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LITERATURE

LIT-121
Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Course Level: Undergraduate

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. The course focuses on a compelling idea or area of inquiry rendered in literature. Students interrogate a range of literary and cultural texts in order to deepen their understanding of the literary endeavor. Rotating topics include poetry and the world, desire and identity, human nature after Darwin, the culture of detective fiction, etc. Usually offered every term.

LIT-121
001
LITERATURE
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Love and Its Discontents

There are so many conventions and cliches about love that artists and critics enter that thicket of ideas at their own risk. This course takes that risk because such ostensibly common understandings of love provide a way to investigate how artists imagine these shared ideals differently, and therefore how they approach established storytelling conventions in distinctive ways. In doing so, students discover some of the discontent, instability, lack of clarity, and false oppositions that complicate any attempt to portray what love is; and attend to the many different kinds of stories writers tell to confront these complications. The class rethinks literature by engaging in an introductory way in the practices of professional literary critics, attempting and adapting three competing interpretative models to particular interests and concerns. In the end, students grasp and articulate new ways to understand both the beautiful complexity that is love, and the various technical, thematic, and imaginative means by which some of the most powerful authors of the Anglo-American tradition bring all of its complexity vividly to life.

LIT-121
002
LITERATURE
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

The Memoir as Monstrous Personal Chronicle

This course considers the literary memoir, in particular the "monstrous personal chronicle." The course analyzes how these texts blend the documentary and the fictional in order to respond to both the monstrosity of history and the trauma of personal experience. Authors often turn to the memoir when their subject matter is unconventional or transgressive and therefore seemingly unsuitable for the novel. The class looks at the personal chronicle as a category committed to challenging conventional boundaries through its use of singularity, rawness, and self-reflexivity. Analyzing these texts as a separate genre improves understanding of their individual meanings, their social roles, and their cultural contexts. Primary texts include Thomas De Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Bill Clegg, Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man, Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Art Spiegelman, Maus; Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast; Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; Virginia Woolf, A Sketch of the Past; and Mary Karr, The Liar's Club.

LIT-121
005
LITERATURE
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Boundary Crossings: Culture/Geography/The Fantastic

This course expands students' literary and cultural understanding through consideration of literary texts written by a range of both western and non-western writers. Students situate works of the creative imagination in their appropriate social and historical contexts and develop critical competence in understanding the defining features of different literary genres. Through the course theme of boundary-crossing--whether cultural, geographic, or fantastic--students re-think realistic modes of writing and explore texts that pivot on unrealistic/fantastic elements. The course also includes developing or increasing competence in analyzing formal elements of literary texts through close reading and competence in written expression through informal and formal writing assignments. Readings include Life of Pi, Yann Martel; How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid; As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner, as well as additional short stories and poems.

LIT-121
004
LITERATURE
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Jane Austen and Her World

This course explores the works of Jane Austen in the literary and cultural contexts of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Throughout the semester, the class undertakes close readings of Austen's Northanger Abbey; Sense and Sensibility; Mansfield Park; Persuasion; and her unfinished novel Sanditon. Austen adaptations and paratexts including the 1995 Simon Langton/Andrew Davies mini-series of Pride and Prejudice; Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary (1996); Patricia Rozema's 1999 film adaptation of Mansfield Park; and Austen fan fictions are also discussed. Situating Austen's works within the turbulent political and social shifts of her period, topics including gender and the novel; the public and private spheres; sensibility and sexuality; empire, war, and slavery; and revolution and social change are considered. Also interrogated is Austen's status as a 'hypercanonical' author--a figure whose life and works are subject to insatiable academic and popular enthusiasm--and the various critical approaches through which her works have been considered.

LIT-121
001
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

The Monstrous Memoir

This course considers the literary memoir, in particular the "monstrous personal chronicle." The course analyzes how these texts blend the documentary and the fictional in order to respond to both the monstrosity of history and the trauma of personal experience. Authors often turn to the memoir when their subject matter is unconventional or transgressive and therefore seemingly unsuitable for the novel. The class looks at the personal chronicle as a category committed to challenging conventional boundaries through its use of singularity, rawness, and self-reflexivity. Analyzing these texts as a separate genre improves understanding of their individual meanings, their social roles, and their cultural contexts. Primary texts include Thomas De Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Bill Clegg, Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man; Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Art Spiegelman, Maus; Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast; Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; Virginia Woolf, A Sketch of the Past; and Mary Karr, The Liar's Club.

LIT-121
002
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Trauma and Memory

The relationship between trauma and literature is a paradoxical one; most recent understandings of trauma suggest one of its defining characteristics is its resistance to adequate representation, i.e. traumatic events are too horrific to tell. At the same time, writers often attempt to reconstruct traumatic events in novels. This course explores and studies this paradox and applies various interpretive strategies in an attempt to understand the effects of trauma in literature and the process of writing about traumatic experiences. Required texts include: Art Spiegelman's Maus, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, and Larry Heinemann's Paco's Story.

LIT-121
003
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Detective Fiction

This class uses detective fiction as a way to approach issues that are common to literature and interpretation generally; after all, a detective is always an interpretive "reader" of the case or mystery that must be solved. Students read classic detective fiction and also variations on the form that occur in more traditionally "literary" fiction as well. Texts include authors such as Poe, Conan Doyle, Freud, Chandler, and Pynchon.

LIT-121
004
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Literature on the Silver Screen

This course considers the dynamic relationship between literature and cinema throughout the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Grounding discussions in recent studies of adaptation, the class analyzes films of canonical novels and plays as texts employing the distinctive visual language of the cinema, rather than as lesser versions of literary originals. Texts include Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 Romeo and Juliet, Baz Luhrmann's 1996 William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, and Shakespeare's play; Jane Austen's Emma and Amy Heckerling's 1995 Clueless; Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre; and Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca. The course includes a bi-weekly film screening.

LIT-121
005
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Boundary Crossings: Culture/Geography/The Fantastic

This course expands students' literary and cultural understanding through consideration of literary texts written by a range of both western and non-western writers. Students situate works of the creative imagination in their appropriate social and historical contexts and develop critical competence in understanding the defining features of different literary genres. Through the course theme of boundary-crossing--whether cultural, geographic, or fantastic--students re-think realistic modes of writing and explore texts that pivot on unrealistic/fantastic elements. The course also includes developing or increasing competence in analyzing formal elements of literary texts through close reading and competence in written expression through informal and formal writing assignments. Readings include Life of Pi, Yann Martel; How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid; As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner, as well as additional short stories and poems.

LIT-121
006
LITERATURE
SPRING 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Intimacy in American Literature

Explores the meaning and value of intimacy in American literature and addresses the role of sexuality, conversation, empathy, and understanding, as well as the influence of history, ethnicity, and gender. Authors include Dickinson, Whitman, Howells, Stoddard, Chesnutt, James, Wharton, Chopin, Baldwin, Larson, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Morrison, Updike, Eugenides, Roth, Salinger, Alvarez, Diaz, Holleran, Waller, and Sebold.

LIT-121
B01
LITERATURE
SUMMER 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

Jane Austen and Her World

This course explores the works of Jane Austen in the literary and cultural contexts of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Throughout the semester, the class undertakes close readings of Austen's Northanger Abbey; Sense and Sensibility; Mansfield Park; Persuasion; and her unfinished novel Sanditon. Austen adaptations and paratexts including the 1995 Simon Langton/Andrew Davies mini-series of Pride and Prejudice; Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary (1996); Patricia Rozema's 1999 film adaptation of Mansfield Park; and Austen fan fictions are also discussed. Situating Austen's works within the turbulent political and social shifts of her period, topics including gender and the novel; the public and private spheres; sensibility and sexuality; empire, war, and slavery; and revolution and social change are considered. Also interrogated is Austen's status as a 'hypercanonical' author, a figure whose life and works are subject to insatiable academic and popular enthusiasm, and the various critical approaches through which her works have been considered.

LIT-121
E01L
LITERATURE
SUMMER 2015

Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3)

The Graphic Novel

This course explores the fundamental processes of literary interpretation using graphic novels, which are complex literary-visual texts, as the objects for analysis. Students learn the specialized vocabulary of the strategies developed in both literary and cultural studies to find and assess meaning in texts and in these unique texts in particular. Texts considered include (but are not limited to) Watchmen, Fun Home, and Superman: Red Son. Required online discussion: every week, Tuesdays 7-10 pm.