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. 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. 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.
Literature of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
LIT 3037 Refer to JST 3037 in Jewish Studies Courses for description.
French Caribbean Literature
LIT 3067 Refer to FRE 3067 in French Courses for description.
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
LIT 3141 / Sequence I
Refer to THP 3140 in Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
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.
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
LIT 3180 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
A team-taught course in British society and cultural development from World War I to the present, examined from the different perspectives of literature and history. Topics include war and social change, construction of class and gender, evolution of the state, intellectuals and politics, popular culture since 1945, feminism, and immigration and race. Readings in history and the works of such authors as Virginia Woolf are complemented by the viewing of films. Also offered as HIS 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. Also offered as CIN 3195.
Spanish and Latin American Cinema
LIT 3211 Refer to SPA 3211 in Spanish Courses for description.
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.
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.
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.
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. Also offered as SPA 3310.
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.
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
LIT 3366 Refer to HIS 3365 in History Courses for description.
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.
The Literature of Journalism
LIT 3374 Refer to JOU 3374 in Journalism Courses for description.
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.
LIT 3420 / 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly) / Sequence III
This sweeping view of modern poetry in English begins with the founders of poetic modernity in the mid-to-late 19th century (Whitman, Hopkins), includes the great modernists (Yeats, Stevens, Pound, Eliot, and many others), and moves up to the edge of the contemporary (Roethke, Bishop).
Modern and Postcolonial France
LIT 3424 / Sequence III
Refer to HIS 3424 in History Courses for description.
Teaching Good Prose
LIT 3455 Refer to LWR 3455 in Expository and College Writing Courses for description.
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
LIT 3495 / Sequence III
Refer to THP 3495 in Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
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.
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
LIT 3533 Refer to CIN 3533 in Cinema Studies Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.
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.
LIT 3575 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence III
An examination of the novels, short stories, and essays of Virginia Woolf.
Realism and Naturalism in U.S. Literature
LIT 3581 / 4 credits / Alternate years / Sequence II
Realism and Naturalism constitute a literary movement, a worldview, and a methodology that have flourished since the Civil War. Primary attention is given to fiction from Twain to Mailer, but one representative poet and one dramatist are also included.
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.
Modern Spanish Literature
SPA 3610 Refer to Spanish Courses for description.
Shakespeare and Film
LIT 3619 Refer to THP 3620 in Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
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. Also offered as JOU 3635.
Women Fiction Writers of the 20th and 21st Centuries
LIT 3653 / Sequence III
Refer to CWR 3653 in Creative Writing Courses for description.
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. 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.”
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. Also offered as FRE 3681 and CIN 3680.
Modern Novel of Latin America (in English)
LIT 3685 / Sequence III
Refer to SPA 3685 in Spanish Courses for description.
American Theatre in Our Time
LIT 3690 / Sequence III
Refer to THP 3690 in Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
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, Toni 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.
LIT 3705 / Sequence I / Taught in English
Refer to SPA 3705 in Spanish Courses for description.
Theatrical Representations of the Holocaust
LIT 3709 / Sequence III
Refer to JST 3709 in Jewish Studies Courses for description.
SPA 3710 / Sequence I / Taught in Spanish
Refer to Spanish Courses for description.
Classics of French Literature on Film
LIT 3711 Refer to FRE 3710 in French Courses for description.
Literature of the Holocaust
LIT 3725 / Sequence III
Refer to JST 3725 in Jewish Studies Courses for description.
Adapting Literature for Performance
LIT 3730 Refer to THP 3725 in Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
European Drama in Our Time
LIT 3751 Refer to THP 3750 in Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.
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
LIT 3785 Refer to LWR 3785 in Expository and College Writing Courses for description.
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.
Updated June 6, 2013
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