On this page, you will find generic descriptions of literature subjects that correspond to the MIT Bulletin (Course Catalog).

21L.522[J] International Women's Voices
(Same subject as 21G.022[J], WGS.141[J])
Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

Introduces students to a variety of fictional works by contemporary women writers. International perspective emphasizes the extent to which each author’s work reflects her distinct cultural heritage and to what extent, if any, there is an identifiable female voice that transcends national boundaries. Uses a variety of interpretive perspectives, including sociohistorical, psychoanalytic, and feminist criticism, to examine texts. Authors include Mariama Ba, Isabel Allende, Anita Desai, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, Alifa Riyaat, Yang Jiang, Nawal Al-Saadawi, and Sawako Ariyoshi. Taught in English.

21L.590 The Spanish Incubator
Prereq: none
3-3-3 HASS-E

Students travel to Spain to explore the country’s influence on our understanding of contemporary culture, from its role as the crucible of the international avant-garde, to its genesis of political art and writing, to its Civil War that ignited the artistic passion of authors around the world, to the exuberant liberation after 40 years of dictatorship. Readings include Hemingway, Lorca, Orwell, Neruda, memoirs of Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Spanish poetry of the war and repression that followed, and the films of Saura and Almodovar. Films, readings, field trips to museums, and cultural events enable students to understand the full context in which today’s vibrant Spanish democracy emerged. Contact Literature about travel fee and possible funding opportunities. Enrollment limited. Application required; contact Literature Headquarters for details.

21L.591 Literary London
Prereq: none
3-3-3 HASS-E

Based in London, explores the specific locations, history and artistic institutions that have made London a world cultural hub, deepening students’ knowledge gained on site through guided readings, theater performances, visits to homes associated with major authors, guest experts, and independent “author mapping” projects with reports back to the class. Sharpens students’ understanding of the complexities of international exchange and identity formation in a global age. Contact Literature about travel fee and possible funding opportunities. Enrollment limited. Application required; contact Literature Headquarters for details. 

21L.592[J] Brazil: Race, Place, and Modernity in the Americas
(Same subject as WGS.247 / 21W.781)
Prereq: none
3-3-3 HASS-E

Based in São Paulo, this course examines the relationship between race and place in the formation of modern Brazil and the U.S. through comparative analysis and interdisciplinary study of literature, film, visual art, music, and performance.

We will visit key cultural and historical sites; interact with archives and museum collections; and, most importantly, engage in dialogue with local scholars, religious leaders, community organizers, and activists.

21L.601[J] Old English and Beowulf
(Same subject as 24.916[J])
Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

Intensive introduction to Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon), the ancestor of modern English that was spoken in England ca. 600-1100. In the first half of the term, students use short prose texts to study the basics of Old English grammar. They go on to read short poems, and conclude by tackling portions of the epic Beowulf in the last third of the term. Assessment based upon translation work, daily vocabulary quizzes, and three exams.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.607 Greek I
Prereq: none
3-0-3; first half of term

Introduces rudiments of Greek to students with little or no prior knowledge of the subject. Aimed at laying a foundation to begin reading ancient and/or medieval literary and historical texts. Greek I and Greek II may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS Elective.

21L.608 Greek II
Prereq: 21L.607 or permission of instructor
3-0-3; second half of term

Introductory Greek subject for students with some prior knowledge of basic grammar and vocabulary. Intended to refresh and enrich ability to read ancient and/or medieval literary and historical texts. May be taken independently of Greek I with permission of instructor. Greek I and Greek II may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS Elective.

21L.609 Greek Readings
Prereq: none
2-0-4

Introduction to reading ancient Greek literature in the original language. Provides a bridge between the study of Greek grammar and the reading of Greek authors. Improves knowledge of the language through careful examination of literary texts, both prose and poetry. Builds proficiency in reading Greek and develops appreciation for basic features of style and genre. Texts vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if content differs. 21L.609 and 21L.610, or two terms of 21L.609, may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS-H.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.610 Advanced Greek Readings
Prereq: none
2-0-4

Building on 21L.609, develops the ability to read and analyze ancient Greek literary texts, both prose and poetry. Focuses on increasing fluency in reading comprehension and recognition of stylistic, generic, and grammatical features. Texts vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if content differs. 21L.610 and 21L.609, or two terms of 21L.610, may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS-H.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.611 Latin I
Prereq: none
3-0-3; first half of term

Introduces rudiments of Latin to students with little or no prior knowledge of the subject. Aimed at laying a foundation to begin reading ancient and/or medieval literary and historical texts. Latin I and Latin II may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS Elective. Limited to 20.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.612 Latin II
Prereq: 21L.611 or permission of instructor
3-0-3; second half of term

Introductory Latin subject for students with some prior knowledge of basic grammar and vocabulary. Intended to refresh and enrich ability to read ancient and/or medieval literary and historical texts. May be taken independently of Latin I with permission of instructor. Latin I and Latin II may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS Elective. Limited to 20.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.613 Latin Readings
Prereq: none
2-0-4 HASS-H

Introduction to reading Latin literature in the original language. Provides a bridge between the study of Latin grammar and the reading of Latin authors. Improves knowledge of the language through careful examination of literary texts, focusing on prose and poetry in alternate years. Builds proficiency in reading Latin and develops appreciation for basic features of style and genre. Texts vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if content differs. 21L.613 and 21L.614, or two terms of 21L.613, may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS-H.

21L.614 Advanced Latin Readings
Prereq: none
2-0-4 HASS-H

Building on 21L.613, develops the ability to read and analyze Latin literary texts, focusing on prose and poetry in alternate years. Increases fluency in reading comprehension and recognition of stylistic, generic, and grammatical features. Texts vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if content differs. 21L.613 and 21L.614, or two terms of 21L.614, may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS-H.

21L.614 Advanced Latin Reading
Prereq: none
2-0-4 HASS-H

Building on 21L.613, develops the ability to read and analyze Latin literary texts, focusing on prose and poetry in alternate years. Increases fluency in reading comprehension and recognition of stylistic, generic, and grammatical features. Texts vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if content differs. 21L.613 and 21L.614, or two terms of 21L.614, may be combined by petition (after completion of both) to count as a single HASS-H.

21L.620[J] Introduction to French Literature (New)
(Same subject as 21G.320)
Prereq: 21G.304 or permission of instructor
3-0-9 H

A basic study of major French literary genres — poetry, drama, and fiction — and an introduction to methods of literary analysis. Authors include: Voltaire, Balzac, Sand, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Camus, Sartre, Ionesco, Duras, and Tournier. Special attention devoted to the improvement of French language skills. Taught in French.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.621[J] French Feminist Literature: Yesterday and Today
(Same subject as Same subject as 21G.344, WGS.321)
Prereq: none
3-0-9 H

Explores feminist literary voices in France throughout the ages. Discusses the theory that the power of feminist writing lies in its ability to translate dominant language into a language of one’s own. Studies lifestyles, family norms, political representation, social movements, as well as the perception of the body. Investigates how feminist genealogies redefine the relationship between belonging and knowledge through a dialogue between several generations of women writers. Taught in French. Limited to 18.

21L.636[J] Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature and Film
(Same subject as 21G.716[J])
Prereq: One intermediate subject in Spanish or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H

Focuses on literary and cinematic production in 20th- and 21st-century Spain and Latin America with a particular emphasis on how social, cultural, political, and technological changes led to aesthetic innovations. Topics include the literature of politics, the avant-garde and subsequent literary boom, the radical aesthetic of the post-Franco era, and post-modern film and art. Materials include short stories, novels, poetry, song, and film. Conducted in Spanish.

21L.637[J] Power and Culture: Utopias and Dystopias in Spain and Latin America
(Formerly 21L.637[J])
(Same subject as 21G.717[J])
Prereq: none
3-0-9

Studies how new literary, artistic and musical forms have emerged in response to tensions and contradictions in Hispanic culture, from the eighth century to the present. Examines distinctively Hispanic artistic movements and modes from Al-Andalus’ vibrant heterogeneity to the enforced homogeneity of the Spanish Inquisition; from a rich plurality of pre-Colombian civilizations to the imposed conversions by conquistadors; from the revolutionary zeal of Latin America’s liberators to the crushing dictatorships that followed; from the promise of globalization to the struggle against US cultural imperialism. Taught in Spanish. Limited to 18.

21L.638[J] Literature and Social Conflict: Perspectives on the Hispanic World
(Same subject as 21G.738[J])
Prereq: One intermediate subject in Spanish or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H

Considers how major literary texts illuminate principal issues in the evolution of modern Spanish society. Emphasizes the treatment of such major questions as the exile of liberals in 1820, the concept of progress, the place of religion, urbanization, rural conservatism and changing gender roles, and the Spanish Civil War. Authors include Perez Galdos, Pardo Bazan, Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset, Salinas, Lorca, La Pasionaria, and Falcon. Taught in Spanish.

21L.639[J] Globalization and its Discontents: Spanish-speaking Nations
(Same subject as 21G.739[J])
Prereq: One intermediate subject in Spanish or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H

Studies new paradigms of cultural exchange that have shaped Latin America in the 20th and 21st centuries. Examines how globalization is rapidly changing the identity of peoples and cultures in Spanish-speaking nations. Spotlights debates about human rights. Materials studied include film, fiction, essay, architectural archives, music and art. Students complete a research project about a specific aspect of Hispanic culture that has been shaped by contemporary forces in the global economy. Taught in Spanish with required readings and writing in Spanish.

21L.639[J] Literature and Social Conflict: Perspectives on the Hispanic World (New)
(Same subject as 21G.738[J])
Prereq: One intermediate subject in Spanish or permission of instructor
3-0-9 H

Considers how major literary texts illuminate principal issues in the evolution of modern Spanish society. Emphasizes the treatment of such major questions as the exile of liberals in 1820, the concept of progress, the place of religion, urbanization, rural conservatism and changing gender roles, and the Spanish Civil War. Authors include Perez Galdos, Pardo Bazan, Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset, Salinas, Lorca, La Pasionaria, and Falcon. Taught in Spanish.

21L.640[J] The New Spain: 1977-Present
(Same subject as 21G.740[J])
Prereq: One intermediate subject in Spanish or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H

Deals with the vast changes in Spanish social, political and cultural life that have taken place since the death of Franco. Topics include new freedom from censorship, the re-emergence of strong movements for regional autonomy (the Basque region and Catalonia), the new cinema including Almodovar and Saura, educational reforms instituted by the socialist government, and the fiction of Carme Riera and Terenci Moix. Special emphasis on the emergence of mass media as a vehicle for expression in Spain. Considers the changes wrought by Spain’s acceptance into the European Community. Materials include magazines, newspapers, films, fiction, and Amando de Miguel’s Los Españoles. Taught in Spanish.