Show The Graduate Center Menu

Fall 2010

Comp. Lit. 71000 - Cervantes and the Crisis in European Fiction
GC: Tues., 6:30-8:30 p.m. 4 cr., Prof. Scwartz

Comp. Lit. 71000 - Introduction to Renaissance Studies: Translating the Italian Renaissance
GC: Wed., 4:15-6:15 p.m., Prof. Carroll
(crosslisted with RSCP 72100)(12186)

Comp. Lit. 74000 - Dada and Surrealism
GC: Mon.,4:15-6:15 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Caws
(crosslisted with Fr. 76000) (12187)

Comp. Lit. 79800 - Independent Studies
Variable credit up to 6, Staff

Comp. Lit. 80900 - The Material Culture of Early Modern Privacy
GC: Mon., 6:30-8:30 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Elsky
(crosslisted with RSCP 83100) (12189)

Comp. Lit. 80900 - Narrative Genres in the Renaissance
GC: Wed., 6:30-8:30 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Fasoli (12190)

Comp. Lit. 85000 - Modern Fictions and Theories of Writing
GC: Thurs., 4:15-6:15 p.m., 4 cr. Prof. Ender (12191)

Comp. Lit. 85500 - Themes, Philosophically-Speaking in the Anthropology of Religion
GC: Wed., 2:00-4:00 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Crapanzano
(crosslisted with Anthro. 80900) (12192)

Comp. Lit. 88100 - Studies in Dante: The Divine Comedy and Arts and Sciences
GC: Thurs.,6:30-8:30 p.m., Prof. DiScipio (12193)

Comp. Lit. 89100 - History of Literary Theory and Criticism I
GC: Tues., 4:15-6:15 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Aciman (12194)

Comp. Lit. 89800 -Independent Studies
Variable credit up to 6, Staff

Comp. Lit. 90000 - Dissertation Supervision
GC: 1 cr, Staff

NYU Italian Courses

(Classes to be given at Casa Italiana at 24 W. 12th St.)


CL 80101- Dante’s Lyric Poetry (in Italian)
NYU: Tues., 3:30-6:15 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Maria Luisa Ardizzone (12189)

CL 80102 - Screening Italian Masculinity, Stardom, and Race from Italy to 1920's America (in English)
NYU: Mon., 3:30-6:15 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Giorgio Bertellini (12190)

CL 80103 - Italian Lyric from Petrarch to Marino ( in English)
NYU: Wed., 3:30-6:15 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Virginia Cox (12200)

CL 80104 - Realism(s) in Italian Modernity (in English)
NYU: Thurs., 3:30-6:15 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Ara Merjian

Course Descriptions

Comp. Lit. 71000
Cervantes and the Crisis in European Fiction
Prof. Scwartz

This course will focus on the study of Cervantes’s Don Quijote (1605-1615) as a text that recreates early modern literary forms, while questioning the writing of fiction, from the perspective of Aristotle’s Poetics and related Italian theories of the novel. Cervantes’s work will be also analyzed in relation to its literary models - romances of chivalry, pastoral, picaresque and Moorish novels, Boccaccio’s Decameron and other stories of adventures – and their philosophical contexts. The function of madness as a fictional device will be also examined in connection with Erasmus’s The Praise of Folly. Other aspects of this complex narrative to be considered include its rhetorical and ethical background, as well as the treatment of popular discourses and of classical adages. Among the works to be read, in addition to Don Quijote, are Sannazaro’s Arcadia, Lazarillo de Tormes, The Praise of Folly, and some novelle of the Decameron.

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 71000
Introduction to Renaissance Studies: Translating the Italian Renaissance
Prof. Carroll

We will study the linguistic and cultural translation of four enormously influential Italian Renaissance texts: Petrarch's Canzoniere, Castiglione's Cortegiano, Ariosto's Orlando furioso, and Machiavelli's Principe. What impact did these texts have on English Renaissance literature and culture? How did English authors make these texts their own and refashion them for an English readership? We will read the Canzoniere and English poems by Wyatt, Surrey, Daniel, Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare that can be traced to Petrarch; Castiglione's Cortegiano and Hoby's Courtier; Canto 28 of Ariosto's Orlando furioso and Harington's translation, Machiavelli's Principe and Dacres' The Prince, Gentillet's criticism of Machiavelli and Simon Patericke's translation of Gentillet. All who can will read the texts in Italian. Texts will also be available in early modern English translations through Early Modern Books On-line.

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 74000
Dada and Surrealism
Prof. Caws

This seminar will deal with the visual and the verbal in the wide-ranging movements of Dada (the writers Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball and the artists Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters and Max Ernst) and of Surrealism (the writers André Breton, Antonin Artaud, Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, Benjamin Péret, Robert Desnos, Paul Nougé and Joyce Mansour, the artists Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Jacqueline Lamba, Frieda Kahlo, Léonor Fini, and Dorothea Tanning, and the photographers Man Ray, Dora Maar, Lee Miller, and Claude Cahun. ) The emphasis on individual creators will depend on the interests of the participants. Insofar as time permits, discussion will also include in the currents of Surrealism in its outreach (in Spanish-language Magic Realism (Garcia Lorca, Octavio Paz), and American Surrealism ( Joseph Cornell, John Ashbery), and associated movements.) Oral presentations, reports on museum visits, and a final paper: the latter in French for students in the French Ph.D. program.

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 80900
The Material Culture of Early Modern Privacy
Prof. Elsky

As privacy is being redefined in the digital age, this cross-disciplinary course looks back at the material culture of privacy during its emergence in the early modern period. We will investigate the connection between the early modern ideal of privacy, its material realization in architecture, and its literary and visual representation. Our core theme will be the historical differentiation between public and private realms and their material embodiment in domestic interior spaces. The course meshes the following topics: the emergence of privacy as a practice and ideal from the perspective of cultural and material history; the embodiment of the ideal of privacy in the new architecture and interior design; and the literary representations of the passions unleashed in private space.

Our starting point will be the new architecture and the Renaissance reorganization of the house into differentiated common and intimate spaces, with special attention to the Renaissance invention of the private room (the studiolo or closet) in relation to new political arrangements resulting from the centralization of state. We will read some portions of foundational architectural treatises describing the new design of the house whose common/intimate organization defines the social standing of both owners and their visitors. We will examine the culture of the studiolo/closet as the location of the contemplation of books and painting, as well as the display of the material artifacts of learning, personal cultivation, wealth, and envy-provoking display. The studiolo/closet becomes an accoutrement of status, personal achievement, and self-realization, in short the space associated with the new personality types—male and female--of the Renaissance. We will have a look at painting programs in selected studioli and then consider the translation of the new architecture into literary genres which register, question, and reinterpret the new spatial arrangements. Readings will include diary records that reveal the role of intimate domestic space in maintaining social status through personal, family, and cultural memory. We will particularly consider the transformation of intimate space from the locus of self-realization to that of intense anxiety resulting from the unleashing of passions, as intimate space becomes the scene of loss of self through social disgrace and sexual longing in Petrachan poetry and autobiography, and the scene of violation and moral degeneracy in Jacobean drama. Because this is an interdisciplinary course, students can work on projects related to their home discipline.

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 80900
Narrative Genres in the Renaissance
Prof. Fasoli

Among the literary genres that flourished during the Italian Renaissance, narrative verse and prose undoubtedly became no less influential than lyric poetry in the broader spectrum of Early Modern European literature. This course will consider both the chivalric-epic poem and the novella. Narrative poems will include Pulci’s Morgante (a comic work that remained long forgotten until Lord Byron’s rediscovery), Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato (the first Carolingian epic to fashion love as the generator of the action), and Ariosto’s proteiform, subversively “harmonious” Orlando furioso, a poem which would exert immense influence onworks like Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Cervantes’ Don Quixote. For the short-story genre, we will focus on authors like Da Porto, Bandello, and Giraldi Cintio, from whose novelle, via French and English translations, Shakespeare borrowed the plots of Romeo and Juliet and Othello.

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 85000
Modern Fictions and the Theories of Writing
Prof. Ender

Writing is what writers do, and we owe to twentieth-century literary criticism and theory a much better grasp of how central and complex an activity it constitutes. Writing involves language, crucially – but it also raises such questions as communication, expression, encoding, reading, voice, style, the unconscious, and, of course, important issues of culture, literacy, and ideology.

This course will focus on descriptions and discussions of writing using the double lens of what writers have to say about writing in their own works or their fiction and what some major theorists of écriture have thought on this topic. On the literary side, we will study closely texts by Rousseau, Nerval, Mallarmé, Kafka, Zweig, Henry James. Readings about theories of writing will include Derrida, Barthes, de Man, Benjamin, Kittler. The initial reading list is slim, so as to encourage close readings of difficult text. It is also meant to leave openings for a last unit in the course devoted to contemporary examples and discussions of writing in the digital age.

Course requirements: one short oral presentation, a short midterm paper, a final research paper

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 85500
Themes, Philosophically-Speaking in the Anthropology of Religion

This relationship between religion and philosophy, like the relationship between religion and science, has been the source of very considerable epistemological disquiet. This seminar will consider some of the principal themes in the anthropology of religion from a philosophical and literary perspective. We will be concerned, for example, with the relationship between religious experience and the sublime; the nature of belief and belief statements; illusion and “reality”; religious symbolism and language; magic, ritual, and performativity; sacrifice; trance and possession; moral and spiritual transformation; taboo, transgression, and the law; shamanism, ecstasy, and creativity; contingency, destiny, and witchcraft; fundamentalism; secularism; postmodernism, negative theology, and iconoclasm; death, the afterlife, and apocalypse. Reading will include -- but are not limited to -- selections from William James, Rudolph Otto, Kant, Rodney Needham, Durkheim, Freud, Stanley Tambiah, J.L. Austin, Rene Girard; Euripides, Lienhardt, Obeyesekere, Niezsche, Caillois, Bataille, Taussig, Evans-Pritchard, Meyer Fortes, Victor Turner, Jean and John Comaroff, and Derrida. In consultation with the instructor, students will be required to write a short essay on an ethnography or relevant work of literature and a research paper. They will also be required to present one or more of the assigned readings to the class.

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 88100
Studies in Dante: The Divine Comedy and Arts and Sciences
Prof. DiScipio

We shall study The Divina Commedia in terms of the Curriculum of Arts and Sciences. Topics will include: Poetry and Poetics; Theology and Philosophy; History and Politics; Folklore and the Arts. We shall make constant reference to Dante's other works and pay particular attention to Dante's poetics and the author's pivotal role in the development of the literary vernacular. There will be a final paper of 25 pages minimum. The topic must be chosen in consultation with the Instructor and at midterm time the students should be able to provide an outline and an introduction to the project. The class can be conducted either in English or Italian, depending on the students registered. A bibliography will be provided later on.

Back to Course List >

Comp. Lit. 89100
History of Literary Theory and Criticism I
Prof. Aciman

With readings from Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus to Dante, Sidney, Boileau, Dryden, and Lessing, this course will examine the history and evolution of literary theory in the classical, medieval, and early modern periods. It will also examine such fundamental terms as truth, beauty, nature, and artifact with which pre-Romantic Western critics have attempted to understand literary works of art. This course will also explore the legacy and limitations of these and other terms and their impact on criticism today.

Back to Course List >