Graduate Permanent Courses
COM 513 Topics in Recent and Contemporary Philosophy (see PHI 513)
Gives an intensive analysis of the major movements in philosophy in recent decades.
COM 521 Introduction to Comparative Literature
This course provides a general introduction to the theory and methods of comparative literature, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary issues. We consider the relationship of comparative literature to fields of study extending beyond the literary: aesthetics, semiotics, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, and postcolonialism. The aim is to discover within and among these diverse and formidable fields some promising avenues for comparative literary research.
COM 522 Historicity, Topoi, and Genre
An advanced seminar in the methodology of comparative literature. One or more of the following problems are stressed: the concept of historicity, influence, and literary relations; genre theory and the evolution of individual genres; and the significance of recurrent motifs and themes and their affinities among different literatures.
COM 531 Comparative Poetics (also EAS 561)
Theory and practice of literary history, and evidence from various cultures: ancient and contemporary, and Euro-American and intercultural are studied. Topics may include literature and history, and literary history; the genesis of poetic and critical systems; literary change and periodizings; interpretations and ideologies; gender and other conditions of authorship/readership; cultures and languages and translations; and reception and influence. Readings are in literary, historical, theoretical, and exemplary texts.
COM 533 Literary Criticism: Classicism and Neoclassicism
A study of classical texts of literary criticism from antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the 18th century (Plato to Johnson), emphasizing the doctrines of the great critics, the continuities and changes in critical ideas, and the relation between theory and poetic practice.
COM 534 Literary Criticism: Lessing to the Present
The study of literary and aesthetic theory and the production of critical theory from the relationship between them. Readings primarily are in Lessing, Diderot, Baudelaire, and Benjamin.
COM 535 Contemporary Critical Theories
Criticism as an applied art and an autonomous discipline. Exploration of its place in intellectual history and a theoretical analysis of its basic assumptions. Topics vary each year.
COM 541 The Classical Tradition: Readings in Tragedy
The norms of classicism as they evolve within two ruling forms of poetry. Alternation between the epic and the tragic drama. The former, a study of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid; the contrast between primary and secondary epic poetry, changing conceptions of the heroic and of narrative form. Tragedies include Aeschylus’ Oresteia, the Theban plays of Sophocles, and selected plays of Euripides and Seneca, with an emphasis on the relationship of tragedy to social orders, theologies, and myths.
COM 542 The Classical Tradition: Modernity—Homer and the Modern
The reincarnation of classical norms in English and continental European literatures. Alternation between the epic and the tragic drama. The former, a study of epic writing by Milton, Pope, Keats, Joyce, and Broch; the evolution of the heroic within a Christian culture, and the relationship between the epic and the novel. Readings in tragedy from Shakespeare, Racine, Goethe, Chekhov, and Brecht, with an emphasis on the increasing secularity of tragedy and its dramatization of human suffering and achievement.
COM 543 Topics in Medieval Literature
Comparative studies in selected Latin and vernacular texts of the European Middle Ages, especially, but not exclusively, from the period 1250–1400. The seminar intends to provide an introduction to the methods of literary research in the medieval period.
COM 547 The Renaissance
A study of selected major genres and modes of Renaissance literature, such as pastoral, satire, romance, picaresque, confession, lyric, epic, comedy, and tragedy. Attention is given to important social, cultural, and intellectual currents affecting their development, such as Christian Humanism, Reformation and Counter Reformation, mysticism, neo-Platonism, and skepticism. Representative works from various national literatures are chosen for close analysis.
COM 551 The 17th Century in Europe (see SPA 545)
A study of important writers in the context of conservative ideas of the older humanism and religion, and of radical ideas of the state, philosophical systems, and vernacular criticism. Writers selected exemplify the kinds of achievement possible in the genres of lyric, dramatic, narrative prose, or critical writing.
COM 553 The 18th Century in Europe
A consideration of the primary topoi and defining oppositions of Enlightenment thought. Texts and specific focus vary from year to year.
COM 554 The Romantic Idea
The study of formative literary and philosophical works from the 18th through the late 19th centuries. Authors include Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schlegel, Goethe, Hölderlin, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Stendhal, and Nietzsche.
COM 555 Realism and Symbolism
Readings in all genres and theoretical pronouncements of two principal movements of the later 19th century to explore their origins and dynamics and to analyze their relationship to Romanticism and to the rise of scientific thinking. Topics may focus on selected authors or on broader perspectives, but the interrelationship among the arts is emphasized.
COM 558 The Problematics of Modern Literature
Works of poetry, drama, and fiction from the fin de siècle to the present are examined in an effort to determine representative literary responses to such phenomena of Modernism as the crisis of language, the disintegration of values, or the emergence of existential consciousness.
COM 560 The Novel and Romance
Major types of written fiction from the Greek romance to 18th-century novels, including non-Western texts, the cultural background of written fiction, and romance (ancient, medieval, and baroque); the picaresque novel; the psychological novella; and early realist fiction are studied.
COM 561 The Modern Novel
Narrative fiction from the Enlightenment to the beginning of the 20th century; the novel’s connection to large artistic movements such as Romanticism, Realism, and the early Modernism as well as to social and historical developments, modern narrative genres, and social realism; the historical novel; and the narrative representation of subjectivity are studied.
COM 562 20th-Century Narrative
Contemporary trends in narrative fiction, including high modernist techniques, various modes of resistance to Modernism, and the emergence of new literatures in national or international languages; and the rise of popular fiction are studied. Emphasis is on the links between literature and major contemporary cultural developments.
COM 563 Studies in Forms of Narrative: The French Novel in the 19th Century (see FRE 523)
A systematic analysis of narrative forms through the close examination of particular texts. At various times the following is considered: the prose romance, the picaresque, the thesis novel, the novel of manners, and shorter forms of fiction.
COM 565 Studies in Forms of Poetry
Modern poetry and poetic theory in French, German, English, and Spanish. Authors include Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Rilke, Celan, Lorca, Borges, Stevens, and Bishop.
COM 568 Special Studies in the Drama (see ENG 560)
Selected problems in dramatic literature and theory.
COM 572 Selected Topics in Critism and Theory: Derrida’s Ethics, History, and Politics (see ENG 572)
The ethical, historical, and political dimensions of Jacques Derrida’s thought and writings.
COM 574, 575 Literature and Society
Selected topics in the relation of literature to social, political, or historical issues. Topics may be offered in either or both terms.
COM 581 Topics in Non-Western and General Literature
By examining one or more literatures of the Near East or East Asia, and by referring to Western examples as well, the course raises literary issues that cannot be aired through the study of Western literature alone. Emphasis in any given year falls on Arabic, Persian, Chinese, or Japanese literature viewed in a comparative context.
COM 583 Russia and the West
A seminar dealing with the Western heritage of 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature and with the Russian impact on the writers of the West. Russian authors may include Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Mandelstam.
COM 584 Authors in a Comparative Context
Discussions of the works of individual authors, either in comparison with one another (e.g., Dante and Shakespeare, Rilke and Stevens), or within a larger literary milieu, extending beyond a single literature (e.g., Shakespeare as an issue in Western critical literature; imitations of Kafka in America and Europe).
COM 585 Arts of Imitation
A study of the arts of imitation, ranging from literal translation to interpretative adaptation.