Literature in Translation Courses

Fall 2023

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Pre-Modern Chinese Literature in Translation

LIT 218 - Wen, Zuoting

A survey of Chinese literature from the earliest period to the founding of the Republic in 1912. Taught in English, the course presupposes no previous knowledge of China or Chinese culture. The literature is presented in the context of its intellectual, philosophical and cultural background. Texts used may vary from year to year and include a wide selection of fiction, poetry, historical documents, Chinese drama (opera) and prose works. Audiovisual materials are used when appropriate and available.

Seminar in Japanese Literature in Translation

LIT 223 - Ikeda Yuba, Janet

Selected topics in Japanese literature, varying from year to year. Possible topics include the development of poetic forms, Heian court literature and art, diaries, epics, Buddhist literature, the culture of food and tea, and Noh drama.

Literature 223 Lab

LIT 223L - Ikeda Yuba, Janet

19th-Century Russian Literature in Translation

LIT 263 - Brodsky, Anna

In this course, we read some of the most famous Russian writers of the 19 century-- Lev Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, and Ivan Turgenev—with a view to exploring such issues as the rise of Russian nationalism; the moral and economic issues surrounding serfdom (the Russian form of slavery), Russian feminism, 19th century family values, and the struggle between the democratic and imperial visions of society.

Russian Short Fiction

LIT 264 - Brodsky, Anna

How do we encompass something as mammoth as Russian state violence, especially as evidenced in its brutal assault on Ukraine?  In this survey of Russian short fiction from the 19th century to the 21st century, we approach this question from a literary angle.  We will explore colonial wars, autocracy, conformity and resistance to oppressive state power.  

Topics in Literature in Translation: Vampires, Ghosts and Other Friendly Spirits

LIT 295H - Radulescu, Domnica V.

An exploration of the fantastic and the supernatural in several works of literature, theater, and film by East European writers and film makers. The course deconstructs Western projections of vampiric presences and other such supernatural creatures onto East European cultures and focuses on several works of literature and film from Eastern Europe and about Eastern Europe.

Spring 2023

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Special Topics in Literature in Translation: The Literature of Bertolt Brecht

LIT 295J - Crockett, Roger A.

Bertolt Brecht was the most influential German dramatist and drama theorist of the first half of the 20th Century.  His collaboration with Kurt Weill on the Threepenny Opera was an international sensation in the 1920s.  Masterpieces like Mother Courage and her Children, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Life of Galileo Galilei loom large today in stage repertoires worldwide.  The father of “Epic Theater” and master of “Alienation Effects,” he stood in opposition to Stanislavsky and developed a contrasting acting style.  This course will cover Brecht’s master works in English translation, as well as some short stories and poems.  We will read his most influential theoretical writing on the theater and practice acting scenes in Brechtian style.

Special Topics in Literature in Translation: Fairy Tales and Popular Culture

LIT 295K - Roots, Jaime W.

During the nineteenth century, several landmark folktale collections were produced—the most influential of which was arguably the Grimms’ Children’s and Household Tales. Throughout this edition, what constitutes a fairytale is quite clear: stepmothers are wicked, princes are heroic, the evil are punished, and the good are rewarded with happiness and prosperity. Yet as times change, do these black-and-white conceptions of the fairytale hold up with them? In this course we will explore questions of the role of the fairy tale as a cultural and social artifact. While these tales grew in popularity during the nineteenth century, they have continually been adapted and changed by others. We have experienced these tales in a variety of ways from the written word to the theater, cinema, television, and more recently to the world of Internet fan fiction where social commentary and fairy tale adaptation by amateur writers flourishes. In this course, we will focus on the evolving nature of the fairytale and their audiences by investigating links between the classic Grimm tales and their pop culture adaptations in film, novels, and internet fan fiction and how those adaptations and evolutions highlight changing historical, cultural, and socio-political contexts in which the adaptations emerge.

Winter 2023

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Representations of Women, Gender and Sexuality in World Literature

LIT 210 - Radulescu, Domnica V.

Same as WGSS 210. This course examines a plethora of literary texts chosen from across historical periods from antiquity, through early modern times, to the modern and postmodern era and across several national traditions and cultural landscapes. Its main intellectual objective is to sensitize students to the ways in which women and gender have been represented in literary texts of various genres and to help them develop specific analytic skills in order to discover and evaluate the interconnections between the treatment of women in society and their artistic reflections in works of literature.

20th-Century Russian Literature in Translation

LIT 215 - Brodsky, Anna

In this course, we read some of the most famous works of Russian 20th and 21st centuries writers such as Vladimir Nabokov (the author of “Lolita”) and Svetlana Alexievich (the recent Noble Prize winner) among others. We will address issues like political violence, the wars led by USSR,  the art of propaganda, and the various forms of resistance against powerful authoritarian regimes.

Modern Chinese Literature in Translation

LIT 220 - Zhu, Yanhong

This is a survey course to introduce students to the literature of 20th-century China. Through close reading of key literary texts from the 1910s to the present, students explore the social, historical and literary background that gave rise to the texts studied and the ways in which these texts address various issues that China faced at the time. Taught in English, the course presupposes no previous knowledge of China or Chinese culture. In addition to the selected literary texts, the course introduces several feature films that are cinematic adaptations of modern Chinese fiction and explore the complex and dynamic interchange between literary and cinematic language.

Real and Imaginary Animals in Japanese Literature, Film, Anime, and Theater

LIT 222 - Ikeda Yuba, Janet

Cranes, badgers, monkeys, foxes, cats, robot-cats, monsters born from atomic energy, tengu, and kappa -- in Japan animals, both real and imaginary, have captured the imagination of writers, film directors, manga artists and producers of fantasy. In this course, we begin by exploring the medieval tale genre known as otogizoshi from the 14th through 17th centuries, many of which are origins of later well-known folk tales. Students read from the works of writers of the 20th- and 21st centuries, like Akutagawa, Tanizaki, Tawada, and Kawamura, who have used a real or imaginary animal to weave a work of fiction in either a satiric criticism of society or a commentary on the meaning of life. We also examine how characters, such as the beloved robot-cat Doraemon, the ferocious monster Godzilla, the devoted crane wife, the nefarious black cat, and other animals are depicted in a variety of genres such as mango, anime, film, and classical and modern plays.

Trans-American Identity: Images from the Americas

LIT 256 - Reino, Jayne E.

Same as LACS 256. A multi-genre survey of representative literary works from the Americas, defined as those regions that encompass Latin American and Caribbean cultures. In particular the course uses an interdisciplinary approach to show how exemplary artists from the region have crafted images to interpret and represent their American reality. Selected narrative, film, and poetic works by Spanish-American (Neruda, Garcia Marquez, Rulfo, and Carpentier), Francophone (Danticat), Lusophone (Amado), and Anglophone authors (Walcott, Brathwaite, and Naipaul), among others.

19th-Century Russian Literature in Translation

LIT 263 - Brodsky, Anna

In this course, we read some of the most famous Russian writers of the 19 century-- Lev Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, and Ivan Turgenev—with a view to exploring such issues as the rise of Russian nationalism; the moral and economic issues surrounding serfdom (the Russian form of slavery), Russian feminism, 19th century family values, and the struggle between the democratic and imperial visions of society.

Special Topics in Literature in Translation: The African Child Soldier

LIT 295I - Kamara, Mohamed

Who is a child? Who is a child-soldier? Did the child have a childhood in a home and family before becoming a soldier? What is childhood? How does the definition of childhood (legal or otherwise) jibe with the child’s own perception or understanding of his/her place in society? Does s/he return home, and to a family after combat? Are home and family still the same? Using novels and films as our primary sources of reference, we will engage these and other questions as they relate to the representation of the child soldier in the African. In so doing, we hope to interrogate the larger question of agency, victimhood, and the human capacity to transcend adversity, focusing specifically on how the child (or child-soldier) negotiates the difficult road upon which s/he has been thrusted by people and circumstances, with no properly functioning compass.