COM 202 / JDS 203 / REL 203

Introduction to Jewish Cultures


Lital Levy

This introductory course focuses on the cultural syncretism and the global diversity of Jewish experience. It provides a comparative understanding of Jewish culture from antiquity to the present, examining how Jewish culture has emerged through the interaction of Jews and non-Jews, engaging a wide spectrum of cultures throughout the Jewish world, and following representations of key issues such as sexuality or the existence of God in different eras. The course's interdisciplinary approach covers Bible and Talmud, Jewish mysticism, Zionism, Jewish cinema, music, food, modern literature, and graphic arts. All readings and films are in English.

COM 203



Thomas William Hare

Passion is a common word with a long, complicated history; the diverse meanings we associate with it engage our experience on the most ethereal and abstract as well as the most visceral and profane levels. In this course we will study range of films from the past eight decades with the aim of understanding how the films situate their subjects, how they narrate and illustrate passion, and how they engage personal, social, and political issues in particular aesthetic contexts.

COM 205 / HUM 205 / HLS 203

The Classical Roots of Western Literature


Leonard Barkan

An introduction to the methods and some major texts of comparative literary study. It will focus on the Greco-Roman tradition, asking what it means to call a work a "classic": it will consider the outstanding characteristics of this tradition, how it arose and gained influence and attempt to place it in a global context. Readings will be divided into three topics: Epic Heroes (centering on Homer's Odyssey), Tragic Women (in ancient and modern drama), and the "invention" of modernity (Aeneid). Selected additional readings in non-Western literatures and in influential critical essays. Two lectures, one preceptorial.

COM 206 / HUM 206

Masterworks of European Literature


This course seeks to discover (or rediscover) a series of significant works in the European tradition, and also to ask once again what a tradition is. The focus will be firmly on the close reading of particular texts, but discussions will also range freely over large questions: What is a classic, what difference does language make, can we think both about world literature, in Goethe's phrase, and about the importance of national and local loyalties? No easy answers promised, but astonishing adventures in reading guaranteed.

TRA 200 / COM 209 / HUM 209

Thinking Translation: Language Transfer and Cultural Communication


Max David Weiss

What is translation? What is a language? So essential and widespread is translation today that it has become a central analytic term for the contact of cultures, and a paradigm for studying many different aspects of our multilingual world. This course will consider translation as it appeared in the past, but especially as it constructs everyday life in the contemporary world. It will look at issues of anthropology, artificial intelligence, diplomacy, film, law and literature that involve interlingual and intercultural communication. Students should acquire an understanding of the problems and practices of modern translation.

CWR 206 / TRA 206 / COM 215

Creative Writing (Literary Translation)


Practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences.

COM 220

Introduction to Literary Theory


Sandra Lekas Bermann

An introductory course in the history of European literary theory. Readings include Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Boccaccio, Dryden, Corneille, Schiller, Sartre, Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, Derrida. Theories will be related to selected literary texts in an effort to explore how theory illuminates literature while shedding light upon larger human questions. One lecture, one two-hour seminar.

HUM 233 / EAS 233 / COM 233

East Asian Humanities I: The Classical Foundations


Brian R. Steininger, Trenton Wayne Wilson

An introduction to the literature, art, religion, and philosophy of China, Japan, and Korea from antiquity to ca. 1400. Readings are focused on primary texts in translation and complemented by museum visits, films, and other materials from the visual arts. The lecturers include faculty members from East Asian studies, comparative literature, art and archaeology, and religion. Students are encouraged to enroll in HUM 234 in the spring, which continues the course from ca. 1400 into the 20th century.

HUM 234 / EAS 234 / COM 234

East Asian Humanities II: Traditions and Transformations


Ksenia Chizhova, Xiaoyu Xia

An introduction to the literary, philosophical, religious, and artistic traditions of East Asia. Readings are focused on primary texts in translation. Lectures and discussions are accompanied by films, concerts, and museum visits. Lecturers include faculty members from East Asian studies, comparative literature, art and archaeology, and religion.

COM 239 / AFS 239 / AAS 239 / HUM 239

Introduction to African Literature and Film


Wendy Laura Belcher

African literature and films have been a vital (but often unacknowledged) stream in and stimulant to the global traffic in invention. Nigerian literature is one of the great literatures of the 20th century. Ethiopian literature is one of the oldest in the world. South Africans have won more Nobel Prizes for Literature in the past forty years than authors from any other country. Senegalese films include some of the finest films ever made. In this course, we will study the richness and diversity of foundational African texts (some in translation), while foregrounding questions of aesthetics, style, humor, and epistemology.

HIN 305 / URD 305 / COM 248

Topics in Hindi/Urdu


Fauzia Farooqui

In the more than seventy years since India and Pakistan became independent countries, a vast amount of literature has been produced in Hindi/Urdu. We will read selected literary materials including fiction, poetry, and essays while also focusing on historical and literary contexts. Materials will represent a range of genres, topics, and trends. Literary texts will be supplemented with additional materials including film and documentary selections, music, and author interviews, etc. Literary sessions and workshops will be organized in connection with the course.

CWR 205 / COM 249 / TRA 204

Creative Writing (Literary Translation)


Practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences.

FRE 217 / ECS 327 / COM 258 / URB 258

Revisiting Paris


André Benhaïm

Beyond the myth of the City of Light, this course proposes to look at the real "lives" of Paris. Focusing on the modern and contemporary period, we will study Paris as an urban space, an object of representation, and part of French cultural identity. To do so, we will use an interdisciplinary approach, through literature, history, sociology, art history, architecture, etc. To deepen our understanding of its history and its making, we will take a mandatory trip to Paris during Fall Break. Students will not only (re)visit the city, but also meet guest speakers and conduct personal projects they will have designed in Princeton. Prereq: FRE 207

COM 300

Junior Seminar: Introduction to Comparative Literature


April Alliston

Introduction to Comparative Literature for departmental concentrators. What is it to read comparatively across languages, disciplines, and media? How does Comparative Literature relate to a globalized world with its many cultures, languages, and literatures? What is the place of translation in this picture? We will address these questions by both looking at Comparative Literature as a historical institution and as a site at which disciplines, methods, and positions blend and clash. Readings from a wide variety of texts: fiction, poetry, travel writing, theory, history; consideration of other media such as visual culture and music.

COM 301

Theory and Methods of Comparative Literature: Critical and Literary Theory


A course in the formative issues of contemporary critical theory. Questions of the relationships between literature, philosophy, aesthetics, and linguistics will be treated with regard to the rise of modern philology, new criticism, hermeneutics, speech act theory, semiotics, structuralism, Marxism, the Frankfurt School, and poststructuralism. Readings in Auerbach, Spitzer, Brooks, Wimsatt, Schleiermacher, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Austin, Burke, Frye, Propp, Saussure, Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, Jameson, Adorno, Derrida, de Man. One three-hour seminar.

COM 303 / ENG 302

Comparative History of Literary Theory


Sandra Lekas Bermann

A historical introduction to literary theory from Plato to the present. By reading philosophers, critics, and creative writers, students consider issues such as mimesis, imagination, religion, sexuality, and ethics, noting how each casts light on our understanding of literature and its cultural roles. Past terms and current problems are related to an inquiry into the nature--and the power--of literature through the ages. Students will read critical works from Plato and Aristotle, through Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Benjamin, Derrida, and Achebe, as well as poetry and plays by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Eliot, and Brecht. One three-hour seminar.

COM 304

The East European Novel of the 20th Century


Caught between Russia and the West, traded off among European empires, the peoples of Eastern Europe are again independent in the postcommunist era. For them, surviving the 20th century became, literally, an art. After a geopolitical introduction to the region, students will read modern proseworks from the Polish, Czech, and Serbo-Croatian traditions, including novels cast as national epics during times of total war, as fantasy or science fiction, and as the tragicomedy of everyday life. Five films built off these novels will be screened during the course. Two lectures, one preceptorial.

COM 305

The European Novel: Cervantes to Tolstoy


Michael George Wood

The emergence and development of the major forms of the novel as seen in the works of Cervantes, Mme. de Lafayette, Diderot, Laclos, Goethe, Balzac, Stendhal, Gogol, Turgenev, Flaubert, and Tolstoy. Emphasis is placed on the novel as the expression of human relationships with individuals and with society. Two lectures, one preceptorial.

COM 306 / ENG 440

The Modern European Novel


Maria A. DiBattista

Using Flaubert's Madame Bovary as a paradigm of the major thematic and technical preoccupations of the novel, lectures offer detailed interpretations of Ulysses, The Magic Mountain, Swann's Way, and theoretical speculations on symbolism, stream-of-consciousness, linguistic structures, psychoanalysis. Two lectures, one preceptorial.

GER 307 / COM 307 / ART 317

Topics in German Culture and Society


Juliane Rebentisch

Exploration of key moments in German culture in light of its history and institutions. Topics may range from Marxist aesthetics to theories of fascism to German women writers. Readings and discussion in German.

COM 309 / ENG 420 / SPA 349

The Lyric


Sandra Lekas Bermann

The lyric as a form of literary art, as distinct from narrative or drama. Readings encompass a variety of lyrical forms and a number of different cultures. Translations will be used. One lecture, one two-hour seminar.

COM 310 / HUM 312 / MED 308

The Literature of Medieval Europe


Daniel Heller-Roazen

An introductory survey of major representative Latin and vernacular texts in modern English versions, including hagiography, romance, lyric and philosophical poetry, allegory, religious and secular prose, and drama. Special attention will be paid to Christian transformations of classical traditions and to the emergence of the Continental vernaculars of the late Middle Ages. Lecture and preceptorials.

THR 331 / COM 311

Special Topics in Performance History and Theory


Designed to provide students with an opportunity to study theater and/or dance from a historical or theoretical perspective. Topics, prerequisites, and formats will vary from year to year.

ENG 305 / COM 312

Contemporary Literary Theory


Zahid Rafiq Chaudhary, Christina León

Fundamental questions about the nature, function, and value of literary theory. A small number of strategically selected theoretical topics, including exemplary literary works as reference points for discussion. One three-hour seminar.

COM 314 / ART 334

The Renaissance


Leonard Barkan

An introduction to the literature of the Renaissance in Europe and in England. Emphasis upon major genres--lyric, drama, pastoral, and prose-fiction--as they arise in Italy, France, Spain, and England. Readings from Boccaccio, Castiglione, Lope de Vega, Sidney, Shakespeare, Erasmus, Rabelais, and Cervantes. Two 90-minute seminars.