora Neale Hurston
LIT 3845 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
Examines Hurston’s novels, short stories, plays, and essays alongside archival recordings and visual media. Discussions cover Hurston’s influential role in shaping conversations around race, class, and gender in the 20th century and her impact on other writers, including Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison.
Added Spring 2015 (9/30/14); description modified Fall 2015 (7/22/15):
Literature Junior Seminar
LIT 3890 / 1 credit / Spring
For all literature majors who are beginning their senior projects in the fall, this course is an introduction to the process. Students examine what makes a good senior project, develop topic proposals and bibliographies, and begin the work that will set them on track for completing a meaningful and successful project.
Added Fall 2014 (3/11/14):
Literature of War
LIT 3940 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the central role of war in Western literature, with a concentration on English and American texts.
Updated Feb. 5, 2016
For course schedules: