Show The Graduate Center Menu
 
 

Spring 2017

C L. 84000-The Emergence of German Romanticism-GC: M, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Room 3306, 2/4 cr., Prof. Caroline Rupprecht
 
C L. 85000 – Bilingual Polyglot Writers-GC: Th, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Room 33062/4 cr., Prof. Elizabeth Beaujour
 
C L. 86500-Lorca, Buñuel, Dalí: Theater, Film, Painting-GC: W, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Room 3308, 2/4 cr., Prof. Paul Julian Smith
 
C L. 87000-Recitar cantando:  Opera Librettos from their Origins to Gluck-GC: Th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Room 3306, 2/4cr., Prof. Paolo Fasoli
 
C L. 89000-Masculinity and the Renaissance Man-GC: W, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Room 3306, 2/4 cr., Prof. Gerry Milligan
 
C L. 89200-History of Literary Theory & Criticism II-GC: T, 4:15pm-6:15pm, Room 33064 cr., Prof. André Aciman
 

Cross-listed
 
*CTCP 71088-Critical Theory: Foundations and Practices-GC: W, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Room 6494, 3cr., Prof. Vincent Crapanzano
*Please note that CTCP 71088 is the required core course for the Critical Theory Certificate. Permission is required to enroll in the course. Interested students should contact criticaltheory@gc.cuny.edu. Students who wish to earn the certificate should visit www.gc.cuny.edu/criticaltheory to submit a registration form and view the certificate’s full list of elective courses.
 
RSCP 83100-Dialogue:  The Uses of Humanism-GC: W, 4:15pm-6:15pm, 3/4cr., Prof. Clare Carroll


COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
 
CL 84000
The Emergence of German Romanticism
Prof. Caroline Rupprecht
Mondays, 4:15pm-6:15pm
 

In this seminar, we will trace the emergence of German Romanticism, beginning with the Enlightenment, and culminating - via classicism - in German Idealism. We will read selected dramatic, poetic and philosophical texts by canonical authors, including Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, F. Schlegel, Hölderlin and Hegel. And we will discuss these in conjunction with recent essays by authors such as Walter Benjamin and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Special emphasis will be on questions of gender. Required readings include:
Goethe, J.W., Tasso, trans. MacDonald
Hegel, G.W.F., Preface to Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Yovel
Hölderlin, F. Hyperion, trans. Ross Benjamin
Lessing, G.E., Emilia Galotti, trans. E. Dvoretzky
No. 74-83 from Hamburg Dramaturgy
Schiller, F., Don Carlos, trans. Sy-Quia and Oswald
Schlegel, F., Lucinde and the Fragments, trans. Firchow
 
 

CL 85000
Bilingual Polyglot Writers
Prof. Elizabeth Beaujour
Thursdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm
 

While it is not unusual for a writer to be a bilingual, it is still rare for a major modern writer to be bilingual or polyglot as a writer and to create a body of work of more or less equal weight in more than one language. Most monolinguals have a visceral belief in the identity of language and self. They find disturbing and anomalous a modern poet or novelist who defines himself in one language and then either switches entirely to another one or continues to alternate with some periodicity between the two.  Certainly, being a bilingual writer confronts an artist with painful difficulties: neuro-physiological, and emotional as well as problems of linguistic choice and resistance. All these factors have significant impact on the form and language of the works. Self-translation poses particularly difficult problems for the bilingual writer.
 
While each bilingual writer's development is idiosyncratic, it is possible to maintain that bilingual writers, even working in different sets of languages, have more in common with each other than they do with monolingual writers of any of the languages which they master--or which master them. Among other problems, we will address the question of whether or not this hypothesis can be supported.
 
This course will concentrate on modern writers who are bilingual as writers in the strict sense, as noted above : Ariel Dorfman (Spanish/English), Nabokov (Russian/English) ,  Beckett (English/ French), Brodsky (Russian /English), and Nancy Huston (English/French) and  possibly Kundera (Czech/French), but we will also read short texts by some who have written only in one language, which is not their first (Hoffman (Polish/English), Rodriguez  (Spanish/English), etc.) as well as examine the recent phenomenal rise of a group of first generation Russian/American writers. We will look briefly at one or two writers who have decided to write books in mixed or macaronic language, as well as writers who have decided to forge a new language out of their ethnic linguistic practice (e.g. Anzaldua ,(Spanglish),  and those who deliberately combine several languages in the same work (e.g.: Federman (French/English)).

We will do close reading of texts and will discuss the psychological difficulties and pleasures of language switching as manifested in the works of the writers mentioned.
 
The initial classes will be devoted to an introduction to general problems of bilingualism as they apply to writers: the bilingual brain and problems of language storage and access, psycho-social aspects of bilingualism, and particularly the situation of bilinguals in voluntary or involuntary exile, “identity issues” and questions of “code switching,” and   the process of switching (permanently or for a length of time) from writing in one language to writing in another.
 
The first work we shall consider together in detail will be Ariel Dorfman’s Going South,  Looking North: A Bilingual Journey, which introduces in exceptionally clear form major questions of identity, imagery, and structure that we will see frequently in other texts. We will then spend some time on the career of Vladimir Nabokov, including a discussion of problems of translation and self-translation. The central texts here will be Pnin and Speak, Memory!
 
We will then read several brief works by Beckett and selections from The Unnamable, followed by Lost North  and  Limbes/Limbo: Homage to Samuel Beckett ,  two brief works by Nancy Huston,  We will read Eva Hoffman’s Lost in Translation, , several  essays by Richard Rodriguez and finish with a discussion of Joseph Brodsky, and if there is time,  a brief look at macaronic writing and invented languages.
 
If the class is small, there will be student presentations that will become the basis of the final paper. If a student prefers, the final paper may, however, focus on a problem of bilingual writing, rather than on a specific author.  The final paper may also consider pre-modern practices of bilingual writing.
 
When I was working on my Alien Tongues in the 1980’s, there was very little, indeed almost no, research on or interest in thinking about bilingual writers.  Now, 25 years later, it is one of the hottest topics in literary studies.  There has been an explosion of works about bilingual writing as well as an even greater expansion in the numbers of bilingual writers themselves.  Several of the now well-known generation of Russian writers in English were students in the course the first time it was given, among them Lara Vapnyar.  The resources about bilingual writing available in English and in the other languages known by most students in the Program in Comparative Literature are now almost daunting.  What we have here is a new subfield of Comparative Literature that may turn out to provide a specialization for those of you to whom it is interesting and for whom it is appropriate.
 
CL 86500
Lorca, Buñuel, Dalí, Theater, Film, Painting
Prof. Paul Julian Smith
Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm
 

This course treats the drama of Federico García Lorca, the silent and Spanish-language films of Buñuel, and some fine art works by Dalí. It involves close reading of literary, cinematic and analysis of the voluminous and contradictory body of criticism on those texts. It also addresses such questions as tradition and modernity; the city and the country; and the biopic in film and television. The question of intermediality, or the relation between different media, will be examined in its historical and theoretical dimensions. The course will graded by final paper (50%), midterm exam (25%), and final presentation, weekly postings to course website and oral contribution to class (25%).
 
CL 87000
Recitar cantando: Opera Librettos from their Origins to Gluck
Prof. Paolo Fasoli
Thursdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm
 

Opera was born in Florence at the end of the 16th century as an attempt to revive Greek classical theater, or what at the time Greek drama was thought to have been. It was the product of a collaboration and a compromise between poets and composers. Poets would abandon the then prevailing style that called for the use of endless conceits for one that favored linear understandability, while composers renounced to the extensive use of polyphony and counterpoint, adopting a monodic style and resorting to recitatives and later, increasingly, to arias. In this course, we will study the literary aspect of this still flourishing endeavor, in a historical period that stretches from the invention of opera, to Gluck’s post-Baroque “reform.” Librettos will include some of those centered on opera’s mythical numen, Orpheus (set to music by Caccini, Peri, Monteverdi, Gluck), and others adapted from early modern narrative masterpieces such as Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata.  Librettos based on Ariosto’s poem will include texts written for composers like Lully (Roland), Vivaldi (Orlando furioso, Orlando finto pazzo), Handel (Ariodante, one of his three Ariostean operas), while those inspired by Tasso will be limited, for practical and historical reasons, to librettos used by Lully (Armide, a text later set to music by Gluck), Vivaldi (Armida al campo d’Egitto), and Jommelli (Armida abbandonata). We will also read a libretto based on the last novella of Boccaccio’s Decameron, set to music by, among others, Alessandro Scarlatti and Vivaldi for their operas Griselda. We will also read librettos of operas by Cavalli (Statira) and Purcell (Dido and Aeneas). The course will feature guest speakers (musicologists, librettists, composers) and will address, among others, issues of gender, theory and practice of dramatic adaptation, and history of operatic performance.
 
CL 89000
Masculinity and the Renaissance Man
Prof. Gerry Milligan
Wednesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm


The course will examine representations of Renaissance masculinity by focusing on the Italian literary canon as well as some examples from European literary and artistic traditions. We will read fifteenth and sixteenth-century authors including Leon Battista Alberti, Baldassare Castiglione, Ludovico Ariosto, and Torquato Tasso and then consider how modes of masculinity, such as the refined courtier or the chivalric knight were adopted and refashioned when they were translated across linguistic, historic, or cultural lines. The course will spend a significant amount of time on prescriptive literature so that we might study both the construct of masculinity as well as how authors manipulated the rhetoric of masculinity and effeminacy to achieve their desired ends. Some important themes we will consider are the role of women in the construction of male identity, the implications of male sexuality, and the association of effeminacy with foreigners, homosexuals, and military defeat. Readings will include historical, sociological, and philosophical texts that help provide both historical context as well as a theoretical framework through which we can (re)-read the canon. We will begin by considering the notion of the "Renaissance Man" as presented by Jacob Burkhardt in his famous study Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy and move quickly to contemporary masculinity theories such as those by Connell (Masculinities), Frosh (Sexual Difference: Masculinity and Psychoanalysis), and Gillmore (Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity). Students are expected to complete brief reading response papers, one oral presentation, and a final research paper of 25 pages. The class will also participate in a site visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All texts read in the class are available in English translation.

CL 89200
History of Literary Theory & Criticism I
Prof. André Aciman
Tuesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm

 
A study of the development of thought about literature from the 18th century to the present day with readings from Kant, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Pater, Widle, Woolf, Tolstoy, Shklovsky, Eliot, Lukacs, Bathes, Poulet, Iser and Derrida. This course will not only address issues pertaining to the evolution of modern aesthetics, but it will also examine current critical methodology.
 
CTCP 71088
Critical Theory: Foundations and Practices
Prof. Vincent Crapanzano
Wednesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm


The focus of this seminar will be on the relationship between various conceptions of and attitudes toward language and recent theories of interpretation and hermeneutical practices in the human sciences and literary study.  We will consider the effect of the stress on reference over other language functions – the pragmatic, poetic -- on notions of text, genre, and rhetoric. How does this stress configure meta-critical understanding? How does it foster the often promiscuous play of divergent, at times analytically incompatible, approaches to interpretation so characteristic of contemporary theory? Readings will include works b Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, de Saussure, Lévi-Strauss and/or Gennette, Foucault, Michael Silverstein and his school, Bakhtin, Lacan and Deleuze.                                                                             
 
Ren. Studies 83100/CL 80100  (cross-listed course)
Dialogue:  The Uses of Humanism
Prof. Clare Carroll
Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm


Beginning with Plato’s Symposium and Renaissance translations and adaptations of it, we will explore dialogue as both genre and mode of discourse, with late 20th and early 21st century theoretical readings from Bakhtin (Problems of Dostoyevsky’s Poetics, Rabelais and His World), Habermas (Theory of Communicative Action), and Agamben (State of Exception).  Following the trajectory of classical dialogue through its diverse iterations in the work of Cicero and Lucian, we will then read some early modern translations of their work. With this necessary classical foundation, we will consider perhaps the most famous dialogue of the Renaissance Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano and its translations.  Examining what Walter Ong called “the decay of dialogue” in the late sixteenth century, we will consider such late Renaissance texts as Guazzo’s La civil conversatione and Spenser’s A View of the Present State of Ireland (a case of scribal publication) in relation to the emerging discipline of the self and the state. All texts will be read in original languages, but translations will be provided. There will be opportunities for work with digital manuscript versions of some texts for those who are so inclined.