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Comparative Literature Courses
Spring 2013



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


Courses of Special Interest to Comparative Literature Students

CPLT 2020/ENGL 2020 History of European Literature
0200-0315 MW - Clark 108
Instructor: Walter Jost

This course surveys European literature from the seventeenth century to the present.  As a course in literary history, it seeks to develop an understanding of period concepts, as well as concepts of genre (including the novel, Romantic lyric, and modern drama) and concepts of literary modes (such as realism and the Gothic).  Readings include (sometimes in the form of selections) Tartuffe, Robinson Crusoe, The Princess of Cleves, Faust (Part One), Rameau’s Nephew, Tales of Hoffmann, Madame Bovary, Walden, Notes from the Underground, Waiting for Godot, and poems and short stories from Blake, Eliot, Calvino, Kafka, Cavafy, Rilke, and others.   All foreign language works will be read in English translation.  Requirements: three papers and a final examination.  Two lectures and one section meeting per week.  Under its ENGL rubric, this course counts as a pre-requisite for the English major. Under its CPLT rubric, three hours of it count toward the Literature in a Foreign Language option in the English major. Under either rubric, this course counts toward the Second Writing Requirement.

CPLT 3590/GERM 3563Spiritual Journeys in Young Adult Fictions
0200-0315 WF - Rouss 410
Instructors: Dorothe Bach and John Alexander

This comparative inquiry into young adult fiction invites you to explore the topic of the spiritual journey both academically and personally. Different disciplinary perspectives such as literary studies, gender studies, history, psychology, and religious studies, will help us shed light on our private reading experiences and deepen our exploration of such themes as: becoming a hero, confronting evil, being different, achieving autonomy, faith and doubt, religiosity vs. spirituality, experiencing divine presence and absence, and the magical and the miraculous. Our hope is that, over the course of the semester, you will develop a personal vocabulary in which you can express your thoughts on spiritual journeys in young adult fiction as well as articulate the relationships between your own quest and your academic pursuits.

This discussion based, reading-intensive seminar is cross-listed in the Comparative Literature and German departments and most texts come from the Western tradition. The sessions will be held in English. German majors are encouraged to read German texts in the original and to write in German. We encourage all students to participate actively in discussion, to engage the readings and each other critically and compassionately, to develop a regular reflective writing practice, and to work collaboratively in small learning teams.  We warmly invite students from a variety of academic backgrounds and with diverse interests in the topic to apply (for more information see http://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/SpiritualJourneys/)

CPLT 3590 Kafka and Modernity
1100-1215 TR - Cabell 430
Instructor: Benjamin Bennett

Reading and Discussion of a number of short prose works of Kafka, and perhaps one of the novels, with a view to placing Kafka in the general history of literature and in the structure of modern literature.  Other authors who may be read alongside Kafka include Flaubert, Joyce, Beckett, Strindberg, Ionesco, Camus.  The reading list will be left incomplete in order to accommodate the experience and wishes of the students in the latter part of the course.

CPLT 3590 Faust
0200-0315 MW - Bryan 328
Instructor: Jeffrey Grossman

Taking Goethe's Faust as its point of departure, this course traces the emergence and transformations of the Faust legend over the last 400 hundred years.  We explore precursors of Goethe's Faust in the form of the English Faust Book, Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, and possibly other popular re-workings of the text.  We will Goethe's Faust in its entirety, and then proceed to Bulgakov's response to Stalinism in The Master and Margharita.

CPLT 4990 Seminar for Majors: Tragedy
0330-0445 TR - Cabell 337
Instructor: Paul Cantor

A study of the theory and practice of tragedy across the centuries in different cultures and different media. We will begin with the three major philosopher-theorists of tragedy: Aristotle, Hegel, and Nietzsche. We will then look at the two greatest eras of tragic drama: Ancient Athens (Aeschylus, Euripides) and Renaissance England (Marlowe, Shakespeare, John Ford). We will continue with some later tragic dramatists (Schiller, Pushkin), as we examine how tragedy develops in a variety of countries.

Finally, we will analyze how tragedy migrates to other media: the novel (Hardy, Tolstoy) and the motion picture (the other John Ford, Kurosawa, Coppola).  Requirements include a seminar presentation and a seminar paper.

NOT restricted to CPLT majors.

CPLT 8002 Comparative and Transnational Studies
0200-0315 TR - Cabell 311
Instructor: Mrinalini Chakravorty

This seminar will examine basic questions of method, practice, and politics that arise in the field of comparative literary studies.  We will presume that comparative study is inherently methodologically diverse given its influence on a variety of critical interventions in humanistic study.  This course will reflect comparative literature’s disparate histories and evolution.  Hence in addition to reading some of the foundational texts of comparative literature, we will also consider how comparativism has influenced a diversity of positions within cultural studies, critical theory, sexuality studies, as well as  within postcolonial and transnational discourse.  We will finally also consider the resurgent interest and relevance of reading comparatively in the context of the rise of “world” or “global” literature.  Topics covered will include the relationship between comparative study and: cultural appropriation, expertise, interpretation, translation/adaptation, genre, aesthetic forms, and global modernities.  Alongside works formative to the discipline such as those by Wellek, de Man, Bakhtin, Saussure, Benjamin, and Derrida, we will also read more current reflections on the state of comparative literature by Spivak, Culler, Apter, Walkowitz, Damrosch, Casanova and others.

Please note that this course is required for the graduate certificate in comparative literature, but is open to all others who are interested.


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