Spring 2002 Graduate Courses
Kirkham W 2-4
Crosslisted with ITAL 534.401, WSTD 534.401
This course explores female voices in medieval and early modern literature from Italy and France. We shall begin with the foundations of the "courtly" lyric tradition, reading the "trobairitz" (female troubadours). Next we shall turn to early Italian texts in which woman is the object of a male gaze. We shall consider both the classical "high" style that idolizes woman (Petrarch) and programmatic departures from it (Dante's "Stony Rhymes," satirical dialogues, and humorous misogyny). Our point of arrival will be the Petrarchan poetesses of 16th-century Europe, with an emphasis on the Italians (Vittoria Colonna, Gaspara Stampa, Laura Barriferra degli Ammannti). What were the literary and philosophical traditions that shaped notions of female identity? How do women establish their own textual space when appropriating a genre that had been the vehicle for a masculine first-person voice? How do the images of women as scripted by men, or staged through male cross-voicing, differ from those in poetry written by women? What are the problems and issues in constructing a national history of women poets?
COML 535.401 Early Christianity: Varieties of Christian Thought Before
A survey of the known groups and perspectives that emerged in the first 150 years or so of the development of "Christianity" from its roots in Judaism and the hellenistic world(s), with special attention to the primary sources (espcially literary ) and to modern attempts at historical synthesis.
COML 546.401 Renaissance Languages
This Course surveys several fundamental cultural discourses circulating in early modern England. We will begin by exploring the concept of a cultural "language" or "discourse", both as formulated by Bakhtin and Foucault and as articulated in early modern discussions of language. We will then focus on the case studies of: 1) the discourse of early modern poetics, (looking at Philip Sidney's Defense of Poesy, Samuel Daniel's Defense of Ryme, and Puttenham's Art of English Poesie; 2) the discourse of art and "nature" in "popular" and "high" science, including Bacon's Advancement of Learning; 3) the discourse of the body, in medical treatises such as Thomas Vicary's Anatomie of the Bodie of Man and Helkiah Crooke's Microcosmographia, as well as in "abuse" tracts such as Philip Stubbes' The Anatomy of Abuses; and 5) the discourse of social status and hierarchy in William Harrison's Description of England. The reading of these texts will be combined with extensive study of plays and poems that engage these discourses, including plays by Ben Jonson and poems by John Donne. All students enrolled in the course will undertake an independent research project to be presented as a conference paper in a "mini-conference" at the course's end and as a formal paper (20 pages). Additional bibliographic exercises will be assigned in the course of the semester.
COML 571.401 Romanticism and the Idea of Italy, 1789-1914
As late as 1815, Italy was thought to be a mere "geographical expression." However, for over two millennia, inhabitants throughout the Italian Peninsula shared many common cultural practices and collective memories, even though they lacked a unified country until only recently (1861). This course will explore the dramatic relationship between the quest for Italian Unification and the Romantic movement in Italy. We will consider how the eccentric and ambivalent nature of Italian Romanticism -- one influential critic claimed "il romanticismo italiano non esiste" -- derived from the fact that many Italian writers of the late 1700s and 1800s were unable to reconcile their conflicting desires for aesthetic autonomy and sociopolitical engagement. We will also examine how the reception of "Romantic Italy" influenced the course of Italian national identity-formation and literary and cultural practices in the period between Unification and World Wars I and II. Among the works and issues we will study are Alfieri's critique of the French Enlightenment in the name of Italian culture, Melchiorre Gioia's prize-winning essay on Italian unity during the Napoleonic invasion of 1796, the flood of Romantic manifestoes occasioned by Madame de Stael's essay on translation in 1816, Manzoni's eschewal of poetry in the name of Italian history in On the Historical Novel (1850), the emergence of the politicized Poeta-Vate (poet-prophet) in D'Annunzio and Carducci, and the critique of Romantic Italy in the Futurist manifestoes (c. 1900-1910) of Marinetti and then later in Fascist cultural discourse.
TEXTS: V. Alfieri, The Prince and Letters; M. Gioia (essay); U. Foscolo, Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis; G. Leopardi, Poetry (selections); A. Manzoni, On the Historical Novel; M. de Stael, "On Translation"; Manifesti romantici (Borsieri, Di Breme, Berchet); S. Pellico, My Prisons; G. Mazzini, On the Duties of Man; I. Nievo, Confessioni di un Italiano (selections); G. D'Annunzio (selections); G. Carducci (selections); Futurist Manifestoes (Marinetti et al.)
Also: writings on Italy by J. W. Goethe, Germaine de Stael, P. B. Shelley, Stendhal, and other European travelers in / commentators on Italy.
COML 572.401 Art, Artists, and Society
Applications of communicational, social, and psychological principles to the study of the creation and appreciation of aesthetic objects and events. Artistic processes and products viewed in terms of cultural and historical, definitions of the nature of art and the role of the artist.
COML 596.401 Literature into Film
COML 603.401 Language and Culture
Anthropological study of languages and contributions of linguistics to study of culture and culturally pattered behavior. Types of speech and cultural communities; linguistic and cultural change (acculturation, pidginization, standardization, etc.) and its interpretation (genetic, typological, areal, evolutionary).
COML 614.401 Goethe and the Perception of Landscape
The course is designed for students of literature as well as for those with a primary interest in landscape architecture. It explores the ideas of and attitudes towards landscape in selected works of Goethe, including his own considerable practical involvement in landscape at Weimar. It does so within the larger context of German landscape taste of the later 18th and early 19th centuries, especially the development of new gardens and parks in the "new" style (e.g. Worlitz) and with particular attention to the theoretical "father" of the new German gardening, Hirschfeld. Goethe's botanical writings will also be visited for their contribution to a mid and late 18th-century inquiry into the plant world (Jean-Jacques Rousseau will be invoked here) and its impact on landscape perception.
COML 619.301 Visual Culture of the Islamic World
A one-semester survey of Islamic art and architecture which will examine visual culture as it functions within the larger sphere of Islamic culture in general. Particular attention will be given to relationships between visual culture and literature, using specific case studies, sites or objects which may be related to various branches of Islamic literature, including historical didactic, philosophical writings, poetry and religious texts. All primary sources will be available in English translation.
COML 620.401 Reading History in Literature/Literature in History
This course will address two sets of issues: the presence of history in literary texts from various periods and the blurring of the disciplinary boundary between history and literature so often evident today. We will read Spanish, French, English, and German novels and plays from the 17th to the 20th centuries. (All foreign works will be read in translation.) We will also read examples of social history, the history of sexuality, and the history of print culture. We will focus our discussions on such questions as the particular affinity often evident between the novel and history, literature's function in helping create societal memory, textual mobility, and the nature of proof in history.
COML 637.401 Shakespeare
Shakespeare and Women: Twentieth-century feminist criticism has run the full gamut in its estimates of Shakespeare's female characters--celebrated at one extreme as the visionary creations of a protofeminist genius deplored at the other as the repressive fantasies of a "patriarchal Bard." The focus of this course will be an issue implicit in many of these debates-- the relationship between Shakespeare's fictional portraits of female characters and the positions of actual women, both in his world and in ours. For although Shakespeare's female characters were dramatic fictions, produced by a male playwright for performance by male actors, they still appealed to the tastes of female playgoers in his own time, and they have played important roles ever since in shaping our understandings of what it means to act like a woman. Questions to be addressed include : What do we know about the lives of actual women Shakespeare would have known--the women in his family, the women he would have encountered on the London streets, at court, and among the audiences in his playhouse? What kind of work did they perform? How accurate is the current scholarly consensus about women's repression and subordination in that period? How have the theatrical representations and critical responses to Shakespeare's female characters changed over time? What are the historical and political implications of those changes?
Course requirements: a review article on recent criticism and scholarship and a substantial paper (along with a class presentation) on a play or topic relevant to the subject of the course.
COML 669.401 19th Century Studies
"What is a spectacle?" asks the lawyer's clerk in Balzac's Le Colonel Chabert (1832). This seminar responds by exploring the connection between new modes of vision in nineteenth-century France and new forms of literature. Anticipating by nearly a century and a half Guy Debord's La Societe du Spectacle (1967), Balzac's text, like the other literary works we will explore in this course, theorized the spectacular culture of its era. Reading Realist/Naturalist novels, as well as poetry, in the light of contemporary forms of popular entertainment, technologies of looking, and strategies of display, we will ask whether Debord's analysis of the hegemony of the image in late capitalist culture can be backdated to the nineteenth century, and whether the new forms of literature are implicated in the spectacular regime they expose. Nineteenth-century authors to be studied include Balzac, Flaubert, Baudelaire, and Zola. Twentieth-century theorists of vision to be studied include Benjamin, Crary, Debord, and Foucault. The question of spectacle will also be examined in relation to nineteenth-century French painting.
COML 706.401 CULTURE/POWER/IDENTITIES
The seminar provides a forum for critically examining the interrelationships between culture, power and identities, or forms of difference and relations of inequality in Western capitalist social orders. The central aim is to provide students with an introduction to classic and more recent social theories concerning the bases of social inequality, stratification and relations shaped by race, class, ethnic and gender differences. Theories discussed in the course provide analytic tools for examining the role of education in both challenging and reproducing social inequality - for understanding the school as a contested terrain in the struggle for greater equity. The class will have a seminar format emphasizing close analysis and discussion of the required readings in relation to a set of overarching questions concerning the nature of power, forms of social inequality and the politics of identity and difference.
Course requirements: Students are asked to complete an analytic essay in which they will compare and contrast central issues, assumptions, and concepts in different sets of readings. The instructor will provide the question. Essays will be 7-10 pages. All written work should be typed, double-spaced and 12 font. Also, students will sign up in pairs to take responsibility for introducing and leading class discussion about a particular reading or set of readings. Presentations should avoid simply summarizing the readings and instead provide an analysis of how the readings speak to the central questions and issues raised in the course. Introductory remarks should be no longer than 20 minutes in length. The team will work with the instructor to develop the questions to guide students in reading these texts (to be handed out the week before). In class the team will be responsible for introducing the readings and developing an additional set of questions to guide class discussion. Teams should prepare a handout that outlines the central issues your team wants to discuss and quotes salient passages from the readings that illustrate the theoretical approach, findings and important contributions or limitations of the work.
COML 714.301 Anglo-French Literatures in Medieval European Contexts
This advanced graduate course recognizes that French literature and culture were of fundamental and preeminent importance in the Middle Ages; English developments were both eccentric and retarded (in place and time). The University of Paris was the most prestigious site of learning; the Parisian booktrade dwarfed equivalent activities in London. The Roman de la Rose proved to be a text of foundational importance for European poetry: Brunetto Latini's Tesoretto begins an Italianization of the Rose that culminates in Dante's Commedia; Chaucer begins his career by translating the French text. By the later fourteenth century, however, English poetry is beginning to participate more fully in this French-dominated cultural nexus. Chaucer learns assiduously from authors such as Machaut, Froissart, and Deschamps, a process that continues long after his first encounter with Italian writing. In fact, the Italian texts that Chaucer uses most intensively-Boccaccio's Filostrato and Teseida-are themselves products of a French-dominated court culture (that of Angevin Naples).
In this course we can only, of course, sample the range of texts from this time (c. 1360-1430): a period fully enclosed by the intermittent but highly destructive campaigns of the Hundred Years' War. Our aim will be to concentrate upon movements between literary and regional cultures, resisting the usual practice of reading within purely national parameters. For even when at war (or on opposite sides of a papal schism), English and French chivalric and religious cultures worked within common frameworks of reference. The English soldiery that persecuted Joan of Arc also harried Margery Kempe; poets fighting on opposite sides of the war (Chaucer, Deschamps. Oton de Granson) cheerfully engaged verses with one another.
Choice of texts in this course is difficult to finalize, but it would be logical to begin with some poetry deriving from the Roman de la Rose, some Machaut (Voir Dit) and Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess. We will read Boccaccio's Filostrato and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. And we might add Henryson's short Testament of Cresseid, since the Franco-Scottish axis of the 'auld alliance' deserves some notice. The chronicles of Froissart, who followed a French queen to England but later served the French (while still returning to England later in his career), repay attention as an extraordinary genre hovering between history, travel writing, and romance. The vast corpus of Deschamps, who commits to poetry what we might expect to find in a journal or chronicle, will also be explored. We will read Christine de Pisan's extraordinarily hopeful poem about Joan of Arc plus something of Philippe de Mezière's utopian plan to unite French and English kings in a crusade against the infidel. Something might be said about John Gower's work in French; we will certainly dwell upon the remarkable bilingual poetry of Charles d'Orléans, written during long captivity in England. And we will read Mandeville's fantastical Travels, a text that remained in vogue until the sixteenth century. Hon y soit.
Texts will be read in French, Italian, or Middle English; translations will be provided. Students will be asked to contribute short reports to kick-start discussion; assessment will be by one long essay.
COML 776.401 Topics in Landscape Architecture II: Picturesque as Modernism
In his recent book on American Picturesque (Penn State University Press, 2000), John Conron argues for the picturesque as essentially a modernist phenomenon. This seminar will explore that assumption critically, addressing at once both the origins, structures and strategies of the picturesque from its inception to the 20th century and some of the claims for modernism in landscape architecture as they intersect with the fortunes of the picturesque.
The course will begin by examining some recent essays which invoke the picturesque as a modernist mode – Caroline Constant on the Barcelona Pavilion, Beth Meyer on Parisian park design, Yves-Alain Bois on Richard Serra’s “Clara-Clara” – and then track some of these current assumptions about the workings of the picturesque back to their sources in late 18th and early 19th century design practice and theory. Conron’s book will also be a required reading.
A further collection of reference writings will be on Reserve in the Library (also accessible on the Web) and weekly readings from these will be required for the first half of the semester, with students chosen in turn to make a class presentation. There will in addition be two assignments: first, to contribute a new item to that Reference collection, annotated to indicate its significance; second a final paper on some topic, to be established by mid-semester in conjunction with the instructor, which addresses issues raised by the convergence of the dual topics of picturesque and modernism. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own research interests in this final paper.
COML 788.301 American Utopias
Utopias have exerted a strong pull on the American imagination from the first colonial settlements of the 17th c. to the neo-traditional suburbs of the 21st century. This is due in large part to the time-honored belief that America is the "New World," a place to start afresh, unencumbered by the form and institutions of Europe. Over the course of the semester, this seminar will examine a wide range of utopian communities, both built and unbuilt, in the U.S., and the impulses--religious, social, political, and artistic--that willed them into being. The formative ideas of Andrew Jackson Downing, Lewis Mumford, Clarence Stein, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Jane Jacobs will also be discussed.
COML 798.301 Rituals of Belief and Practices of Law in the
This course will be an attempt to make sense of the relation between legal practice and spiritual belief in the Americas. From its beginnings law traded on the lure of the spirit, banking on religion and the debate on matter and spirit, corporeal and incorporeal in order to transfer the power of the deity to the corrective of the state. Few of the topics under consideration are peculiarly English; indeed most of them (slavery, civil death, penance, and possession) form part of the general history of the Western world. But our primary readings will be strictly limited to the eighteenth-century British West Indies and the United States. Through a close analysis of literary fictions, we will deal with the emergence, orchestration and function of law and the sacred as a kind of epistemological double whammy that redefined persons and property, spirits and things. The process by which words (such as race, blood, sacrifice, redemption, and judgement) are specified and by which their precise meaning over time is determined will be crucial to our investigations.
Primary readings: selected legal cases and sermons; the Bible (Leviticus, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Romans); Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland; Melville's Pierre and Piazza Tales; Poe's Eureka; Emerson's Essays and Journals; Lydia Maria Child, A Romance of the Republic; Nathaniel Beverley Tucker, George Balcombe; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin; Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life.
Collateral readings: Locke, Essay on Human Understanding and Two Treatises of Government; William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England; Edward Long, The History of Jamaica; Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon Writings; De Tocqueville, Democracy in America and On the Penitentiary System in the United States; Thomas R.R. Cobb, An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States; James Kent, Commentaries of American Law; Elsa Goveia, The West Indian Slave Laws of the Eighteenth Century.
|Last modified November 08, 2002
Maintained by Stephen Hock and Mark Sample
in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania