Literature in Translation Courses Fall 2022

  • LITTRANS 201 – Survey Of 19th And 20th Century Russian Literature In Translation I

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 11:00-11:50 am          Instructor: Kirill Ospovat

    Course Description: Pushkin to Tolstoy; reading and lecture in English.

    Prerequisites: Not open to students with credit for LITTRANS 203.

  • LITTRANS 203 – Survey Of 19th And 20th Century Russian Literature In Translation I (with Comm B credit)

    (4 credits)

    • MWF 11:00-11:50 am          Instructor: Kirill Ospovat
      • DIS 301: T 9:55-10:45 am
      • DIS 302: T 11:00-11:50 am
      • DIS 303: T 12:05-12:55 pm
      • DIS 304: T 1:20-2:10 pm

    Course Description: Pushkin to Tolstoy; reading and lecture in English; 4th hour discussion section for Communication-B credit.

    Prerequisites: Not open to students with credit for LITTRANS 201.

  • LITTRANS 208 – The Writings of Vaclav Havel: Crtitique of Modern Society

    (3 credits)

    • TR 1:00 – 2:15 pm          Instructor: David Danaher

    Course Description: Václav Havel (1936-2011) was a renowned Czechoslovak writer, “dissident,” and human-rights activist who became president of his country in late 1989 with the fall of the totalitarian regime. He left behind a large body of written work that still speaks to us today. In this course, we will undertake an in-depth examination of his writings across a variety of genres, and these include typographic poetry, political/presidential speeches, “dissident” essays, and absurdist plays. The course is a literature-in-translation course in two senses of the term “translation.” In the most straightforward sense, we will be reading—and critically evaluating—Havel’s works in English translation. In a second sense, we will analyze the ideas in these texts by “translating” them into contemporary American terms. The course focuses on close analysis of the texts themselves (rhetorical style and technique, structure, imagery, comparison across genres) as well as on critical application of Havel’s ideas to our own personal life experiences. In this respect, we will remain faithful to Havel’s own pragmatic understanding of art and literature. In what ways do Havel’s works speak to us today? What is his intellectual legacy? Students will: (1) develop a familiarity with Havel’s sociopolitical and cultural context as well as details of his thought; (2) grapple with Havel’s ideas through close analysis of the texts we read; (3) hone their critical-reading and critical-thinking skills; (4) apply Havel’s thought to our contemporary context.

    Prerequisites: None

  • LITTRANS 222 – Dostoevsky In Translation

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 12:05-12:55 pm          Instructor: Andrew Reynolds

    Course Description: Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881) is generally considered to be one of the greatest novelists in world literature. His insights into human psychology and his analysis of the political and spiritual climate of 19th-century Russia (and of European thought more broadly) have influenced many major writers and philosophers, from Freud and Nietzsche to Faulkner and Camus. Our main focus will be on the seminal Notes from Underground, one of the most important proto-existentialist works, and three of Dostoevsky’s greatest novels: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. Crime and Punishment is perhaps the most accessible of all Dostoevsky’s works and develops the critique of rationalism and utilitarianism begun in Notes from Underground on three of his greatest novels. The Idiot provides particularly revealing insights into human psychology and sexuality and foregrounds many of the complex and problematic elements of Dostoevsky’s religious thought. His masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, among many other things, foretells the rise of totalitarianism, and is considered by many to be the greatest novel ever written. This course should be of interest and relevance to anyone studying Russian society or history, or indeed for anyone with an interest in literature. Dostoevsky’s works are also, of course, direct encounters with the “accursed questions” of life, love, evil, violence, sex, death and the other usual suspects. As always in my classes, the main focus will be on the individual reader’s close encounter with the aesthetics and ethics of these works.

    Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.

  • LITTRANS 223 – Vladimir Nabokov: Russian And American Writings

    (3 credits)

    • MWF 11:00-11:50 am          Instructor: Sara Karpukhin

    Course Description: In this course you will get to know the Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977). It spans both the Russian- and English-language parts of his career. You will discover the “Nabokov effect,” the writer’s love of pattern, and the system of cognitive challenges and rewards in his fiction. You will read Nabokov’s major works from the perspective of history and politics, ethics and art: learn about the “nightmare of history” in 20th-century Europe as well as the writer’s struggle as a refugee from war, ideology, and racial hatred.

    Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.

  • LITTRANS 233 – Russian Life And Culture Through Literature And Art (To 1917)

    (3-4 credits)

    • Section 001: MWF 2:25-3:15 pm          Instructor: Jennifer Tishler
      • DIS 301: T 2:25-3:15 pm
    • Section 002: MWF 2:25-3:15 pm          Instructor: Jennifer Tishler

    Course Description: LITTRANS 233 presents an introduction to the culture of Russia—its art and architecture, folklore, literature, music, religious life, and philosophy—from its origins through the beginning of the twentieth century. As we move through nearly one thousand years of history, we will pay special attention to such recurring themes as authoritarianism and reactions against authoritarianism, the concept of a Russian “people,” the status of women and ethnic minorities in Russian society, and the acceptance or rejection of cultural values and innovations as “Western” or “Eastern,” “Russian” or “foreign.”

    Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.

  • LITTRANS 235 – The World Of Sagas

    (3 credits)

    • LEC 001: MW 2:30-3:45 pm                    Instructor: Scott Mellor
    • LEC 002: TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm          Instructor: Scott Mellor

    Course Description: The World of the Sagas will give students an introduction to medieval Scandinavia and “the Vikings” and give you an understanding of medieval Scandinavian studies as a field as it relates to narrative. The course begins by looking at modern images of the Viking age in movies, television, and gamings and then approaches medieval Scandinavia along historical lines with texts from medieval sources, including the legendary history of early Scandinavia, the consolidation of the Scandinavian kingdoms, the Viking expansion, and finally the conversion of Scandinavia to Christianity which marked the end to the Viking adventure. As we learn about medieval Scandinavia we gain a greater understanding of ourselves and the human condition.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 236 – Extreme Stories: Case Studies

    (3 credits)

    • TR 2:30 – 3:45 pm          Instructor: Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge

    Course Description: The extremes of human experience fascinate us: faced with stories of illnesses that seem to move between mind and body, devastating plagues, or gruesome crimes, we look for explanations that make sense of how and why such events take place. But often enough, attempts to rationalize frightening or confusing events reveal how hard it is to draw the boundaries between “extreme” and “normal,” showing just how slippery our categories of sickness and health, guilt and innocence are. This course looks at fictional texts (including films and plays) and legal, psychological, and medical cases to examine critically the different ways we try to make sense of these experiences. In paying special attention to the way writers, scientists, lawyers, psychologists, and filmmakers are challenged, inspired, or confounded by these extreme stories, we will: look at early case studies published in pedagogical journals and magazines in the eighteenth century, watch as practitioners try to explain mental illness at the birth of psychoanalysis (including Freud’s famous case study “The Wolf Man”), debate the use of cases in establishing mental categories (for example in the discovery and history of Dissociative Identity Disorder), and consider criminal cases (e.g. Leopold and Loeb). We will look further at fictionalized ‘cases,’ such as Nunally Johnson’s film The Three Faces of Eve, Friedrich Schiller’s adaptation of a legal case, “The Criminal of Lost Honour,” and Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” to see what these stories about the extremes of the human condition can tell us about what it means to be human and healthy.

    Prerequisites: Satisfied Communications A requirement.

  • LITTRANS 238 – Literature and Revolution

    (3 credits)

    • TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm          Instructor: Maksim Hanukai

    Course Description: In this course we will take a literary journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, following the shifting cultural and political currents in Russia from the years preceding the 1917 Revolution to the rise of Stalinism in the 1930s. Topics will include: revolutionary violence and terror, civil war and emigration, Futurism and the birth of Russian avant-garde art, Soviet feminism and the engineering of the “New Man,” technological utopias and totalitarian dystopias, literature and early Soviet economic policy. We will supplement our readings of literature with material from other media—e.g. the visual arts, architecture, film, theater—reflecting on the Revolution’s challenge to traditional norms and boundaries. Among the questions we shall reflect on will be: How did Russian writers and artists respond to the energies unleashed by the Revolution? How did perceptions of the Revolution change over time? What are the legacies of the Russian Revolution? How can reading revolutionary literature help us navigate our own highly unstable times?

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 247 – Adventure In Literature & Film

    (3 credits)

    • TR 2:30-3:45 pm          Instructor: Łukasz Wodzyński

    Course Description: How do we define adventure and who gets to experience it? What role has it played in modern culture? What do adventure stories tell us about our values and changing attitudes to risk and violence? We will address these and similar questions on our intellectual journey through some of the most iconic adventures in Western cultural tradition, from The Odyssey to Indiana Jones, and beyond. The course meets Literature requirement and has no prerequisites.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 247 – Ukrainian Culture & Society

    (3 credits)

    • MW 4:00 – 5:15 pm          Instructor: Oksana Stoychuk

    Course Description: Coming soon!

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 269 – Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe

    (3 credits)

    • TR 9:30-10:45 am                   Instructor: Sunny Yudkoff

    Course Description: In the American cultural imagination, European Jewish life is often represented by the image of Jewish men. What happens to that image when women’s stories are placed at the center? In the following course, we will examine the literature and culture of European Jewry considering texts produced in Yiddish from the seventeenth century until today. We will focus on the representation of Jewish women in major writing of the period, including material created by women writers in such genres as memoirs, prayers, short stories, poetry, and visual art. How, we will ask, did Jewish women narrate their lives and artistic visions in a language sometimes both praised and derided as mame-loshn, or “mother tongue”? How, moreover, did women respond to the major historical events of European Jewish history, including messianic movements; the Jewish Enlightenment; the rise of Zionism, socialism, and communism; the Russian Revolution, and the Holocaust? We will examine a range of realist and modernist texts written across what is today Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania, as well as selections from the post-war Ashkenazi diaspora. This discussion-based course presumes no previous knowledge of Yiddish literature or language, or Jewish cultural literacy.

    Prerequisites: None

  • LITTRANS 270 – German Women Writers In Translation

    (3 credits)

    • MW 5:15 – 6:30 pm          Instructor: Sonja Klocke

    Course Description: Do you like reading novels? Are you particularly interested in reading novels by women? Would you like to learn more about German women’s writing? This term, German Women Writers in Translation focuses on the topic of “Love and Violence.” We will read various contemporary novels on that subject, all written by women with diverse backgrounds. For example, you will become familiar with women writers from East Germany and from West Germany, which means that some of them were socialized in the socialist German Democratic Republic while others were raised in the more capitalist Federal Republic of Germany. Other women writers we read migrated to Germany from Turkey, Russia, Japan or Great Britain, and now write in German. Many of the books we want to discuss have won prestigious prizes, and all of them will allow you to expand your horizon with regards to German culture as well as the question: What does it mean to write as a woman? And how does your cultural background influence your writing? In addition to the novels (all easily available in the USA), we will read short stories, poems, and short texts about women’s writing, gender theory, and narrative texts. All of these will be provided on canvas.

    Prerequisites: None.

  • LITTRANS 275 – In Translation: The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

    (3-4 credits)

    • LEC 001: MWF 12:05 – 12:55 pm          Instructor: Claus Elholm Andersen
    • LEC 002: MWF 12:05 – 12:55 pm          Instructor: Claus Elholm Andersen
      • DIS 301: F 1:20 – 2:10 pm
      • DIS 302: T 12:05 – 12:55 pm
      • DIS 303: T 1:20 – 2:10 pm
      • DIS 304: M 3:30 – 4:20 pm
      • DIS 305: R 12:05 – 12:55 pm
      • DIS 306: W 9:55 – 10:45 am

    Course Description: Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales are known all over the world. He wrote The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling and many, many more. This course to going to familiarize you with the works of Hans Christian Andersen, with an emphasis on his fairy tales. During the course, we will read and analyze some of his best-known fairytales, but also look at a few texts from some of the other genres he mastered. Our readings will include the biographical traits of his stories, but will primarily focus on his mastery of the genre and his complex narrative method. We will also talk about the time and place in which Hans Christian Andersen wrote his fairytales – Denmark in the 19th century ­– and discuss how this influenced his stories. Though his stories/tales might seem simply, they are complex literary artifacts. This course will argue that Andersen should be considered one of the great authors of the 19th century, not just an author of simple fairy tales for children.

    Prerequisites: None

  • LITTRANS 276 – Reading the Barbarians

    (3 credits)

    • TR 4:00 – 5:15 pm          Instructor: Katerina Somers

    Course Description: This course is about barbarians real and imagined and their portrayal in literature. We will begin by learning about the Germanic barbarians of Late Antiquity: a linguistically diverse, geographically scattered constellation of tribes with no sense whatsoever of a common identity. But contemporary Roman authors, such as Tacitus and Julius Caesar, already imagined the barbarians, with whom their empire had extensive contact, as something different: an uncivilized, undifferentiated and racially uniform Other, collectively referred to as the Germani ‘the Germans.’ We will analyze how subsequent generations of German speakers appropriated and rehabilitated the barbarian, transforming the primitive horde into the courageous and noble forefathers of a great German nation. The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries see the barbarian reimagined yet again and turned into a racial phenotype, which those interested in asserting their supremacy over other peoples used as a model for the “best” or even “purest” type of European. Finally, we will discuss how this deadly ideal influences the formation of national identity in Germany and the United States. This course is taught in English and has no prerequisites.

    Prerequisites: Satisfied Communications A requirement.

  • LITTRANS 324 – Topics in Scandinavian Literature

    (3 credits)

    • TR 9:30 – 10:45 am

    Course Description: Coming soon!

    Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.

  • LITTRANS 326 – Anne Frank

    (3 credits)

    • T 1:00 – 2:15 pm and ONLINE R 1:00 – 2:15 pm          Instructor: Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor

    Course Description: Anne Frank counts as one of the most widely read writers in recent world history, and yet some wonder whether she should be called a writer. Her work is widely loved. It has been the inspiration for many other cultural artifacts and institutions: editions; biographies; works of fiction and non-fiction; plays; autobiographies (e.g. by friends of Anne Frank); scholarly research: literary-, cultural-, historical-, as well as research in the various sciences of manuscript authentication; exhibitions; museums; foundations. In this course we will study the context in which the Diaries were written and consider the various ways in which they were received. We will look at what was done with the Diaries and with Anne Frank: how they have been read, interpreted, used, and argued about. We will engage in critical thinking, asking not just: what? but also: why? We will consider what her work and life have to say to us as we face the legacy and continued scourge of racism. We will certainly consider some of her laments as we consider out own, somewhat confined, existence. We will take Anne seriously as a writer by reading her works (the Diaries and other short texts) attentively. And then we will also think about the nature of literature: is what Ms. Frank wrote literature? Why, or why not?

    Prerequisites: Satisfied Communications A requirement.