Literature Courses

LIT035 Fiction Writing Workshop

This course is designed as an introductory workshop focusing on the writing of fiction and the discourse of craft. Through the examination of a variety of literary traditions, stylistic and compositional approaches, and the careful reading and editing of peer stories, you will strengthen your prose and develop a clearer understanding of your own literary values and the dynamics of fiction. Writing intensive.

LIT 110 HM Shakespeare

Covers selected dramatic and lyric works by Shakespeare with some attention to other Elizabethan and Jacobean writers. Final project; a public performance of a Shakespeare play.

LIT 179Q HM Weird Books/Special Topics in Literature

This course examines the material conventions of the novel, with a particular focus on writing that imposes alternative reading models. By considering the physical attributes of our selected texts in conjunction with their narrative strategies, we will investigate how the works conform to and resist bibliographic and novelistic expectations. Primary readings will include James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, and Chris Ware’s Building Stories. Writing intensive.

LIT 179R HM Othello’s Issue: Africans/African Americans in Literature/Special Topics in Literature

William Shakespeare’s Othello is having something of a “moment.” It has been called the play that perfectly captures the issues and anxieties affecting our twenty-first century lives. His play about a black man who rises to the rank of general in the Venetian Army speaks to the possibilities of diversity and a meritocratic system in a multicultural society. However, Othello’s murder of his innocent Venetian wife points to the deadly danger of incorporating foreign others in the body politic. At the center of all interpretations of Othello is the question of race: how are we to understand and analyze Othello’s blackness, constructed, as it is, for a white audience and represented by a white author? Moreover, how does Othello’s blackness become transcendent, able to stand for the seemingly universal, negative associations that get attached to it in the western imaginary? In this course, we will question the premise that positions Shakespeare’s play as offering a reflection of our own culture. In addition, we will consider the questions about who gets to write about and understand blackness, black people, and black experiences as we examine the literary and cultural intents and effects of Othello across the centuries. Beginning with Shakespeare, we will consider the way the play, its titular character, and anxieties about race and interracial desire haunt constructions of Africans, blackness, and African Americans in literature by a range of authors, British, American, Black, and White. Some of the texts we will read include, Oroonoko, Clotel, Native Son, Invisible Man, Season of Migration North, Harlem Duet, and Beloved.

LIT 179S HM Literary Translation: Theory and Praxis/ Special Topics in Literature

Computers can beat humans at chess, but can they translate Dostoevsky? Probably not in a form worth reading. But if we put traditional literary translation and machine translation at two ends of a spectrum, is there something in between worth considering? Computer-assisted translation includes transation memory programs, which store segments of previously translated texts; language search engines; language repositories that bring together translated words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs; and crowd-assisted translation, which pools the knowledge of bilingual individuals through social media. In the United States, only about three percent of books sold have been translated from another language, yet most readers now world literature only through translation. In this seminar, some of the fundamental questions underlying translation studies and particularly, literary translation, machine translation, and computer-assisted translation will be examined. Knowledge of a foreign language is required. The target language of the translations will be English. Writing intensive.