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Comparative Literature Courses
Fall 2014



Any literature course in any language, including English, at the 3000 level or above
counts towards the Comparative Literature major or minor.


CPLT 2010  History of European Literature I   

Tu Th 2:00-3:15

Walter Jost

This 4-credit course surveys European literature from its origins in Ancient Greece and Rome into the European Renaissance.  As a course in literary history, it seeks to develop an understanding of period concepts, such as Republican Rome, Medieval and Renaissance, as well as concepts of genre, such as epic, tragedy, and comedy.  Readings, sometimes in the form of selections, include: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and Euripides' The Bacchae, Virgil's Aeneid, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, the Inferno from Dante's Divine Comedy, several of Montaigne's Essays, Hamlet, and Don Quixote. All foreign language works will be read in English translation. 
Requirements: three papers and a final examination.  There are two lectures and one 50-minute section meeting per week.  This course satisfies the Second Writing Requirement, and 3 hours of it can be counted toward the English major under the "literature in translation"
Also, under the ENGL 2010 rubric, this course can be used in lieu of an ENLT course as the pre-requisite for the English major.


GETR 3590/CPLT 3590 Guilty Secrets:  Literature and Its Politics

TR 1230-1345

Benjamin Bennett

The course will approach directly the question of why it is often difficult to “understand” a literary work.  Is obscurity a necessary or an accidental quality of literary works?  Does it belong inherently to a particular work or does it arise only in the process of interpretation?  What is the political dimension of this whole area of thought?  The course will begin with several texts of Kafka that appear to suggest relatively cynical answers to these questions, but in the end only generate further questions.  Works discussed in the course will be mainly poems, short plays, and short prose works.  Authors treated will include Shakespeare, Eliot, Rimbaud, Goethe, Melville, Rilke, e.e. cummings, Hölderlin, Ionesco, Jarry, Kokoschka, Beckett.  Space will be left in the syllabus for texts suggested by the students.  All non-English texts will be read in English translation.


GETR 3710/ (3) Kafka and his Doubles                                              
CPLT 3710         11:00-12:15 TR                                                                     

Ms. Martens

The course will introduce the enigmatic work of Franz Kafka:  stories including "The Judgment," "The Metamorphosis," "A Country Doctor," "A Report to an Academy," "A Hunger Artist," "The Burrow," and "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk"; one of his three unpublished novels (The Trial); The Letter to His Father; and some short parables.  But we will also look at Kafka's "doubles":  the literary tradition he works with and the way in which he, in turn, forms literary tradition.  Thus:  Kafka: Cervantes; Kafka: Bible, Kafka: Aesop; Kafka:  Dostoevsky; Kafka: Melville; Kafka: O'Connor; Kafka: Singer; Kafka: Calvino, Kafka: Borges.  Readings will center on four principal themes:  conflicts with others and the self (and Kafka's psychological vision);  the double; the play with paradox and infinity; and artists and animals.  Requirements include a short midterm paper (5-7 pages) and a longer final paper (10-12 pages).


Courses of Special Interest to Comparative Literature Students


GETR 3590 The Frankfurt School and Its American Legacy

TR 12.30pm-1.45pm  New Cabell Hall 338

Volker Kaiser

This course will introduce students to the very rich tradition of the so-called Frankfurt School, which is also known as the Institute of Social Research. Founded in the 1920ties in Germany, it was designed as an interdisciplinary research center which sought to read and analyze cultural phenomena from a socio-historical and historico-materialist perspective. We will take a closer look at the main figures associated with the Frankfurt School (such as Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin and later on Habermas and Honneth), and we will also look at the impact which the Frankfurt School had on and in the American academy (names like Jameson, Fraser and Jay come to mind) during and after the period of its exile between 1933 and 1948 in the US. Also known as "critical theory" the works and writings produced by Frankfurt School scholars have had a lasting impact even on current research practices in the humanities.
This course requires no prerequisites. We will attempt to create a student based, interactive classroom. Students will be asked to present and introduce texts, authors and materials on their own or in groups, and they will be asked to write 4 shorter papers in the course of the semester. The course meets the second writing requirement.



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