Spring 2021 Courses

Comp Lit 258: Tragedy and Trauerspiel

Instructor: Professor Victoria Kahn

This course will explore the history and theory of tragedy in antiquity and the early modern period, with special attention to affect theory. Our main theoretical text with be Walter Benjamin’s Trauerspiel book, but we will also read works by Aristotle, Descartes, Mendelssohn, Lessing, Hume, and Auerbach; and tragedies by Euripides, Lohenstein, Shakespeare, Calderon,...

English 203, section 2: “A dream of passion”: Affects in the Renaissance Theater

Instructor: Professor David Landreth

This class studies the production of feeling on and around the early modern stage. We’ll consider a range of vocabularies for the experience of theatrical feeling, from Aristotle’s theory of purgative pleasure, to the medical-ecological model of the humors and passions, to contemporary analyses of cognition and affect in performance environments. A central question...

English 246D: The Seventeenth Century through Milton

Instructor: Professor Joanna Picciotto

A straightforward survey of seventeenth-century literature, emphasizing breadth not depth and reading rather than writing. Poetry will be our focus, but we’ll also sample some prophetic and political literature of the civil war period. Readings will be available on the course site. Authors include John Donne, Robert Herrick, Lucy Hutchinson, Andrew Marvell, John Milton,...

French 220: Montaigne and the Arts of Reading

Instructor: Professor Timothy Hampton

In this seminar, we will study Montaigne’s Essais in the context of early modern practices of reading and interpretation. Montaigne’s moment, like our own, was a moment of great anxiety over the authority of texts, over the nature of education, and over the role of knowledge for life. How to read? How to read...

French C202: Linguistic History of the Romance languages

Instructor: Professor Mairi McLaughlin

This course traces the development of the Romance language family from its origins in Latin through to contemporary varieties. Although the development of languages such as French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese is a major focus, attention is also paid to lesser-known varieties including Sardinian, Occitan and the so-called Romance-based Creoles. The course aims to...

Italian 212: Seminar on Dante: Writing the Vernacular Reader, From Dante to Boccaccio

Instructor: Professor Albert R. Ascoli

In the fifth canto of Dante’s Commedia, in one of the most famous episodes of Western literature, Francesca da Rimini blames the adulterous love she shares with her husband’s brother, Paolo, for both their violent deaths and eternal damnation, on an act of reading, solicited by a vernacular book and its author (“Galeotto fu...

Political Science 211: Machiavelli’s Discourses

Instructor: Professor Kinch Hoekstra

In this focused reading course, we will work through the whole of Niccolò Machiavelli’s Discourses (the Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio).  Among the many topics we are likely to discuss: political foundings and refoundings; elite and popular regimes; the nature of a republic; political anthropology; corruption; the political effects of Roman religion and of...

Spanish 285: Women Writers of Medieval Iberia

Instructor: Professor Nasser Meerkhan

This course will examine, explore and analyze the literary practices employed by medieval Iberian women writers. Their texts have survived in anthologies, manuscripts and incunables. Readings will include poetry by some thirty-eight Andalusian (Islamic Iberian) women poets; poems by Florencia Pinar and Doña Mayor Arias; Leonor López de Cordoba’s Memorias, the first known autobiography...