Areas of Study

Literary theory and poetics

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

Built around three seminal 20th century figures–the artist-designer Bruno Munari, the writer-educator Gianni Rodari, the novelist Italo Calvino–the course aims to explore structural, combinatory, and generative thinking about storytelling. It combines the study of literary theory and history, literary works such as folktales and children’s stories, and computer-assisted creation employing both textual and visual generative AI tools. By the end of the semester, the class will result in the creation of a well crafted, curated, and edited volume of AI folktales.

A re-examination of “Lyric” as occasion as well as genre. Central questions to be explored will include: how do the “lyrics” of composed song come alive in performance? For example, how do the two librettists of Puccini’s opera La Bohème contribute to the making of a masterpiece in song? Shared readings include The Lyric Theory Reader: A Critical Anthology, edited by Virginia Jackson and Yopie Prins.

Things I have learned from students who have taken my seminars in Comparative Literature, By Professor Greg Nagy.

Courses

Fall 2023

Dana-Palmer Seminar Room

Wednesday

CompLit 99A: Senior Tutorial Workshop

Thomas Wisniewski

A year-long series of workshops on researching, proposal writing, the senior thesis, and the oral exam. This senior tutorial is required of all concentrators.

In Person

Fall 2023

Dana-Palmer Seminar Room

Monday

CompLit 110X: What is a Novel?

David Damrosch

The novel has been described as the quintessential literary form of modernity, but do we know what a novel actually is? And is it even an exclusively modern form? This course will look at a range of pathbreaking works that have bent the norms of prose fiction, opening up new ways of understanding the world, from antiquity to the present. Readings will include The Golden Ass, The Tale of Genji,Tristram Shandy, and a range of modern novelists, including Woolf, Duras, Perec, Calvino, and Pamuk, together with major formulations by Lukács, Bakhtin, and novelists themselves.

4 Credits

In Person

Fall 2023

Dana-Palmer Seminar Room

Thursday

CompLit 131: The Arab American Experience in Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture

Sandra Naddaff

This course will explore that experience as expressed in various cultural forms–fiction, film, comedy acts, graphic novels, memoirs, art installations, and new media. We will pay particular attention to contemporary works and authors (e.g., Kahf, Nye, Alameddine, Hammad, Abu Jaber), although we will also consider the work of early 20th-century Arab-American writers (Gibran, Rihani, Rizk). Topics include mapping the exilic experience, translation and bilingualism, cultural translation, and the semiotics of food.

4 Credits

In Person

Fall 2023

Dana-Palmer Seminar Room

Friday

CompLit 172: Comparative Literatures of the Indian Ocean

Annette Lienau

The maritime counterpart to ancient trade routes that brought silk and cannon-fire to Europe, the Indian Ocean was a space re-imagined through successive tides of trade, conquest, and exploration, historically mediating between the diverse cultures of several continents. This course introduces students to the literatures of this cosmopolitan space and to its historic lines of influence and exchange, through a comparative reading of literary texts drawn from its perimeter and from travel accounts both fictional and historical/semi-biographical. Readings will include Indic, Arabic, and Persian classics, Sufi poetry from across Asia and Africa, travel narratives in Portuguese and English, and twentieth century writing on the region’s imperial afterlives. Class sessions will be complemented by visits to relevant library and museum collections throughout the semester. (Readings will be made available in English.)

4 Credits

In Person

Fall 2023

Barker 211

Thursday

CompLit 213Y: Beyond Subtitles: Cinema, Media, and Translation

Junting Huang

“Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” said Bong Joon Ho during his acceptance speech for Parasite’s historical Golden Globe wins. Are we finally ready to embrace subtitles? Are those one-inch-tall subtitles still a cultural barrier? Are they literary artifacts of translation? Despite their widespread use, subtitles are less often studied as a critical site for translation. Using subtitles as a point of departure, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to explore the intricacies of translation in cinema and other media cultures. It situates translation at the intersection of media and literary theories. In this course, we explore how the media form of subtitles can enable philosophical reflection on issues such as nationalism, nativism, foreignness, aphasia, postcoloniality, labor, and technology. The course will draw on theoretical texts from a diverse range of thinkers, including Frantz Fanon, Frederic Jameson, Slavoj Zizek, John Mowitt, Rey Chow, Naoki Sakai, and Sergei Eisenstein, among others.

4 Credits

In Person

Fall 2023

New room: Barker 024

Wednesday

CompLit 278: Hyperreality

Panagiotis Roilos

The crisis of representation in postmodernity—closely connected with social and existential alienation and technological development—often manifests itself in terms of “hyperreality,” where any distinction between “the real” and “the simulacrum” is blurred. The boundaries between “reality” and “non-reality” and relevant concepts (e.g. originality, authenticity, mimesis, simulacrum) have been explored and challenged from different but comparable perspectives in philosophy, art, and literature since classical antiquity. This seminar will investigate discourses on, or inspired by “hyperreality” and its epistemological, ontological, and political implications, from antiquity to postmodernity. Authors and thinkers to be discussed include Plato, Descartes, Schopenhauer, Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Umberto Eco, Fredric Jameson, Paul Virilio, Bruno Latour, Elizabeth Grosz, Niklas Bostrom, Lucian, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, Christine Broke-Rose, Italo Calvino, Don DeLillo, Julian Barnes.

4 Credits

In Person

People

Harvard College Professor

Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Comparative Literature Emerita

FAS

Associate Professor of Yiddish Literature

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Office: Dana-Palmer 206

Office Hours: By appointment see Calendly link

Lecturer on Comparative Literature, Faculty of Arts & Sciences

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Office: Dana Palmer 204

Office Hours: Wed 2:30-4:30pm by appointment (in person or on Zoom; see link in profile)

Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Professor of Comparative Literature

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Office: Barker 377

Office Hours: Wed 1:30-3 pm or by appointment

Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature and of Comparative Literature

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Office: 2 Divinity Ave. #130A

Office Hours: Wed 1-3pm or by appointment

Areas of Study