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

21L.310 Bestsellers
Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; first half of term
Focuses on works that caught the popular imagination in the past or present. Emphasizes texts that are related by genre, theme or style. Books studied vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit so long as the content differs. Enrollment limited.
21L.315 Prizewinners
Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; first half of term

Examines the work of major prize-winning writers or filmmakers. Texts and authors are chosen that have won such prestigious literary awards as the Nobel Prize, the Booker Prize, or the National Book Award, or films that have been feted at major international film festivals. Authors and works vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if the specific works studied differ. Enrollment limited.

21L.320 Big Books
Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

Intensive study of a single major literary work or a very small set of related literary works. Emphasizes texts that encourage close analysis in a way that cannot easily be integrated into the regular literature curriculum. Content varies from term to term. May be repeated once for credit so long as the works studied differ. The “Big Books” taught in previous terms include Moby-Dick, Canterbury Tales, and The Faerie Queen. May be repeated once for credit if the works studied differ. Enrollment limited.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.325 Small Wonders
Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; second half of term

Close examination of a coherent set of short texts and/or visual works. The selections may be the shorter works of one or more authors (poems, short stories or novellas), or short films and other visual media. Content varies from term to term. May be repeated once for credit so long as the works studied differ. Enrollment limited.

21L.338 Reading in the Original
Prereq: Permission of instructor
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; first half of term

Close examination of literary texts in their original languages. Language and texts studied vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if content differs.

21L.339 Literary Translation
Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; second half of term

Studies the practices and theory of moving literary texts from one language to another. Student proficiency in other language(s) welcome but not required. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

21L.340 Pleasures of Poetry
Prereq: Permission of instructor
3-0-3

Strengthens writing and reading comprehension skills. Students attend all public sessions of the Pleasures of Poetry readings and discussions as well as several additional classes. The poems chosen by the various moderators range across the history of literature, from ancient Chinese lyrics to contemporary texts. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor.

21L.345 On The Screen
Prereq: Permission of instructor
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

Examines works of film, television or other screen-based media, with emphasis on texts that are related by genre, time period, style, or director. Works studied vary from term to term. May be repeated for credit once with permission of instructor.

21L.350 Science and Literature
Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

Examines intersections and channels of influence between the sciences and forms of imaginative literature. Topics, historical periods, and syllabi will vary. May be repeated once for credit if content differs.

Currently offered this semester:
21L.355 Literature in the Digital Age
Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; second half of term

Examines how emerging computational methods and tools are transforming practices of reading and writing in the present. Topics may include the exploration of experimental literary forms and digital media practices (hypertext, Twitter fiction, etc.) or focus on the use of digital tools for analyzing literature (GIS mapping, data mining, etc.). May be repeated once for credit if content differs.