To find subjects taught in previous semesters, you may also look at the archived Literature Supplements.

Spring 2023 Literature Supplement IAP 2023 Fall 2022 Literature Supplement
Show Descriptions


21L.000[J] Writing About Literature: Writing in Margins , Section 1
Same subject as 21W.041[J]
Wyn Kelley MW 1:00 - 2:30 5-231

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-HW

Do you like to mark up your books? Then you are writing about literature. This class will explore what writing about literature is like for authors themselves. From marginalia in the Talmud to adaptations like Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, writers mark up, borrow from, and rewrite other people’s stories, often reflecting in innovative ways on the creative process. Examples might include:

  • Spike Lee adapting Aristophanes in his film Chi-Raq
  • Alison Bechdel revising Oscar Wilde in her graphic novel Fun Home
  • William Shakespeare lifting Arthur Brooke’s verse narrative to write Romeo and Juliet
  • Mary Shelley reshaping her literary “dark materials” to make Frankenstein
  • Herman Melville turning a travel book into Gothic horror in Benito Cereno

Assignments and group projects allow students to explore the writing process in all its messy, creative stages. Writing in margins strongly encouraged.


21L.000[J] Writing About Literature: The Art of the Short Story , Section 2
Same subject as 21W.041[J]
Ina Lipkowitz TR 9:30 - 11:00 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-HW

When the short-story writer Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, she expressed her “hope [that] this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel.” In this class, we’ll take Munro at her word and read a variety of short stories by writers including Alice Munro, Sandra Cisneros, Raymond Carver, Tim O’Brien, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Junot Diaz. Of course reading stories for the sheer pleasure of reading them is one thing; thinking about what they might mean is another; expressing those thoughts in writing is a third matter. In this class, we’ll be doing all three. Our goal will be to increase enjoyment in reading and in understanding, as well as to feel more confident in the ability to express oneself effectively, efficiently, and gracefully.


21L.001 Foundations of Western Literature: Homer to Dante Stephanie Frampton MW 3:30 - 5:00 1-375

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

Masterpieces of European literature read with an emphasis on understanding the roots of an expansive classical tradition stemming from ancient Greece and Rome. Core texts will be Vergil’s Aeneid, the Homeric Odyssey, and Dante’s Inferno. We meet heroes and monsters, gods and demons, and read deeply into three of the foundational texts of Western literature. We ask what it means to be “a classic” and explore the ways in which literary authority comes into being in the context of history and society.


21L.003 Reading Fiction: Imaginary Journeys , Section 1 James Buzard MW 3:30 - 5:00 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

Great works of fiction often take us to far-off places; they sometimes conduct us on journeys toward a deeper understanding of what’s right next door. We’ll read, discuss, and interpret a range of short and short-ish works: the reading list will be chosen from among such texts as Gilgamesh, Homer’s Odyssey (excerpts), Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (excerpts), Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Saleh’s Season of Migration to the North, Woolf ’s To the Lighthouse, John Cheever’s “The Swimmer,” Coetzee’s The Life and Times of Michael K, Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” Toni Morrison’s Jazz, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Beckett’s How it Is, Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Forster’s A Passage to India. As a CI-H class, this subject will involve substantial practice in argumentative writing and oral communication.


21L.003 Reading Fiction: Novel Educations , Section 2 TR 11:30 - 1:00 14N-325

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

In this course, we’ll study novels about education, putting pressure on both of those keywords. We may think we know what a “novel” is and what an “education” is for, but the works of fiction that we’ll consider will make these familiar terms strange, and will prompt us to ask: What do novels—often read for entertainment or even escape—have to do with the hard work of being educated? Are novelists good or bad teachers, or both? How have novels sought to educate—even to school— their readers? How, at the same time, have novelists’ goals differed from the aims of other kinds of educators? We’ll read novels written over the course of two centuries (1815-2015) as well as a few short stories that, by serving as counter-examples, will help us to appreciate the specificity of the novel form. The course will provide an introduction to this form’s history from realism to modernism and beyond, and will address the novel’s relationship to various social contexts. Students will also work to sharpen their analytical and argumentative skills through intensive writing and revision. Our author-educators will include Austen, Flaubert, James, Musil, Joyce, Woolf, Spark, Bolaño, De Witt, and Beatty.


21L.004 Reading Poetry: Section 1 Janet Sylvester MW 1:00 - 2:30 4-257

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

An introduction to poetry in English, chiefly British and American, from Shakespeare through Claudia Rankine. Organized by poetic forms (sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, blank verse, and free verse), this course will consider each form from some of its earliest examples in English to contemporary modifications in form and content. Doing so, we will consider how poets, over the centuries, have carried on wide-ranging conversations— aesthetic, historical, political—through the rhythms, images, and ideas of poetry. Emphasis in the course will be on cultivating your pleasure in the richness of poetry and learning how to articulate that pleasure with precision in essays and oral presentations.


21L.004 Reading Poetry: Section 2 Noel Jackson TR 3:30 - 5:00 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

An introduction to poetry in English, chiefly by British and American poets. We will explore Renaissance, eighteenth-century, Romantic, and Modernist poetry in particular detail. Though the organization of the subject is chronological, our focus will be less on names and dates than on cultivating skills in careful reading and effective writing. Poets to be read may include Shakespeare, Sidney, Wordsworth, Keats, Dickinson, Frost, Eliot, and Elizabeth Bishop.


21L.005 Introduction to Drama Anne Fleche TR 11:30 - 1:00 5-234

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-A, CI-H

Drama might be described as a game played with something sacred. It tells stories that go right to the heart of what people believe about themselves. And it is enacted in the moment, which means it has an added layer of interpretive mystery and playfulness, or “theatricality.” This introductory course will explore theater and theatricality across periods and cultures, through intensive engagement with performance texts. We will study and discuss plays that exemplify different kinds of dramatic structure, and class members will also attend and review dramatic performances and have a chance to perform scenes on their own. In addition to modern and contemporary plays, readings will range from ancient Greece to Medieval England, Renaissance Spain, and Classical Japan.


21L.006 American Literature Sandy Alexandre TR 2:00 - 3:30 14N-325

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

This course surveys the texts and contexts that have shaped and continue to shape American literature. From Walt Whitman’s proud assertion of an American selfhood in “Song of Myself ” (1855) to Junot Díaz’s engaging and complex consideration of national identity in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), we will explore multiple versions of American identity as they have developed through time, across different regions both inside and outside the U.S., and through representation in the major literary genres of prose narrative, poetry, and drama. Readings include, but are not limited to the following authors: Henry James, Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Sherman Alexie, Gish Jen, Toni Morrison.


21L.009 Shakespeare: Global Shakespeares
Section 1 (Cancelled) Shankar Raman TR T 2:00 - 4:00 and R 3:00 - 4:00 5-231
Section 2 Peter S. Donaldson TR T 3:00 - 5:00 and R 3:00 - 4:00 16-654

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

Global Shakespeares approaches some of the playwright’s most enduring works through their vibrant and varied afterlife. We will focus on four or five plays, drawn from different genres, including Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest. Close reading of the texts will accompany examining how they have been adapted and performed around the world, on film and in theatre. Students will reflect upon how adapting the plays in different ways and for different contexts changes our understanding of their cultural impact. We may also attend one or more theatrical performances, depending on what is available in the Boston area during the semester. This semester, the two sections of 21L.009 will also benefit by meeting periodically with one another as well as with Prof. Henderson’s Writing with Shakespeare (21L.010) for films, scene analysis, presentations, and more.


21L.010[J] Writing with Shakespeare: Global Shakespeares
Same subject as 21W.042[J]
Diana Henderson TR T 3:00 - 5:00 and R 3:00 - 4:00 66-154

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-HW

William Shakespeare didn’t go to college. If he could time-travel like Dr. Who, he would be stunned to find his words on a university syllabus. But he would not be surprised at the way we will be using those words in this class, because the study of rhetoric was essential to all education in his day. We too will focus on communication using words, with Shakespeare as a capacious model and inspiration for dialogue, self-presentation, and writing. We will also benefit by meeting periodically with the other Shakespeare classes and professors, for films, scene analysis, presentations, and more.

By writing “with” Shakespeare—creatively, critically, in groups, and in a variety of media—you will have ample opportunity to explore the elements and occasions that shape effective, meaningful communication. In addition to famous speeches and sonnets, we will consider film versions of Hamlet and the challenges of social exchange in Othello. We will perform scenes from The Merchant of Venice and examine the enduring power of Shakespeare across the globe. Nevertheless, our aim is less to appreciate Shakespeare as an end in itself than to draw on his remarkable drama (its vocabulary, variety, and verbal command) in order to help you improve your own writing, speaking, analytic thinking, use of resources, and understanding of media today.


21L.011 Introduction to Film Studies Eugenie Brinkema T 3:30 - 5:00 3-270
Screening M 7:00 - 10:00pm 3-270
Recitation 1 R 3:00 - 4:00 1-273
Recitation 2 R 3:00 - 4:00 1-277
Recitation 3 R 4:00 - 5:00 1-273
Recitation 4 R 4:00 - 5:00 1-277

Prereq: none
3-3-6 HASS-A, CI-H

Films are familiar to you; this course should make them strange again.

The Film Experience serves as an introduction to film studies, concentrating on close analysis and criticism. Students will learn the technical vocabulary for analyzing the cinematic narrative, frame, and editing; develop the critical means for turning close analysis into interpretations and comparative readings of films; and explore theoretical issues. We will look beyond the surface pleasures of cinema to ask how films are put together; what choices are made formally, narratively, and politically in the constructions of different types of films; and how films have changed historically and in different production and national contexts.

We will study a wide range of works made between 1895 and 2010, including films from the early silent period, documentary and avant-garde films, European art cinema, and contemporary Hollywood fare. Directors will include Coppola, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Fellini, Godard, Griffith, Haneke, Hawks, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Lang, Resnais, Spielberg, Tarantino, Vertov, Welles, and Zhang. Readings will include work from film theorists including Bazin, Bellour, Bordwell, Doane, Gunning, Metz, Mulvey, Williams, and Wollen.

Format: one 90-minute lecture, one evening screening, and one discussion hour per week.


21L.015 Children's Literature: Children's Culture in the 1970s Marah Gubar MW 2:00 - 3:30 5-217

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

L. P. Hartley famously said, “The past is a foreign country—they do things differently there.” In this course, we will explore the groovy strangeness of U.S. youth culture in the 1970s. We’ll begin by investigating what recent historians have had to say about this decade, and why their insights have mostly failed to make it into American high school classrooms. We’ll also listen to the voices of young people themselves, who were invited to speak about their diverse experiences to an unprecedented degree during this period. And we’ll dip into the writings of children’s rights activists, who linked young people’s situation to that of other subjugated groups (such as women in patriarchal societies).

But the bulk of this course will consist of a crash course in 1970s children’s literature, music, television, theatre, and film. From children’s fiction by Louise Fitzhugh, Virginia Hamilton, and E. L. Konigsburg to mixed-media projects such as Free to Be…You and Me (1972) and films like The Bad News Bears (1976), child-oriented art from this period was notable for its aesthetic ambition and willingness to engage not only with the creative and intellectual energies of young people themselves, but also with the social, economic, and political turmoil of this “turning point” decade in American history.


21L.018 Introduction to English Literature: Irony, Wit, Satire, Parody, Farce, and Funny Walks Stephen Tapscott MW 2:00 - 3:30 14N-325

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

Readings in British Literature, chiefly [but not exclusively] from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Studies how modes of verbal and visual humor can inform ideologies, construct social identities, mock deviants and encourage deviance, tell the truth and expell the truth-teller, topple monarchs and enforce social order.

Medieval humor and humours!
Renaissance wit!
18th century satire!
Romantic irony!
Victorian parody!
Silly walks!
Fart jokes!
Performance art!
and all the names of your former lovers embroidered on the inside of a pup-tent

Geoffrey Chaucer
William Shakespeare
Jonathan Swift
William Hogarth
William Blake
Jane Austen
Robert Browning
George Bernard Shaw
Oscar Wilde
Aubrey Beardsley
Samuel Beckett
W. H. Auden
Barbara Pym
Phillip Larkin
Tom Stoppard
Sue Townsen
Monty Python
Jeanette Winterson
Tracy Emin


21L.020[J] Globalization: The Good, the Bad and the In-Between: The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between (HEX Subject)
Joaquín Terrones, Margery Resnick TR 3:00 - 4:30 4-249

Prereq: none
3-0-6 HASS-H, CI-H

This subject examines the cultural, artistic, social, and political impact of globalization across international borders in an historical context. Novels and short stories as well as case studies on global health, human trafficking, and labor migration illuminate the shaping influence of contemporary globalization on gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Guest lecturers visit class as we examine the impact of globalization on cultural identity, the arts, the politics of language, and the media. How has migration changed notions of cultural and racial hybridity? What can we learn from specific examples of global media and expressive culture including popular music and film? In what ways has globalization affected human rights? Students develop sensitivity to other cultures and the ability to read broadly across national boundaries. Furthermore, the emphasis on the historical context gives students a foundation to continue work in literature, history, and the arts from a global perspective.



21L.310 Bestsellers: Detective Fiction (Ends Oct. 28, 2016) Stephen Tapscott W 7:00 - 10:00pm 4-146

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; first half of term

This course will examine detective fictions as both a mode of thinking (we ask questions about our lives) and as a literary genre. As a mode of thinking, it’s been around since Sophocles (we read Oedipus the King); as a literary genre it emerges in the nineteenth century (Edgar Allen Poe, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle), develops through classic twentieth-century and modernist and noir-ish texts (Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, Raymond Chandler) and booms through postmodern uses of the genre’s structures (Jorge Louis Borges, Patricia Highsmith, and others). We’ll end with some film examples (Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock.) We’ll also consider formal, ideological, and philosophical aspects of detective fiction, using essays by structuralist/ narratology critics (Barthes, Peter Brooks) and essays by other recent critics including Jaques Lacan and Sally Munt. We’ll pay special attention to the cognitive work of “detection” and to the character of the detective: his or her social position, gender, intelligence, and wit.


21L.325 Small Wonders: Songs, Sonnets and Other Popular Poems Diana Henderson R 11:30 - 1:00 56-167

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

Why have poets kept writing sonnets for seven centuries? What creates an earworm? We will explore lyric poems and songs designed to be heard as well as seen, considering how these and other factors contribute to the popularity of poetry. From the rivers of Babylon to the shores of Gitche Gumee, from John Donne’s defiance of Death to Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks,” you will have a chance to roam in fields of gold and wrestle with the demons that keep writers up at night. You will also learn some of the best-loved verses in English, listen to classic song collections, and have the opportunity to develop your own creative and critical voice.


21L.345 On The Screen: The Best Movie Ever Made (Begins Oct. 31, 2016) Stephen Tapscott W 7:00 - 10:00pm 4-146

Prereq: Permission of instructor
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

A 25-year-old first-time director (who also putatively co-wrote the script, starred in the movie, and invented a new lens to accommodate camera-angles he wanted to shoot).

A cast of actors who had never been in a movie.
Hostile reviews from a powerful publishing-syndicate.
Only one Oscar win (for the screenplay).
A box-office flop.

How can Citizen Kane possibly be the best film ever made?


Shooting script, “Citizen Kane” [credited to Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz] F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Samuel Coleridge, “Kubla Khan”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
James Whale, Frankenstein [film] William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; short stories
Robert Wiene, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari [film] Walt Disney Studios, Snow White [animated film] Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times [film] John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath [film] Sigmund Freud, “Fetishism”
photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans



21L.430 Popular Culture and Narrative: Use and Abuse of the Fairy Tale
William Donaldson TR 9:30 - 11:00 66-154

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

This course takes a deep look at a big subject. We ask where Fairy Tales come from, surveying the work of the famous Brothers Grimm, before moving on to historic fairy belief in traditional Celtic societies, centering on the folkloristic work of Robert Kirk in late seventeenth-century Scotland, and his links with the Royal Society. We look at the structure of Fairy Tales, and how they are conditioned by oral transmission, and inherited story-telling techniques.

We ask what Fairy Tales mean, considering a range of Freudian and Jungian interpretations, and the claims made for them as a key psychological tool.

There follow two case studies of the abuse of Fairy Tales, firstly by the Nazis in 1930s Germany for the purposes of political indoctrination, and, secondly, by Walt Disney in the famous series of animated movies starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We consider the filmic techniques involved, and the charges of sexism and political conservatism frequently laid at Disney’s door.

We end with a close study of modern literary written Fairy Tales from writers including Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Dickens, L. Frank Baum, Margaret Atwood, and Angela Carter.

The goal of the class is to teach students how to approach cultural history in a broad-based multi-disciplinary manner, using a blend of folklore, history, psychology, and film and textual studies. The student will gain a detailed appreciation of the links between oral tradition and print, and the means by which culture is transmitted down the centuries via a wide range of media.


21L.433 Film Styles and Genres: Melodrama, or The History of Tears TR 9:30 - 11:00 1-135

Prereq: 21L.011 or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

Melodramas are excessive and often embarrassing. They traffic in heightened emotions, stylized gestures, and schmaltzy scores. They center on broken hearts and broken homes, and they tell stories punctuated by contrived meetings, missed encounters, sudden reversals of fortune, and sentimental scenes of revelation, rescue, and irretrievable loss.
All of this may sound old-fashioned, but film history suggests that melodramas are here to stay. Directors continue to draw on and creatively re-imagine melodramatic conventions in their explorations of race, gender, sexuality, and power. For their part, film scholars now argue that even the campiest tearjerkers should be taken seriously. Once dismissively labeled “women’s weepies,” melodramas have been seen more recently to represent “the dominant mode of classic Hollywood cinema.” Often disparaged as politically out of touch and aesthetically over the top, melodramatic modes have also been called the only “realisms” adequate to contexts of radical inequality.
In this course, we’ll assess these and other claims about the long life and surprising social relevance of melodrama. We’ll study films by Almodóvar, Araki, Borden, Daniels, Gerima, Haynes, Hitchcock, Mankiewicz, Matarazzo, Nava, Sirk, Vidor, and Washington, among others. We’ll also read key critical essays and a few literary texts; authors will include Berlant, Brooks, Cavell, Doane, Le Guin, Miller, Mulvey, Povinelli, Puga, Sexton, Thoreau, Wilderson, and Williams.


21L.434 Science Fiction and Fantasy: Science Fiction Before Science Fiction Marah Gubar MW 11:00 - 12:30 5-234

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

The Hugo Awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, who coined the term “science fiction” in 1926 while publishing Amazing Stories, the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Yet long before that, nineteenth-century writers such as Mary Shelley, H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edith Nesbit were penning their own Strange Stories (1884), testing out many of the sci-fi and fantasy tropes that contemporary authors continue to retool to this day.

Mad scientists and the monsters they create! “Last man on earth” dystopias! Stories about robots, time machines, and mummies who come back to life and rampage around museums…not to mention a park filled with dinosaurs living next door to modern humans! In all of these cases, the Victorians got there before us, in fictions that were heavily influenced by the earth-shaking hypotheses being advanced by nineteenth-century scientists such as Charles Darwin and Richard Owen. In this course, we will explore not only how nineteenth-century science influenced art, but also how art influenced science.


21L.458 The Bible Ina Lipkowitz TR 11:30 - 1:00 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

The Bible – both Hebrew Bible and New Testament – is a complex and fascinating text, written by many people, in different languages, over a vast period of time, yet still displaying an overarching unity. Our purpose in this course is to consider the Bible as both a collection of disparate books and as a unified whole. Of course it is impossible to discuss the Bible without reference to religion, but religious interpretation – whether Jewish or Christian – is not our primary concern. Rather, we will explore the Bible’s literary techniques and its enormous variety of genres – everything from myth to history, from genealogy to poetry – as well as the historical periods that produced and are reflected in it. We will also consider issues arising from the history of the translation of the Bible from its original Hebrew and Greek. We will read Genesis, Exodus, selections from Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Samuel, Isaiah, Job, Daniel, the Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, and Revelation.


21L.504[J] Race and Identity in American Literature: Being Human
Sandy Alexandre T 7:00 - 10:00pm 2-103

Prereq: Permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

In this course, we will not only consider how writers portray and try to understand what it means to be distinctly human, but also explore what it means and entails to become a better human being, especially as we enter what many are calling a “second machine age” in which machines will take over jobs formerly occupied by human beings. What does it mean to be humane and to evolve into your own distinct humanity while pursuing your various definitions of success? What aspects of our identity get sacrificed in this pursuit of success, particularly in the context of what standards of success tend to look like in American culture? How is the label “human” wielded to exclude certain groups of people from that category? We’ll read essays by Sylvia Wynter and Lorraine Hansberry and fictional texts by Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Suzan Lori Parks, Claudia Rankine, and others:

Beloved, Toni Morrison
Lilith’s Brood Trilogy, Octavia Butler
Venus, Suzan Lori Parks
Essays, Lorraine Hansberry
I, Robot, both Isaac Asimov’s collection & Alex Proyas’s film
Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot


21L.512 American Authors: Weird Americas Joaquín Terrones TR 1:00 - 2:30 66-148

Prereq: One subject in Literature, permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

Christopher Columbus’s initial description of the Americas featured rivers of gold and man-eating monsters. From the moment settlers and conquistadors first encountered its endless frontiers, abundant nature, and alien cultures, the New World has often stood as otherworldly counterpart to European worldliness. This course will examine how contemporary North and Latin American authors have reflected on their national identities through horror, magical realism, and science fiction.

Our first unit will consider hauntings and ghosts stories as attempts to make sense of the hemisphere’s violent past. In the second, we will explore divergent worlds, geographies, and timelines that reimagine otherness and cultural plurality. The final unit will study genetic and cybernetic splicings that blur the carefully guarded lines between man, animal, and machine.

Some of the texts we will read include Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, as well as short stories by Borges, Poe, Lovecraft, and Ocampo. We will also analyze the Brazilian graphic novel Daytripper, the Canadian television series Orphan Black, the film Jupiter Ascending, and the music of Janelle Monáe.


Course trailer for 21L.512 Weird Americas from Fall 2015.


International Literatures

21L.611 Latin I Randall Colaizzi MW 1:00 - 2:30 14N-112

Prereq: none
3-0-3; first half of term

Latin I offers an introduction for those who do not know the language, or a review for those who would like to refresh the Latin that they have previously learned. In this half-semester intensive course, students will learn the rudiments of Latin vocabulary and grammar, including basic vocabulary, word forms, and simple sentence structure. This is the equivalent of a full first semester of college-level Latin.

(Ends Oct. 28, 2016)


21L.612 Latin II Randall Colaizzi MW 1:00 - 2:30 14N-112

Prereq: 21L.611 or permission of instructor
3-0-3; second half of term

Latin II offers a continuation of Latin I. This class will complete the basic preparation for those who have begun the language with Latin I (611), or will give a review to those who have learned some Latin previously. In this half-semester intensive course, students will reach the level necessary to read Latin texts at an intermediate level, including the full basic Latin vocabulary, word forms, and a knowledge of more complex sentence structures. This is the equivalent of the second semester of college-level Latin.

(Begins Oct. 31, 2016)



21L.701 Literary Methods: Text, Context, Subtext, Paratext Shankar Raman W 7:00 - 10:00pm 4-253

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

This subject raises basic questions: What is a (literary or filmic) text? How was it made, and under what conditions? Who made it, and why should that matter? What happened to it over time? What do we make of it now, and why? We will focus on four major narrative works from different periods and genres: most probably, a play by Shakespeare, a nineteenth-century novel, a more contemporary literary work, and a film. Through close attention to these works’ origins, contemporary reception, and subsequent fate, we will examine the crucial roles of storytelling and interpretation in the making of meaning.


21L.702 Studies in Fiction: Joyce, Woolf and the Legacy of Modernism David Thorburn TR 3:30 - 5:00 14N-112

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

The first half of this course will center on two classics of high modernism, Virginia Woolf ’s Mrs. Dalloway and Joyce’s Ulysses. In the second half of the course, we’ll read a sampling of later fiction that draws on the experimental legacy of modernist literature. We’ll spend about a month on Ulysses; each member of the class will be responsible for a single chapter, on which she or he will report to the class. Later texts include: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things; Garcia Gabriel Marquez, “The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship”; Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker.


21L.704 Studies in Poetry: Power, Protest, and Poetry Noel Jackson TR 1:00 - 2:30 4-144

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

The poetry we’ll read in this seminar was written against the background of momentous social, political, and economic transformation. Alternately inspired by and aghast at these transformations, Romantic writers undertook an ambitious project to redefine poetry and what it means to be a poet. Beyond inventing new poetic genres, styles, and theories of poetry, these authors envisioned nothing less than a thoroughgoing reevaluation of the writer’s vocation in the modern world. To write (and to read) was to be part of a world-making, potentially world-changing enterprise — as potentially efficacious in changing the world as the historical and political events to which their poetry responded.

We will read the work of two friends and collaborators, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, alongside a colorful secondary cast of radicals, philosophers, and scientists. We will also read some later poetry and prose — by Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley, and others — that revisits the poetry and ideas of the previous generation with irony, remorse, or humor.


21L.705 Major Authors: Toni Morrison and Herman Melville Talking About America Wyn Kelley MW 9:30 - 11:00 5-232

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

“It’s not my fault,” begins Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child (a novel that she dedicates simply “For You”). Her opening picks up a long-running debate about who Americans are, where they come from, what they have experienced, and what it cost. Two major authors, Toni Morrison and Herman Melville, have much to say and are also deeply concerned with the saying: with the voices and issues; who gets into the discussion and who is kept out; how to make words act and when to let them be. As we meet during a national election hinging on questions of immigration, race, and borders, we will find these topics and others addressed by authors who consider them meaningfully and within a generous context (“For You”). In this class, we will pair their works at critical junctures, thinking about outsiders (Sula in Morrison’s Sula, Tommo in Melville’s Typee); imagined communities (the whaling ship in Moby-Dick, the neighborhood of Beloved); justice in Paradise and Billy Budd; fluid and fixed identities in Benito Cereno and A Mercy. In an encounter as celebratory as it is critical, students will find a wide array of opportunities to join in a remarkable conversation.


21L.706 Studies in Film: Remakes, Replays, Remixes
Peter S. Donaldson T 7:00 - 10:00pm 16-654

Prereq: 21L.011, one subject in Literature or Comparative Media Studies; or permission of instructor
3-3-6 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

Film adaptations of novels, plays, and films. Films will include film noir adaptations of science fiction and detective novels and stories, classic fiction, autobiography; films made from plays; films based on other films, and avant-garde takes on Shakespeare. Films and texts: Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The Big Sleep, The Big Lebowski, The Hours/Mrs. Dalloway, Clueless/Emma, A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, X [Malcolm X]/Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Man Who Knew Too Much, North By Northwest, The Passenger (Professione: Reporter), Prospero’s Books, King Lear (Godard).