Due to COVID19, MIT Literature Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 subject offerings will be taught virtually.
To find subjects taught in previous semesters, you may also look at the archived Literature Supplements.

Fall 2021 Literature Supplement / Posters IAP 2022 Spring 2022 Literature Supplement / Posters
Show Descriptions


21L.345 On The Screen: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock Eugenie Brinkema MTWR 3:00 - 6:30pm 3-270
On the Screen: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock Eugenie Brinkema Jan. 27, 2015 3:00 - 6:30pm 1-390

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

The Films of Alfred Hitchcock explores sixteen of the great director’s films, ranging from 1927 to 1972.  Films will include early Expressionist forays; pictures of espionage and intrigue; the “wrong-man” films; big-budget classics; and lesser-known late works; readings will include feminist, psychoanalytic, formalist and historical explorations of Hitchcock’s craft.  We will consider figures such as blackmail, doubt, murder, guilt, marriage, and Hitchcock’s cameos in each film.  In addition, we will analyze aphorisms for which Hitchcock was famous, including the theory of spectatorship bound up with his aim to “Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.”

Class will meet Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week during IAP, from 3.00-6.30.  Each day that class meets, from 3-5 p.m., a new film will be introduced and screened; following that screening, we will have a seminar discussion from 5-6.30.  Short readings in preparation for each class, and brief, informal written responses after each class, will comprise the work for this 6-credit Sampling course.

No previous experience with film analysis or critical theory is presumed.

Films will include:

The Lodger (1927)
Blackmail (1929)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Suspicion (1941)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Spellbound (1945)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
Notorious (1946)
Rope (1948)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)

*** NOTE: January 27, 2015 the class will be held in Room 1-390***

Special Subjects and Topics

21L.S88 Special Subject in Literature: Global Literature Cultural Encounters: Insiders and Outsiders Margery Resnick, Stephen Tapscott

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged; Can be repeated for credit

HASS-H, 3-3-3

New Subject:

Spend IAP in Madrid studying transatlantic literatures. This innovative subject will allow for study entirely in English or in Spanish.

From naïve Henry James heroines to disillusioned Hemingway heroes, from Lorca in New York to Orwell in Barcelona, from Pablo Neruda to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to the wild women of Almodóvar; readings, films, field trips to museums and Spanish cities.

Students will live with Spanish families; classes are held at the Instituto Interacional, where you will meet study abroad students from Stanford, B.U., Syracuse, and Spanish students studying American English and American culture.

You will arrive in Madrid on Jan. 3rd for orientation on the 4th. The course runs from Jan. 5th through Jan. 26th with long weekends scheduled for trips.

By petition, this class counts for the HASS-H credit as well as for credit towards the concentration, minor, and major in Literature (21L) and Spanish (21F) Global Studies and Languages.

Students must fill out the on-line application at: http://gecd.mit.edu/go_abroad/study/explore/madrid_iap

Applications open on October 21st. Students will be accepted on a first-come, first serve basis with priority given to concentrators, majors and minors in 21L and 21F.

21L.S90 Special Subject in Literature: Global Shakespeares Diana Henderson, Emily Jones Jan. 12-16 M-F, Jan. 20-22 T-Th 3:00 - 5:00pm 1-242

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged; Can be repeated for credit

If Shakespeare could time-travel, he would be amazed to discover that his works are being studied as academic texts in university classrooms. He might be much more at home with their vibrant global lives onstage, onscreen, and online, since his own theater world was popular and dynamic. His was a collaborative, open-access profession in which writers and performers continuously transformed existing material into creative new entertainment. In this class, we will begin by exploring Shakespeare’s Hamlet through cinematic and theatrical adaptations from around the world. We will make use of an online library of tagged video clips that can generate illuminating comparisons through hands-on student editing and compilation. We will then turn to The Tempest, bringing it to life through group performance work that develops our own diverse set of interpretations. No experience with Shakespeare or performance required—just the willingness to participate and learn!