Undergraduate Course Descriptions

COML 011.301 In the City of Dreams

TR 3-4:30 Kefala
Freshman Seminar

This seminar examines sleep and dreams in important works of Western literature. In Homer's Odyssey, for example, three normally separate orders of being converge in dreams: that of humans, gods, and the dead. Further, for Homer, dreams and reality are parallel planes. But if we jump a few millennia forward to the postmodern tales of Jorge Luis Borges, dreams and reality are indistinguishable, inasmuch as reality is merely the dream of a "god," the poet, who continually makes and unmakes it with his words. Dreamed reality is the Wor(l)d. In this seminar we will study the meaning and function of dreams in the Odyssey, Borges's fictions, and many fascinating works in between.

COML 016.401 Listening to Literature
MWF 1-2 Copenhafer
Freshman Seminar
Dist. III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with MUSC 016

We often forget that writing represents not just the visible world but the audible world as well. In this course we will investigate the acoustic dimension of literature -- the voices, music, and noise that make up a literary work. Students will be introduced to the role of music and sound
in a wide variety of modern European and American writings; they will also begin to understand the connection between literature and some of the other arts, especially music, drama, and cinema. Students will also produce at least one audio project-an acoustic version of a scene from our reading. No prior experience with either music or audio technology is required. Readings will include texts by Balzac, Beckett, Ellison, Kafka, Marker, Melville, Poe.

COML 062.301 Twentieth Century Poetry (from everywhere but the U.S.)
an interactive "reading" workshop
MW 3-4:30 Bernstein
Cross listed with ENGL 062

This class will be conducted as a seminar and, as a result, there will be a limited number of places. Please contact me directly if you would like to be assured a place in this class: Charles.Bernstein@English.Upenn.Edu This "reading workshop" is an introduction to the unprecedented range of language exploration in the poetry that emerged in the 20th century from Europe, Latin America and others parts of the world. The basic course text will be Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry, edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris. The anthology features poets such as Mallarmé, Rilke, Tzara, Mayakovsky,Vallejo, Artaud, and Césaire, along with a sampling of some of the most significant movements in poetry and the other arts: Futurism, Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, "Objectivism", Negritude. We will also look at sound and visual poetry and also the new digital poetry that is emerging on the Intenet. In addition, there will be a few poets vist the class -- reading and discussing their work with the seminar.

The "reading workshop" is less concerned with analysis or explanation of individual poems than with finding ways to intensify the experienceof poetry, of the poetic, through a consideration of how the different styles and structures and forms of contemporary poetry can affect the way we see and understand the world. No previous experience with poetry is necessary. More important is a willingness to consider the implausible, to try out alternative ways of thinking, to listen to the way language sounds before trying to figure out what it means, to lose yourself in a flurry of syllables and regain your bearings in dimensions otherwise imagined as out-of-reach.

The basic requirement for the class is a weekly response to the assigned readings - usually a notebook entry, imitation, or experiment. These responses are open-ended and can be in whatever form you choose - they are meant to encourage interaction with the poems and also serve as a record of your reading. The experiments are based on list of exercises (something like laboratory work!) aimed at getting inside the styles of the various poets studied. The responses and experiments will form the basis of workshop discussions.

The readings for this workshop are extensive and cannot all be discussed in class. The concept is for you to saturate yourself in 20th-century poetry. Works will be presented from well-known poets but there will be equal attention to a range of lesser known poets as well as on younger poets now actively working to delight, inform, redress, lament, extol, oppose, renew, rhapsodize, imagine, foment . . .

COML 065.401 The 20th C. Novel: The Nightmare of History
MW 3-4:30 Love
Dist. III:Arts & Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 065

This course seeks to introduce students to the modern novel by considering several works in the context of major social and political upheavals of the twentieth century. We will trace the fate of modernism across the century, considering formal innovations in the novel against the background of migration, colonialism, industrialization, fascism, the World Wars, racism, class conflict, and shifts in the meaning of gender and sexuality. The course focuses in particular on the relationship between violence and subjectivity and on questions of memory, trauma, and history: we will read these novels as responses to a set of disorienting and disturbing historical events. Works by Joseph Conrad, Theodore Dreiser, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Ralph Ellison, Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Gayl Jones, Jamaica Kincaid, and W.G. Sebald. Work for the course will include several short response papers, a longer final paper, and a final exam.


COML 090.401 Gender, Sexuality and Literature: A Marriage and Family from Romance to Realities
MW 6-7:30 Burnham
Dist. III: Arts & Letters
Cross listed with AFRC 090/ENGL 090/WSTD 090

In this class, we'll be reading novels and short stories that examine marriage, family and childhood, as well as theoretical material that explains, subverts and enriches the fiction. The course is divided into four sections, each with texts that can be made to comment upon each other. For example, in the first section, we'll be looking at the idealization of marriage by reading Jane Eyre, Pearl Abrams' The Romance Reader and Janice Radway's classic work on romance novels and their readers. We'll also look at the realities of marriage through The Awakening, The Yellow Wallpaper and stories by the Irish novelist Edna O'Brien, and at unconventional versions of childhood and "home" through Ella Leffland's Rumors of Peace, Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping and stories by Toni Cade Bambara. Throughout, we'll be investigating the ways in which fiction codifies, subverts and re-codifies notions of "proper" female behavior, domestic relations and individual freedom.
You'll have short, frequent writing assignments, including response papers and discussion questions designed to focus and energize class discussion. You'll also do a longer paper (7-10 pages) in which you bring the theoretical readings to bear on the fiction.

COML 102.402 Study of a Genre: Tragedy
TR 10:30-12 Bushnell
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 103/CLST 102
Most twenty-first century readers find tragic theater alien or stuffy, even while they eagerly consume tragic stuff through television and film. This course proposes to reinvigorate the reading of tragedy for readers who want to understand it and to feel its power, yet who often find the masterpieces of the genre too distant from their own language and world. The course will examine the theatrical and this historical conditions that defined tragedy in the past. We will review historical notions of the tragic hero, from Aristotle to the present, and how this hero has been understood to stand for his tribe, the common man, or the nation. We will examine the origins and evolution of the genre's formal qualities, suggesting that tragic form evokes conflict and tension. The class will also think about the role of plot in defining tragedy, and how a tragedy differs from a catastrophe or a merely unhappy ending. Finally, we will speculate on the future of tragedy as a genre. This course will not pretend to cover all the manifestations of tragic drama from the Greeks to the present: texts will include plays by Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Brecht, Ibsen, Beckett, and Miller and relevant criticism. Assignments will include a reading journal, two 5-7 pp. research-based papers, and a final in-class essay.


COML 104.401 Study of a Period: The Twentieth Century
TR 9-10:30 Barnard
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 104

This class will introduce students to some of the major writers of the twentieth-century, including Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Chinua Achebe, J. M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, and George Perec. The course leans towards novels that have come to be classified under the rubric of colonial and postcolonial fiction. Topics for discussion will therefore include matters such as "Englishness" and otherness, civilization and barbarism, power and knowledge, the country and the city, the metropolis and the periphery, and writing and orality. The course will engage many broadly political concerns (e.g., the meaning of democracy, freedom, law, and empire), as well as questions of race, class, gender, and the relationship between subjectivity and space. The approach, however, should also appeal to students who simply want to expand their literary horizons, develop their understanding of literary form, and their skills in literary analysis. We will read about a novel a week, plus occasional short stories, and critical essays. Written assignments will consist of midterm and final essays. The syllabus is likely to include the following: Conrad, The Heart of Darkness, Forster, Passage to India, Waugh, Black Mischief, Lessing, African Stories, Greene, The Quiet American, Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day, Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Rhys, The Wide Sargasso Sea, Ousmane, God's Bits of Wood, Gordimer, July's People, Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians, Rushdie, East-West, Perec, Things, Copeland, Generation X.

COML 114.401 Persian Mystical Thought: Rumi

T 1:30-4:30 Minuchehr
Cross listed with AMES 114

This course examines the works and ideas of the thirteen century sufi, and founder of the Mevlevi order, Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi. Although Rumi composed his mystical poetry in Persian, numerous translations in a multitude of languages have made this poet an international personality. In this course, we will examine Rumi’s original mystical vocabulary and allegorical style in English translations. We will also look at Rumi’s reception in different parts of the world, especially in America, where he has been on the best-seller lists for over a decade.

COML 125.401 Narrative Across Cultures

TR 10:30-12 Allen
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
WATU credit optional-see instructor
Cross listed with AMES 135/ENGL 103

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
TR 3-4:30 Platt
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with Russ 125/WSTD 125/FILM 325

The course examines a series of 19C and 20C novels (and a few short stories) about adultery, film adaptations of several of these novels, and several adultery films in their own right. Our reading will teach us about novelistic traditions of the period in question, about the relationship of Russian literature to the European models to which it responded. about adaptation and the implications of filmic vs. literary representation. Course readings include: Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and other works. Films include: Frears' Dangerous Liaisons, Vadim's Dangerous Liaisons, Nichols' The Graduate, Mikhalkov's Dark Eyes, and others. Students will apply various critical approaches in order to place adultery into its aesthetic, 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, and Feminist work on the construction of gender. All readings in English.


COML 167.401 Ancient Novel
TR 1:30-3 Keilen
Cross listed with CLST 167/ENGL 029

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 185.401 Dreams and Nightmares in Fiction and Film
TR 3-4:30 Allen, S.
Dist. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with RUSS 185/FILM 125
Freshman Seminar

The dream is not a modality of the imagination, the dream is the first condition of its possibility so claims Foucault in Dream, Imagination, and Existence. Though the links between dream and creativity reach back to classical contexts, they are nowhere more manifest than in modern works of fiction and film which explore modern cultural crises concentrated in the city as these are refracted within consciousness and the unconscious, within stream-of-consciousness narrative and self-conscious writing. In this course, we cross-examine some of the most compelling modern fiction and film from Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, Latin and North America, focusing on the relation between dream, delirium, death, displacement, deviance, dissent and creativity. We delve into the Gogolian and Dostoevskian underground to recover eccentric underpinnings for the modernist consciousness, emerging into Belyis nightmarish Petersburg, Kafkas Prague, Machado de Assiss and Mo de Andra des hallucinated Rio de Janeiro and S?Paulo, Prousts liminal Paris, Woolfs disconcerted London, Pessoas disquieted Lisbon. Taking an interdisciplinary as well as cross-culturally comparative approach to these critical modernist writers, we consider the dreamed city and delirious consciousness that structures much of modernist fiction in relation to other arts, particularly film (viewing early and avantgarde work by filmmakers ranging from Fritz Lang and Dziga Vertov to Stan Brakhage and Ingmar Bergman). We examine the evolving topography of literary consciousness in increasingly ex-centric citytexts and in the context of exile, looking at theory, fiction, and film by Sarraute, Lispector, Rawet, and Tarkovsky. For the final part of the course, we consider how dream is related to cultural dialogue and creativity in contemporary works by writers such as Pelevin, Petrushevskaia, Lins, Saramago, and Auster, and filmmakers including Wenders, Nolan, and Sokurov.


COML 200.401 Greek and Roman Mythology
MW 11-12 lecture Struck
Registration required for Lecture and Recitation
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with CLST 200

Myths are traditional stories that have endured many years. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as a few contemporary American ones, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Are they a set of cultural blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? We will investigate these questions through a variety of topics including: the creation of the universe and the structure of the cosmos, relations between gods and mortals, religion and divination, justice, society, family, sex, love, madness, and death.


COML 212.401 Modern Mideastern Literature in Translation
MW 4:30-6 Allen/Minuchehr
Benjamin Franklin Seminar
WATU credit optional - see instructor
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with AMES 225

This course is team-taught by four professors with specialties in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish literatures. It 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, Amos Oz's Hill of Evil Counsel, Parsipour's Women Without Men, and Pamuk's The White Castle.

The readings are all in English, and 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. There will be regular quizzes on the contents of the readings for the sessions. Short papers will be assigned on the poetry and the short stories, and a longer paper is also required on one or more of the novels.


COML 228.401 Studies in Hebrew Bible
TR 4-5:30 Tigay
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with AMES 256/JWST 256

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the critical methods and reference works used in the modern study of the Bible. To the extent possible, these methods will be illustrated as they apply to a single book of the Hebrew Bible that will serve as the main focus of the course. Knowledge of biblical Hebrew and prior experience studying the Hebrew text of the Bible. Knowledge of Greek is not required. Language of instruction is English.


COML 235.401 Medieval Russian Literature and Culture
TR 1:30-3 Verkholantsev
Dist. II: History and Tradition (approval pending)
Cross listed with RUSS 234/HIST 219/SLAV 234

This course offers an overview of the literary and cultural history of Medieval Rus' from its origins through the Late Middle Ages, a period which laid the foundation for the emergence of the Russian Empire. Three modern-day nation-states - Russia, Ukraine and Belarus - share and dispute the cultural heritage of Medieval Rus', and their political relationships even today revolve around questions of national and cultural identity. The focus of the course will be on the Kievan and Muscovite traditions but we will also note the differences (and their causes) of the Ukrainian and Belarusian cultural histories. All readings and lectures in English.


COML 245.401 Secrecy and Sexuality in the Modern Novel
MWF 12-1 Love
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 102/WSTD 102

Literary critics have traditionally seen difficulty and abstraction as signs of aesthetic value. As a result, many of the books that we consider "great literature" are noted as much for what they don't say as for what they do. In this course we read several "difficult" modern classics, paying close attention to the tactics of secrecy, ambiguity, and indirection that they employ. Rather than reading the blanks and silences in these texts as purely formal elements of a modernist style, we read them against the grain and historically. Placing these texts in the context of late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century crises around illicit sexuality (homosexuality, pederasty, incest), we ask what, if anything, they are hiding. Readings by Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson, Herman Melville, Sigmund Freud, Henry James, James Weldon Johnson, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Nella Larsen, Vladmir Nabokov, James Baldwin, Cherríe Moraga, and Jackie Kay. A few short papers, a longer final paper, final exam.


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

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 265.401 History of Theatre: The City and the Theatre in Western History
TR 1:30-3 Schlatter
Dist. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 276/THAR 140

Throughout history, great, thriving urban centers have also often been the centers of great theatre cultures. Cities are themselves grand stages for the performance of public culture, and the theatre serves the city as a form of civic celebration, as a site for the negotiation of competing social forces and individual aspirations, and even as a form of social control. This course will examine the theatre cultures produced by great cities at key historical moments, focussing on fifth-century Athens, Elizabethan London, seventeenth-century Paris, early twentieth-century Berlin, and modern day New York. The course will examine readings in urban social history, theatre architecture and staging conventions, and acting styles. Plays will also be read. Readings will be supplemented by slide presentations on art, sculpture, and urban architecture where appropriate.


COMl 266.401 Postmodern Israeli Short Story
R 2-5 Gold
Dist. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with AMES 259/JWST 259

This course concentrates on contemporary Israeli short stories, post-modernist as well as traditional, written by male and female authors. The diction is simple, often colloquial, but the stories reflect an exciting inner world and a stormy outer reality. For Hebrew writers, the
short story has been a favorite genre since the Renaissance of Hebrew literature in the 19th century until now, when Hebrew literature is vibrant in a country where Hebrew is spoken. Using canonical Israeli texts by Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua as backdrop, the lion share of the course focuses on authors who emerged in the last 25 years like Etgar Keret, Orly Kastel-Bloom, Gadi Taub, and Gidi Nevo. 3-4 short papers and final examination. All texts, discussions and papers are in Hebrew.


COML 267.401 Advanced Topics in Theatre: East Meets West on Stage and Screen
Theatre and Film by Directors and Writers of Asian and Middle Eastern Heritage
MWF 12-1 Lafferty
Dist. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with THAR 275/FILM 225/ASAM 275

East and West share traditions of mythmaking and storytelling in live performances and, during more recent human history, in films. Theatre and cinema uniquely represent conflicts of social interaction in ways that please us. We like to watch shows, to engage with stories, and even--or especially--to learn from what we see and hear. East meets West in English-language plays and films by writers and directors of Asian and Middle Eastern heritage. They dramatize the lives of 19th-century Chinese railroad laborers; WWII internment of Japanese Americans; war brides from Japan, Korea, and Vietnam; South Asian immigrants' struggles to maintain traditions despite the forces of assimilation; and prejudice and discrimination faced by those of Middle Eastern descent. Students will finish this course with a firm understanding of just how diverse are the experiences and attitudes of Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the English-speaking world. Through shorter and longer papers, exams, and oral presentations, students will summarize and analyze selected works from social and historical perspectives. Texts/films may include David Henry Hwang's Broadway adaptation of Flower Drum Song, Ang Lee's film The Wedding Banquet, Wakako Yamauchi's play 12-1-A, Nagisa Oshima's film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, Yun-ah Hong's documentary Memory all/echo based on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's poetic book Dictee, Ralph Pena's play Flipzoids, Oliver Stone's film Heaven and Earth adapted from the memoirs of Le Ly Hayslip, Mira Nair's controversial movie Mississippi Masala, and Fatimah Tobing Rony's documentary On Cannibalism--as well as Ayub Khan-Din's play and film East Is East, Aladdin Ullah's play The Halal Brothers, Layla Dowlatshahi's
play The Waiting Room, Mustapha Akkad's film Lion of the Desert, Betty Shamieh's play Roar, and Hesham Issawi's avant-garde film T for Terrorist.


COML 333.301 Dante's Divine Comedy
TR 10:30-12 Brownlee
Cross listed with ITAL 333

In this course we will read the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso, focusing on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, fiction, history, politics and language. Particular attention will be given to how the Commedia presents itself as Dante's autobiography, and to how the autobiographical narrative serves as a unifying thread for this supremely rich literary text. Supplementary readings will include Virgil's Aeneid and selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses. All readings and written work will be in English. Italian or Italian Studies credit will require reading Italian texts in their original language and doing the written assignments in Italian.


COML 360.401 Introduction to Literary Theory
TR 3-4:30 Rabate
Dist. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with ENGL 094

This course will provide an introduction to the main discourses of theory understood both as literary and cultural theory. We will start with early formulations of the problem of interpretation with Plato and Aristotle, then move on to contemporary approaches. We will study the main tenets and concepts of Formalism, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Feminism and Deconstruction and engage with Post-colonial studies, Cultural Studies and Queer Theory. We will use the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2001). Requirements: One oral report on a text in the syllabus and two short papers (7-8 pages). No final exam.

1/13 Introduction to Theory.
1/15 Plato's Ion and Republic (NATC, 33-85).
1/20 Aristotle's Poetics and Rhetorics (NATC, 86-120.
1/22 Augustine and Dante (NATC, 185-195 and 246-252).
1/27 Macrobius and Vico's New Science (NATC, 196-200 and 399-415).
1/29 Longinus, On the Sublime and Plotinus (NATC, 135-154 and 171-184).
2/3 Kant's Critique of Judgment (NATC, 499-535).
2/5 Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and Aesthetic (NATC, 626-644).
2/10 Marx and Engels (NATC, 759-788).
2/12 E. A. Poe and Baudelaire (NATC, 739-749 and 789-801).
2/17 Nietzsche (NATC, 870-984).
2/19 Freud (NATC, 913-955).
2/24 F. de Saussure (NATC, 956-976).
2/26 T. S. Eliot (NATC, 1088-1104).
3/2 Austin and Frye (NATC, 1427-1441 and 1442-1456.
3/4 Mikhail Bakhtin (NATC, 1186-1219).
First pape due
3/16 Walter Benjamin, "The Work of art" (NATC, 1163-1185)
3/18 New Criticism (NATC, 1269-1277 and 1350-1402). Â
3/23 Structuralism (NATC, 1254-1268, 1415-1426 and 2097-2105).
3/25 Roland Barthes (NATC, 1457-1475).
3/30 Jacques Derrida (NATC, 1815-1876..)
4/1 Paul de Man (NATC, 1509-1531).
4/6 Raymond Williams and Louis Althusser (NATC, 1476-1508 and 1565-1574).
4/8 Michel Foucault (NATC, 1615-1669).
4/13 Jacques Lacan (NATC, 1278-1310).
4/15 Franz Fanon and Edward Said (NATC, 1575-1592 and 1986-2011).
4/20 Johnson and Bhabh (NATC, 2316-2337 and 2377-2397).
Second paper due
4/22 Gayatri Spivak and Judith Butler (NATC, 2193-2222 and 2485-2501).

COML 372.401 Horror Cinema
T 1:30-4:30 and R 1:30-3 Met
Cross listed with FREN 382

Previous versions of this course (NOT a prerequisite) have offered a historical survey of the genre and a look at lesser-known cult classics of horror cinema in an international context. This time around the focus will be on two national cinemas: France (with, after a detour via Georges Franju's 1959 masterpiece Les Yeux sans visage, an emphasis on the contemporary period which has been witnessing an unprecedented revival in horror) and Italy (with an emphasis on the 1960s-1970s, i.e. the Golden Age of Gothic horror and the giallo headed by the likes of Bava and Argento, and a few incursions into more recent fare). Issues of ethics, gender, sexuality, violence, spectatorship will be examined through a variety of critical lenses (psychoanalysis, socio-historical and cultural context, aesthetics, politics, gender…). The class will be conducted in English.


COML 192.601 Classics of the Western World II

W 6:30-9:30 Carranza
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters

This course is an introduction to selected major works of Western literature from the Renaissance to the present. Topics examined in the course will include the development of modern literary genres, such as the novel, as well as transformations in drama and poetry. We will also examine the rise of important literary movements, such as Romanticism, realism, modernism, and postmodernism. Texts may include works by Shakespeare, Cervantes, Goethe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Eliot, Woolf, and Borges. In addition to primary texts, we will also read selected criticism to aid our interpretations. The course is primarily designed to foster an understanding of the texts that are considered important to modern Western literature and society. At the same time, however, we will examine issues related to their status as classics: Why are they considered classics, and what function do they perform in today?s world?


COML 241.601 The Devil's Pact in Literature
M 6-9 Richter
Gen. Req. III: Arts and Letters
Cross listed with GRMN 256/FILM 252/RELS 236

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 294.601 Global Freedom in Contemporary Women's Fiction
R 5:30-8:30 Shapple
Cross listed with WSTD 294/ENGL 293

With cries for freedom ringing in today's headlines, and the U.S. proposing to bring liberty to countries across the globe, how may we come to understand what freedom means to different societies? Might one group's freedom lead to another's oppression? How do women, in particular, balance their struggles for national independence, civil rights, and individual fulfillment? In this course, we will focus primarily on fiction written by women living in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to consider how ideas about gender, empire, and sovereignty impact women's lives and differ between cultures and histories. Texts may include fiction by Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, Isabel Allende, Jessica Hagedorn, Marguerite Duras, Arundhati Roy, Jean Rhys, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and Shani Mootoo, as well as selected critical essays and several films like The Lover and The House of the Spirits.

Last modified March 4, 2005
Maintained by Peter Gaffney & Elias Muhanna
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania