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Comparative History of Literature

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
4-й курс, 1-3 модуль


Course Syllabus


This course, which marks the culmination of the core curriculum in Russian and World Literature, consists of three distinct portions, arranged chronologically and focusing on a broad range of issues in the history of both Western and non-Western cultures, from Antiquity to the 2010s. Throughout the course considerable emphasis will be placed on the interaction between literature and other media, including music and the visual arts.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The overall objective of this course is to provide students with theoretical tools and material substance for comparative analysis of trends, authors, and texts across national, cultural, and medial borders.
  • Retracing the material of the entire Program's literary curriculum, the course enables students to obtain and finalize a panomaric view over the cultural and literary scene from Antiquity to 21st centuries, as well as revise and sharpen their critical thinking about methods in comparative literature studies.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • questions and thinks critically about the historical, cultural, formal, ideological, and medial distinctions accepted normatively in comparative literature studies and related disciplines within arts and humanities
  • analyzes, relates, and compares literary texts across lingual and cultural borders
  • understands and explains articulately the central theoretical concepts that account for literary relationships among several national traditions of the last two centuries in comparative terms
  • demonstrates a potential for undertaking independent research in the area of comparative literature studies
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Comparative Literary Traditions from Antiquity to the Enlightenment
    In Part I we will examine major traditions in World Literature from Antiquity to the end of the Enlightenment. Students will be introduced to a wide range of texts dealing with genres (such as utopia, confession etc.), literary archetypes (Don Juan etc.), common themes (melancholy, visionary experiences), and literay discourses (Otherness, Classics and Moderns debate, etc.). This part will help to summarize and introduce students to the most substantial currents and directions in Western literature up to the 19th century. This part of the course will combine chronological and thematic approaches: starting with mythological motives and patterns in world literature, we will finish by discussing literary narratives from the European Age of Enlightenment. Texts suggested for reading will better amalgamate our vision of the literary process in the pre-modern era.
  • The Political Unconscious of Nineteenth-Century Realism in Literature and Art
    In this part of the course our goal will be to accumulate more sophisticated theoretical and socio-political perspectives on the diverse body of texts that has come to be known as nineteenth-century realism (we will focus in particular on the French, Russian, and Anglo-American traditions). In the process we will debunk the notion of a literature that simply represents “life as it is.” Instead, realism will be considered as both a multiplicity of aesthetic styles and as a socio-historical sense of self. Moreover, we will examine the artistic construction of social reality as an inherently (unavoidably) political act. Along the way, we will also explore the intellectual exchange between literary realism and the visual arts: the peredvizhniki movement in Russia and impressionism in French painting.
  • The Indiscipline of Comparison in the Twentieth to Twenty-First Century
    This section of the course will take us through the 20th- and early 21st-century developments of the notions discussed earlier in the course. We will reflect upon late realist/early modernist critique and postmodernist disintegration of the institution of romantic authorship and link them to the problems of pluralistic point of view and polyphonic narrative in the Russian and Anglo-American fiction. To observe how literature reaches out and speaks to other media, we will explore some of its relations with Western art music. The module will close with a discussion of the methodological shift from Eurocentric approaches in Comparative Literature to an open canon of globalized/transnational World Literature(s), negotiating a balanced and up-to-date view of today’s state of the discipline.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Participation
    All through the course, students attend lectures and seminars and participate in discussions, respond to presentations, and ask and answer questions and raise issues related to the subject of each class. During classes, students demonstrate that they have done their assigned readings by responding to the course instructor’s warm-up introduction of the topic, answering questions, commenting, and asking further questions to engage the class in a meaningful intellectual exchange.
  • non-blocking Mini-essay 1
    300-400 words
  • non-blocking Mini-essay 2
  • non-blocking Mini-essay 3
  • non-blocking Mini-essay 4
  • non-blocking Mini-essay 5
  • non-blocking Mini-essay 6
  • non-blocking Presentation 1
  • non-blocking Presentation 2
    Presentation 2 is prepared for and delivered at one of the seminars in Module 2.
  • non-blocking Online Forum
    Whether specifically required or driven by personal inclination in Modules 2 and 3, students may premeditate on and/or follow-up the in-class discussions by submitting short posts to the LMS Forum, under a given topic or starting one of their own.
  • non-blocking Final Research Paper
    7-8 pg. (Times New Roman, 12 pt., double-spaced). Students submit a research paper on a topic directly related to the content of the course.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    0.1 * Mini-essay 1 + 0.1 * Mini-essay 2 + 0.1 * Mini-essay 3 + 0.1 * Mini-essay 4 + 0.1 * Mini-essay 5 + 0.1 * Mini-essay 6 + 0.4 * Presentation 1
  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.3 * Final Research Paper + 0.2 * Interim assessment (1 module) + 0.1 * Online Forum + 0.3 * Participation + 0.1 * Presentation 2


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Behdad, A., & Thomas, D. R. D. (2011). A Companion to Comparative Literature (Vol. 1st ed). Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=391356
  • Brooks, P. (2005). Realist Vision. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=187667

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Companion to Comparative Literature, World Literatures, and Comparative Cultural Studies. (2009). Foundation Books. https://doi.org/10.1017/upo9789382993803
  • Damrosch, D. (2017). How to Read World Literature (Vol. Second edition). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1553409