Spring 2004 Undergraduate Courses

COML 093.402 Growing Up Funnynation and identity in South Asian Writing
Cross listed with ENGL 093, WSTD 093, SARS 241
TR 12-1:30 Loomba

It is a curious fact that some of the most compelling fiction about and by South Asians features the coming of age of a child protagonist. This body of writing appropriates and reshapes the classic European Bildungsroman, but it also uses narrative traditions from South Asia in order to tell the story of the postcolonial nation, and to chart the contours of contemporary South Asian identity and sexuality. In this course, we will read novels, short stories and plays--some well known and others less so, some now considered classics and others very recent, produced from within the Indian subcontinent as well as from the West. All of these speak of the excitement and trauma of growing up Indian. Through them, we will discuss key features of the political and social upheavals of the Indian subcontinent, as well as the dynamics of the family, gender relations, sexual identities and cultural belonging. The course will include writings by Rudyard Kipling, Salman Rushdie, Bapsi Sidhwa, Amitav Ghosh, Mahasweta Devi, Hanif Kureishi, Anjana Appachana, Arundhati Roy, Meera Sayal, Sara Suleri, Shyam Selvadurai, and Mahesh Dattani.


COML 095.401 Introduction to Cultural Studies
Distribution I: Society
Cross listed with ENGL 095
TR 1:30-3 Kaul

This course is designed to allow students who wish to study Literature at an advanced level (as majors in English, for instance) to develop their expertise in understanding cultural institutions and practices and indeed in reading the texts often central to these practices. We will do so by examining closely different critical methods and vocabularies that have been crucial to the development of such academic study. We will thus concern ourselves with the historical origins of literary and cultural studies, as well as with some of the literary-historical and critical debates that are central to the specialized study of literature. At the end of this course, students should be able to identify and understand some of the cultural and textual assumptions that define different critical approaches to the study of cultural phenomena, including those of New Criticism, Feminism, Cultural Materialism, New Historicism, Minority Discourse Studies, Colonial and Post-colonial Studies, and Cultural Studies. Students should also be able to identify their own critical interests, and thus to produce criticism that is self-conscious about its own assumptions and vocabulary. The readings will concentrate largely on critical materials (which are collected in a course reader).


COML 100.401 Introduction to Literature: Narrative and Social Change
General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 100
MWF 11-12 Clarke

This course is an introduction to the basic tools and disciplinary assumptions English studies. In it we will focus on narrative. Narrative theory studies much more than just the novel or even prose fiction, seeking instead to understand all forms of narrative, including historical, scientific, and philosophical writing. Narrative in this course will be understood as the stories that individuals constantly tell themselves as a way to understand their world. The axis of contention is the course will be how narrative is in communion with social change, broadly defined. How does the desire for social change warp the rules of the narratives that we tell? How do marginal groups construct an audience in such a way that the latter finds a place within the narrative produced by that marginal community? What is the relationship of narrative to truth? To morals? To ethics? We will read some theoretical work relating to the production and reception of narrative. Some of the writers we might engage are: Cliff, Marshall, Baraka, Dove, Coetzee, Achebe, Lovelace, Eliot, Balzac, Wharton. There will be two papers, a midterm and a final exam.


COML 104.401 Study of a Period: The Twentieth Century
General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 104
MWF 12-1 Park

This course examines the American myth of the outsider in the twentieth century. The American novel repeatedly sets aside a place for this lonely figure who can be filled with the dreams and expectations of the self-made American. This figure at the margins stands paradoxically at the center of works of literature that try to describe an American essence; these lone riders have become a symbol for what is, writ large, American exceptionalism. We will begin with Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and its paradigmatic incarnation of the American outsider set against a nativist vision of America. Our readings will track this figure into changing historical and cultural circumstances. We will read novels and short stories by William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Nella Larsen, James Weldon Johnson, John Okada, and Leslie Marmon Silko; and we will watch some films as well, including Rebel Without a Cause and Taxi Driver.


COML 118.401 Iranian Cinema: Gender, Politics, Religion
Distribution III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with AMES 118, WSTD 118, FILM 118
R 1:30-4:30 Minuchehr

Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema has gained exceptional international reception in the past two decades. In most major national and international festivals, Iranian films have taken numerous prizes for their outstanding representation of life and society, and their courage in defying censorship barriers. In this course, we will examine the distinct characteristics of the post-revolutionary Iranian cinema. Discussion will revolve around themes such as gender politics, family relationships and women's social, economic and political role, as well as the levels of representation and criticism of modern Iran's political and religious structure within the current boundaries. There will be a total of 12 films shown and will include works by Kiarostami, Makhmalbaf, Beizai, Milani, Bani- Etemad and Panahi, among others.


COML 125.401 Narrative across Cultures
General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
WATU credit optional-see instructor
Cross listed with AMES 135, ENGL 103
TR 10:30-12 Allen

The purpose of this course is to present a variety of narrative genres and to discuss and illustrate the modes whereby they can be analyzed. We will be looking at some shorter types of narrative: short story, novella, and fable, but also extracts from longer works such as autobiography. While some the works will be from the Anglo-American tradition, a large number of others will be from European and non-Western cultural traditions and from earlier time-periods. The course will thus offer ample opportunity for the exploration of the translation of cultural values in a comparative perspective. Among (familiar) authors to be read: Aesop, Borges, Chopin, Conde, Douglass, Gogol, Joseph's story (Bible and Qur'an), Joyce, Kafka, Marquez, Solzenitszyn, Twain, and Vonnegut, but there will also be many other writers from non-Western cultures. Once you have registered for the course, you can find a lot more detail about the course and its readings on the BLACKBOARD website.


COML 127.401 Adultery Novel
Subject to Approval of Committee on Instruction
Cross listed with RUSS 125, WSTD 125
MWF 2-3 Platt

The object of the course is to analyze a series of 19C and 20C novels (and a few short stories) about adultery. Our reading will teach us about novelistic traditions of the period in question and about the relationship of Russian literature to the European models to which it responded. The course begins with a novel not about families falling apart, but about families coming together, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. We then will turn to what is arguably the most well-known adultery novel ever written, Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Following this, we investigate a series of Russian revisions of the same thematic territory that range from "great literature" to pulp fiction, including Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and other works by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Leskov, and Nagrodskaia. As something of an epilogue to the course, we will read Milan Kundera's backward glance at this same tradition in nineteenth-century writing, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. In our coursework we will apply various critical approaches in order to place adultery into its social and cultural context, including: sociological descriptions of modernity, Marxist examinations of family as a social and economic institution, Freudian/Psychoanalytic interpretations of family life and transgressive sexuality, Feminist work on the construction of gender. All Reading and Lectures in English.


COML 167.401 Ancient Novel
Cross listed with CLST 167, ENGL 096
TR 10:30-12 Wilson

The ancient Greek and Roman novels include some of the most enjoyable and interesting literary works from antiquity. Ignored by ancient critics, they were until fairly recently dismissed by classical scholars as mere popular entertainment. But these narratives had an enormous influence on the later development of the novel, and in their sophistication and playfulness, they often seem peculiarly modern -- or even postmodern. They are also an important source for any understanding of ancient culture and society. In this course, we will discuss the social, religious and philosophical contexts for the ancient novel, and we will think about the relationship of the novel to other ancient genres, such as history and epic. Texts to be read will include Lucian's parodic science fiction story about a journey to the moon; Longus' touching pastoral romance about young love and sexual awakening; Heliodorus' gripping and exotic thriller about pirates and long-lost children; Apuleius' Golden Ass, which contains the story of Cupid and Psyche; and Petronius' Satyricon, a hilarious evocation of an orgiastic Roman banquet.


COML 197.401 Madness and Madmen
Cross listed with RUSS 197
TR 1:30-3 Vinitsky

This course will explore the theme of madness in Russian literature and arts from the medieval period through the October Revolution of 1917. The discussion will include formative masterpieces by Russian writers (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Bulgakov), painters (Repin, Vrubel, Filonov), composers (Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky), and film-directors (Protazanov, Eisenstein), as well as non-fictional documents such as Russian medical, judicial, political, and philosophical treatises and essays on madness.

The problem of madness has preoccupied Russian minds since the very beginning of Russia's troubled history. This subject has been dealt with repeatedly in medieval vitae and modern stories, plays, paintings, films, and operas, as well as medical, political and philosophical essays. This issue has been treated by a number of brilliant Russian authors and artists not only as a medical or psychological matter, but also as a metaphysical one, touching the deepest levels of human consciousness, encompassing problems of suffering, imagination, history, sex, social and world order, evil, retribution, death, and the after-life. Therefore it is illuminating for a deeper understanding of Russian culture to examine how major Russian authors have depicted madness and madmen in their works, how these works reflected the authors' psychological, aesthetic and ideological views, as well as historical and cultural processes in Russia. Lecture and all readings in English.


COML 200.401 Greek and Roman Mythology
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Registration Required for Lecture and Recitation (402-411)
Cross listed with CLST 200
MW 11-12 Struck

An introduction to classical mythology through close analysis of selected texts. Topics include: the definition of myth; its social, political, and religious contexts; the variety of methodologies available for its study (e. g. comparative anthropology, structuralism, psychoanalysis); the literary development of myths, divine and heroic; the Roman adaptation of Greek myths; and the relationship of myth to historical, philosophical, and scientific modes of thought. No prior background is required. Students come to the study of mythology from a variety of disciplines. This course should be particularly useful to those interested in literature, the fine arts, anthropology, folklore, and religion.


COML 207.303 European Conceptions of Language: Plato to Poststructuralism
Crosslisted with HIST 201.303
R 2-5 Benes

How has language shaped the human experience? Do words determine how we think, build communities, or engage in cultural practices? This seminar covers the formative sources of thinking about the cultural significance of language in the Western tradition. Topics include 1) an investigation of the intellectual origins of Western conceptions of language in ancient Greek and Hebrew thought; 2) an evaluation of the impact conceptions of language had on technological developments from printing to electronic communication; 3) language-origin speculation in the Enlightenment; 4) the conflation of language and race in European nationalism; and 5) twentieth-century (post)structuralism


COML 212.401 Modern Mideast Literature
Benjamin Franklin Seminar / WATU credit optional - see instructor
General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with AMES 225
MW 4:30-6 Allen/Gold

This course is team-taught by four professors with specialties in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish literatures; all four attend all the sessions of the course. The course deals with the modern literature within each tradition and focuses on poetry, the short story and the novel (among which have been in recent years: Al-Tayyib Salih's Season of Migration to the North, Yehoshua's The Lover, Hedayat's The Blind Owl, and Kemal's Memet My Hawk). The readings are all in English. The course is conducted in a seminar format. Students are expected to participate in classroom discussion of the materials assigned for each session, and evaluation is partially based on the quality of that participation. A short paper is assigned on the poetry and the short stories, and there is a final examination.


COML 241.420 The Devil's Pact in Literature
Registration required for Lecture and Recitation (421-428)
General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with GRMN 256, FILM 252, RELS 136
Lecture MW 12-1 Richter

Welcome to a devil of a course. For centuries, but especially since the dawn of modernity, the legend of the devil's pact has served as a metaphor for the desire to surpass the limits of human knowledge and power at any cost. Starting with the sixteenth-century Faust Book which recounts the story of a scholar, alchemist and necromancer who sold his soul to the devil, and extending to the most recent cinematic, musical and literary versions of the devil's pact, this course offers an exploration of our enduring fascination with the forbidden. Should you decide to accept this bargain you will be assured of discussing the following issues: the meaning of evil and history of the devil; the infernal logic of political systems and ideology (Nazism and Stalinism); witchcraft, magic, and sexuality; the purported link between the devil and music the devil as cultural interloper; the devil and self-knowledge. Throughout the semester we will move at a leisurely pace--no need to rush at a breakneck speed. It's my conviction that knowledge is more tempting when you give yourself time. We'll want to linger over the issues that intrigue us, spend time with the films, music, and literary works that we encounter. Among the course's real temptations are: a (ma)lingering reading of Goethe's Faust, one of the classics of world literature; discussion of six outstanding films involving a devil's pact including Angel Heart and Rosemary's Baby; an unpublished feminist adaptation of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus that is set in Harvard and the halls of Congress; discussion of the novel Mephisto, which links the legend of the devil's pact with Hitler and the Nazi regime; a reading of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita, another classic of world literature set in Stalinist Russia; a session devoted to blues legend Robert Johnson who supposedly sold his soul to the devil; an encounter between the devil, coyote, and rock and roll in American Indian writer Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues; clips from other films and popular culture such as The Simpsons, South Park, and Bedazzled. The victim, I mean student, who signs up for this course is guaranteed an enticing blend of intellectual and cultural titillation, a substantial acquaintance with the wide-ranging popular legends of the devil's pact, and an opportunity to explore some of the burning questions of our time. All readings in English.


COML 248.401 Topics in Modernism: From Hysterial to Paranoid
Modernism Distribution III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with ENGL210, ASAM 202
TR 9-10:30 Rabate

The impact of Freudian ideas on Modernism has often been noticed. What I would like to explore in this class is how this produced a new sensibility and a new response to issues like the interpenetration of art and life through the discovery of the unconscious and automatic writing literature and the management of the avant-garde. Thanks to a convergence of interests among writers like Freud, Breton, Dalí, Bataille, Auden, Lacan, Crevel, one can observe how the first decade of Surrealism was dominated by the concept of hysteria whereas the second was dominated by that of paranoia. We will study how the transformation of Surrealist doctrine and practice moved from a praise of hysteria to a practice of guided paranoia, giving a fuller literary and artistic context to what David Trotter has called "paranoid modernism." We will see how the "hysterical style" of early Modernism poses the question of femininity and its relation to a commodified mass culture. Is Modernism underpinned by male hysteria, thus rejecting any suspicion of femininity in the name of a new "hardness" and poetic specialization? Or it is the discourse about violence and the great War already hysterical? Why do most avant-gardist writers and artists move to paranoid positions in the thirties? The "paranoid style" that Modernism develops in the 1930s shifts the ground by multiplying levels of reality and posing the question of the Other, whether it is seen as the enemy within or the enemy without. Does paranoia provide an answer to the quandaries in which high Modernism had found itself? The study of Salvador Dali's works and writings will reveal itself indispensable to answer this question. We will thus begin by reading canonical essays by Freud on hysteria and paranoia, then explore early works by Breton, Pound, Wyndham Lewis and TS. Eliot, and finish with May Sinclair, Auden, Bataille and Salvador Dali. Requirements: one oral presentation, two short papers (8 p.) and a research paper (15 p.). No final exam.

Syllabus: Freud and Breuer Studies on Hysteria Freud; The Schreber Case (Penguin, 2002); André Breton's Nadja and Surrealist Manifestos; Pound's "Mauberley" in Selected Poems; T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and early poems; W Lewis's Tarr; May Sinclair's The Life and Death of Harriet Frean (xerox); H W Auden (The English Auden); Georges Bataille's Visions of Excess; Dali (Oui and The Secret Life of S. Dali); Suggested reading is David Trotter, Paranoid Modernism (OUP, 2002)


COML 253.411 Freud: The Invention of Psychoanalysis
Please note section number, 411
Cross listed with COLL 002, GRMN 253, WSTD 252, HOSC 253, HSSC 253
TR 1:30-3 Weissberg

No other person of the twentieth century has probably influenced scientific thought, humanistic scholarship, medical therapy, and popular culture as much as Sigmund Freud. This seminar will try to study his work, it's cultural background, and its impact on us today.

In the first part of the course, we will learn about Freud's life and the Viennese culture of his time. We will then move to a discussion of seminal texts, such as excerpts from his Interpretation of Dreams, case studies, as well as essays on psychoanalytic practice, human development, definitions of gender and sex, neuroses, and culture in general. In the final part of the course, we will discuss the impact of Freud's work. Guest lecturers from the medical field, history of science, psychology, and the humanities will offer insights into the reception of Freud's work, and its consequences for various fields of study and therapy.


COML 255.401 Mann, Hesse, Kafka
Cross listed with GRMN 255
TR 12-1:30 Trommler

Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, and Franz Kafka have become classics with their literary exploration of alienation, loss, and recovery of the individual in the modern world. This course offers immersion in some of their crucial novels, accompanied by the viewing of films (Visconti, Welles) and videos that reflect their work. Readings of such works as Kafka's "Metamorphosis" and "The Trial," Mann's "Death in Venice" and "The Magic Mountain," and Hesse's "Demian" and "Steppenwolf" are discussed in the light of Germany's dark history in the twentieth century. The course will provide an in-depth look at the dilemma of the modern artist and the ways in which literary and visual culture can contribute to a deeper understanding of ethical issues that continue to be with us in the twenty-first century.


COML 263.301 Secrecy and Sexuality in the Modern Novel
Cross listed with ENGL 265
TR 9-10:30 Love

This course explores the intersection between narrative form and representations of sexuality in the modern novel. We will consider a range of aesthetic responses to new regimes of sexuality that developed at the end of the nineteenth century. We will pay special attention to questions of authenticity and artifice and to narrative techniques of indirection, secrecy, and suggestion. We will read these texts for their account of the complexities of desire and identification; at the same time, we will situate them within larger cultural narratives of aestheticism, psychoanalysis, racial crossing, decadence and perversion, feminism, empire, and "the closet." Readings by Sigmund Freud, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, James Weldon Johnson, Willa Cather, Nella Larsen, Vladmir Nabokov, James Baldwin, Cherríe Moraga, and Jackie Kay. A few short papers, a longer final paper, no final exam.


COML 265.401 Topics in Theatre History
Cross listed with ENGL 078
TR 12-1:30 Mazer

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the basic materials and methods of theatre history and historiography, as applied to a particular topic, organized around a specific period, national group, or aesthetic issue. This course is concerned with methodological questions: how the history of theatre can be documented; how primary documents, secondary accounts, and historical and critical analyses can be synthesized; how the various components of the theatrical event--acting, scenography, playhouse architecture, audience composition, the financial and structural organization of the theatre industry, etc.--relate to one another; and how the theatre is socially and culturally constructed as an art form in relation to the politics and culture of a society in a particular time and place.


COML 280.401 Italian Cinema: Italian History/Italian Film
Distribution II: History and Tradition
Cross listed with ITAL 330, HIST 322, ENGL 294
MW 3-4:30 and T 4:30-7 Marcus

The aim of this course is to combine two very different approaches to a joint project: to understand the history of a great European society by fusing the techniques of historical science and the insights of modern film studies. Our choice, Italy, is not accidental. Italy has historically been a country in which the visual arts have had a unique place. Modern Italy has added to the traditional belle arti of painting, sculpture, and architecture new fields like fashion, industrial design and film. "Made in Italy" has come to stand all over the world for quality workmanship and fine design. Yet this same country has been involved in the last hundred years in two terrible world wars, a brutal fascist dictatorship, violence both political and criminal and a flood of emigration. It has been bankrupt, occupied by foreign forces, recovered and enjoys today one of the highest standards of living in the world. The story of modern Italy is fascinating and in this course we will review that history, its triumphs and disasters, by combining film and written texts. Both media are equally important and ought to enrich each other.

One of the main purposes of the course will be to explore the complex relationship between the two elements of its title, or to put it another way, to determine the meaning of the / between "Italian History/Italian Film." How is history represented in the cinema? Why is it the obsessive focus of the most important films to emerge in Italy since WWII? What transformations take place when the historical becomes cinematic, and how do these two discourses set themselves in dialogue to create a rich and multi-leveled commentary on the Italian national scene?

The course will be divided into four units: 1) Liberal Italy 1861-1918, 2) Fascism, 1919-1939; 3) War and Resistance, 1939-1948, 4) Postwar Italy 1949 to the present. Each unit will contain three films accompanied by three history lectures. Among the films to be analyzed are Salvatores's Mediterraneo, Olmi's Tree of the Wooden Clogs, De Sica's Garden of the Finzi-Contini, Visconti's The Leopard, Fellini's La dolce vita, and Rossellini's Paisan.


COML 282.401 Film/Lit: Voices/Others in Israeli Lit
Distribution III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed AMES 154, FILM 224, FOLD 154, JWST 154
TR 3-4:30 Gold

This course will listen and respond to previously unheard Israeli literary and cinematic expressions of "others," such as new immigrants, women, Arabs, gays, orthodox Jews, first and second generations of Holocaust survivors, and those of Middle Eastern descent. Their varied voices, which deviate from the central narrative, were allowed to be heard in Israeli culture only in the late 20th century with the debates over Postmodernist attitudes and practices. The Zionist super-narrative dominated Israeli literature and film at its inception. Authors and directors were predominantly Israeli-born (or educated), Ashkenazi (of European descent) males who tackled the nationalistic, territory- based aspirations of the people. Now that the "periphery" has invaded the "center," a cacophony of voices, a kaleidoscope of images, replaces the mainstream ideological search for a Zionist utopia.

We will analyze this phenomenon through the different languages of film, prose and poetry, and examine how postmodernist and subversive writers and directors use symbol and metaphor, color and light, close-up and flashback to capture an outsider's experience.

There will be 5 film screenings. The films will be placed on reserve at the library for students who are not able to attend these screenings. Grades will be based on two 4 page papers, final, and class participation. Note that the contents of the course changes each semester, and therefore may be taken more than once.


COML 359.401 Studies In Modern Hebrew Literature: Hebrew Poetry and Identity 1900-1948
Disbritubion III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with AMES 359, JWST 359
TR 10:30-12 Gold

Hebrew poetry in the first half of the 20th century played a crucial role in the rebirth of a nation and in the revival of the language, forging a new diction for representing the inner world or political assertions. This course examines works of canonic literary figures (such as Bialik, Tchernichovsky, Alterman) as well as "marginal" ones (such as Fogel and Raab) set before the backdrop of monumental events (the rise of Zionism, WWII and the struggle for statehood). We will examine literary and ideological dialectic processes that shaped Hebrew poetry in the 20th century (such as traditionalists & romantics versus symbolists-modernists in the 1930s and continuous tensions between collective national objectives and the individual lyrical voice.) We will also highlight questions of faith, homeland and exile, and gender. The main objective, however, is the in-depth reading of poems using literary theories while considering the historical and cultural context in which they were created.

Texts, discussions, and papers are in Hebrew. Grading based on four 2 page papers, final & class participation.


COML 360.401 Introduction to Literary Theory
Distribution III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed ENGL 204
TR12-1:30 Rabate

This course will provide an exposure to the main discourses and practices of theory understood both as literary and cultural theory. We will start with early formulations of the problem of interpretation with Plato and then move on to contemporary approaches. We will study systematically the main tenets and concepts of as Formalism, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Feminism and Deconstruction. We will engage with Post-colonial studies, Cultural Studies and Queer Theory. We will use the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2001) as a comprehensive compilation, supplemented by a few handouts. Requirements: One oral report, two short papers (10 pages) and one research paper (15 pages). No final exam.


COML 378.401 Engendering the Nation
Distribution III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 293
TR 3-4:30 Loomba

This course will explore the relationship between discourses of gender and those of nationalism, and how this shapes both imperial and postcolonial writing. Why are nations routinely imagined as women, and imperial conquest expressed in terms of sexual mastery? Are 'race' and 'gender' analogous? What are the differences between the way in which women and sexuality are used in the imperial imagination on the one hand, and anti-colonial, nationalist writing on the other? We will address these questions via a range of literary texts ranging from Shakespeare's The Tempest to recent postcolonial fiction (by Tayib Salih, Ama Ata Aidoo and Arundhati Roy, among others) as well as key theoretical and historical writings in the field.


COML 380.401 Bible in Translation
Benjamin Franklin Seminar
Distribution III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with AMES 255, JWST 255
TR 4-5:30 Tigay

Careful textual study of a book of the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament") as a literary and religious work in the light of modern scholarship, ancient Near Eastern documents, and comparative literature and religion. The book varies from year to year.


COML 192.601 Classics of the Western World II
General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
W 6:30-9:30 Hock

This course will approach selected great works of Western culture from the Renaissance to the 20th century with an eye to understanding what it means to say something is (or is not) "great." What accounts for the endurance of these works as opposed to others? How do they continue to speak to us as well as to the concerns of their original age and place? Do they offer truths about a universal human condition? Do they represent technical perfection or groundbreaking new forms? As we range through the literature of several countries and time periods, we will also explore how different genres (drama, poetry, novel) and historical movements (the Enlightenment, romanticisim, realism, modernism) value different literary qualities. We will try to understand how something comes to be called a classic and what sort of cultural work it does for us. Texts may include works by Shakespeare, Milton, Voltaire, Flaubert, Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Eliot, Woolf, and Camus.


COML 194.601 Mysteries in Film: Deceit and Murder in Western and Asian Visual Narrative
R 6-9 Kawana

This course examines a wide range of mystery films in order to explore the relationship between the literary genre of detective fiction and the medium of film as visual narrative. Ever since Sherlock Holmes brilliantly articulated the importance of interpreting visual clues for the detective, visuality/vision have been considered as the detective's most important sense. Various film adaptations of detective stories have faithfully followed this view both by the character of the central detective and the overall visual narrative, while others play on this golden rule (sometimes even overtly making fun of it) suggesting that what you see is not always what you get. In addition to reading theories of the genre and film, the required materials for the course include the viewing of about 15 movies, ranging from classics (e. g., from The Bishop Murder Case, The Maltese Falcon to Chinatown), detective films set in pre-modern worlds (The Name of the Rose, Brother Cadfael), parodies (Clue, Murder by Death), as well as non-Western films (Rashomon, Tell Me Something). Class participation, attendance, viewing logs (about one page per film) and two papers (first assignment 6-8 pages and second assignment 8-10 pates) are required.

COML 241.601 The Devil's Pact
General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with GRMN 256, FILM 252, RELS 236 (see description above)
M 6-9 Richter

For centuries the pact with the devil has signified humankind's desire to surpass the limits of human knowledge and power. From the reformation chap book to the rock lyrics of Randy Newman's Faust, from Marlowe and Goethe to key Hollywood films, the legend of the devil's pact continues to be useful for exploring our fascination with forbidden powers.


COML 242.601 Religion and Literature
Cross listed with RELS 003
R 6-9 Stern, E.

For more than two millennia, the Bible has inspired spirited responses from its readers. The ongoing conversation with the biblical text has been both multi-cultural and multi-media-it includes prose, poetry, art and music from many different cultures. This conversation with the Bible has been conducted in a multitude of registers ranging from deep reverence to outright parody. In this course, we will study a wide range of post-biblical readings of biblical texts. We will explore theological and literary responses to the stories of Adam and Eve and the Binding of Isaac, political and liturgical uses of the Exodus story, and musical and cinematic interpretations of the Passion narrative.


Last modified January 12, 2004
Maintained by Stephen Hock and Mark Sample
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania