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Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CMLT 0101 - Intro to World Literature      

Introduction to World Literature
This course is an introduction to the critical analysis of imaginative literature of the world, the dissemination of themes and myths, and the role of translation as the medium for reaching different cultures. Through the careful reading of selected classic texts from a range of Western and non-Western cultures, students will deepen their understanding and appreciation of the particular texts under consideration, while developing a critical vocabulary with which to discuss and write about these texts, both as unique artistic achievements of individual and empathetic imagination and as works affected by, but also transcending their historical periods. 3 hrs. lect./disc. CMP CW LIT

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CMLT 0107 - The Experience of Tragedy      

The Experience of Tragedy
For over two millennia tragedy has raised ethical questions and represented conflicts between the divine and the mortal, nature and culture, household and polity, individual and society. What is tragedy? What led to its production and what impact did it have, in ancient times? Why was it reborn in Shakespeare's time? How has tragedy shaped, and been shaped by, gender, class, religion, and nationality? We will address these questions and explore how tragedy continues to influence our literary expectations and experience. Authors may include Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Thucydides, Aristotle, Seneca, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Goethe, Nietzsche, O'Neill, Beckett, Kennedy, and Kushner. 3 hrs. lect. EUR LIT

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CMLT 0123 - Adventures in Literary Romance      

Adventures in Literary Romance
In this course we will explore the literary genre of romance. Today, “romance” often refers to courtship—only one aspect of this ancient genre. Other aspects include adventure, magic, wonder, multiple plots, multiple authors, an affinity for sequels. Romance’s associations with every genre—tragedy, comedy, epic, novel, lyric poetry—and its reputation for escapism have made it an epitome of the very idea of literature, as conceived by attackers and defenders. Its welcoming of female readers and protagonists and its marketing of the exotic have raised issues of gender and ethnicity. We will discuss all such aspects and implications of romance, and we may also explore how romance has shaped modern television and film. No papers or exams; there will be quizzes daily on the reading, and students will be expected to participate thoughtfully in class discussions. Readings from texts such as: Daphnis and Chloe, Ethiopian Romance, The Gospel of Luke, The Golden Ass, Arthurian romances by various authors, Orlando Inamorato, Orlando Furioso, The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale, Don Quixote,/ Waverly/, Madame Bovary, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Time Quintet. 3 hrs. lect. LIT

Fall 2018, Fall 2020

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CMLT 0150 - Greek and Roman Epic Poetry      

Greek and Roman Epic Poetry
Would Achilles and Hector have risked their lives and sacred honor had they understood human life and the Olympian gods as Homer portrays them in the Iliad? Why do those gods decide to withdraw from men altogether following the Trojan War, and why is Odysseus the man Athena chooses to help her carry out that project? And why, according to the Roman poet Vergil, do these gods command Aeneas, a defeated Trojan, to found an Italian town that will ultimately conquer the Greek cities that conquered Troy, replacing the Greek polis with a universal empire that will end all wars of human freedom? Through close study of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and Vergil's Aeneid, we explore how the epic tradition helped shape Greece and Rome, and define their contributions to European civilization. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. CMP EUR LIT PHL

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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CMLT 0190 - Greek and Roman Comedy      

Greek and Roman Comedy
A survey of the comic playwrights of Greece (Aristophanes and Menander) and Rome (Plautus and Terence) in light of their ancient social, political, and religious contexts as well as modern theoretical approaches to laughter (including psychoanalysis and structural anthropology). We will trace enduring aspects of the comic tradition that can be found in both Greece and Rome and also look forward to Renaissance and modern comedy. These include: the nature of the comic hero; the patterns of comic plots; the dependence of comedy on language; the comic poet's concern with questions of freedom and slavery, desire and repression. (formerly CLAS 0160) 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. EUR LIT

Spring 2018

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CMLT 0200 - Folk-Fairy Tales of the World      

Once Upon A Time ... Folk Fairy Tales Of The World
Tell me a story! We will examine the complex, inter-connected fairy tale traditions found in every society. Comparing fairy tale variants from around the world-including Japan, China, India, Near East, Africa-we will explore their convoluted and fertile relationships as observed in the rise of fairy tale collections in 15th-century Europe, reaching a culmination in the Brothers Grimm collection, often synonymous with the fairy tale itself. To attain a more dispassionate critical perspective we will explore theoretical approaches to the fairy tales through authors such as Zipes, Bottigheimer, Tatar, and Rölleke, and conclude by examining modern variants in prose, poetry, and film. (not open to students who have taken FYSE 1511) 3 hrs. lect. CMP LIT

Fall 2019, Winter 2021

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CMLT 0201 - Science Fiction Global Context      

The Fictions of Science and Science Fiction: Technological Fantasies in Global Context
In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt refers to science fiction as “a vehicle for mass sentiments and mass desires” that bears witness to the fact that “science has realized and affirmed what men anticipated in dreams that were neither wild nor idle.” Drawing on a wide range of literary, cinematic, and philosophical texts from Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in this course we will examine how cultural specificity informs and responds to the demands of technological fantasy, and investigate the challenges and opportunities posed to the concept of “the human” in an age dominated by technology. 3 hrs. lect. CMP LIT

Fall 2019

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CMLT 0205 - Intro:Contemporary Lit. Theory      

Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory
In this course we will introduce several major schools of contemporary literary theory. By reading theoretical texts in close conjunction with works of literature, we will illuminate the ways in which these theoretical stances can produce multiple interpretations of a given literary work. The approaches covered may include New Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Cultural Criticism, Race Theory and Multicultural Criticism, Feminism, Post-Colonial Criticism, Queer Studies, Eco-Criticism, Post-Structuralism, and others. These theories will be applied to various works of fiction, poetry, and drama. The goal will be to make students critically aware of the fundamental literary, cultural, political, and moral assumptions underlying every act of interpretation they perform. 3 hrs. lect/disc. EUR LIT

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CMLT 0221 - Please register via ARBC 0221A      

Modern Arabic Literature
This course is a survey of the most important moments in the development of Modern Arabic Literature from the end of 19th century to the present. We will map the developments, achievements, and innovations by Arab writers against a double background of rising nationalism, decolonization, and wars on the one hand and the idea and experiences of modernity and the west on the other. We will examine works of fiction by both male and female writers including novels, short stories, and drama, as well as poetry representing several different Arab countries. Students are encouraged to read in advance Albert Hourani's A History of the Arab People. (Open to all, no previous knowledge of Arabic is required). 3 hrs. Sem AAL LIT MDE

Spring 2020

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CMLT 0230 - Myth & Contemporary Experience      

Myth and Contemporary Experience: Modern Poems on Classical Myths*
Greek mythology, an enduring presence in Western thought, has provided, according to Carl Jung, the foundation of one half of our spiritual tradition. In this course we shall study how this rich mythical material has shaped modern poetry. Through close readings of modern poems and their ancient models, we will trace the way 20th-century poets appropriate and transform the classical past in order to reflect on their historical present. While viewing this function of myth as an element of modernity, we shall also explore how these poets build connections between the archetypal meaning of the ancient stories, the questions of existence, and our own contemporary lives. Readings will include Rilke, Eliot, Pound, Cavafy, Montale, Akhmatova, Borges, as well as Sylvia Plath, Joseph Brodsky, Derek Walcott, Louise Glück, and Seamus Heaney. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. CMP LIT PHL

Fall 2017

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CMLT 0238 - Literature Mystical Experience      

Literature and the Mystical Experience
In this course we will explore how narrative art articulates spiritual perception by examining selected works of 20th century writers such as Miguel De Unamuno, Nikos Kazantzakis, J. D. Salinger, Charles Williams, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Merton, Alice Munroe, Marilynne Robinson, and Annie Dillard. Drawing on theology and philosophy as an interpretative mode, we will consider the following questions: How does literature illuminate selfhood and interiority? How do contemplation and ascetic practice guide the self to divine knowledge and cosmic unification? How do language, imagery and symbols shape the unitive experience as a tool for empathy and understanding of the other? 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. AMR LIT NOR PHL

Spring 2019, Fall 2020

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CMLT 0248 - Human Rights &World Literature      

Human Rights and World Literature
In this course we will explore the idiom of human rights in law, literature, and political culture. We will place literary representations of human rights violations (genocide, torture, detention and forced labor, environmental devastation, police violence) in dialogue with official human rights treaties and declarations in order to historicize and critique the assumptions of human rights discourse. Who qualifies as a “human” deserving of humanitarian intervention? How do human rights rehearse a colonial dynamic based on racial and geo-political privilege? To answer these questions we will turn to some of the most controversial voices in global fiction and poetry. 3 hrs. lect. (not open to students who have taken ENAM 0230)
(Diversity)/ CMP LIT SOC

Fall 2018

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CMLT 0263 - Modern Hebrew Literature      

Representation in Modern Hebrew Literature: Nation and Identities
Modern Hebrew literature, in its relatively short history, presents exceptional richness. In this course we will explore the theme of nation and identity in modern Hebrew literature: we will visit the personal lyricism of Bialik and his circle, the encyclopedic prose of Agnon, the troubled stream of consciousness of Gnessin, the stark realism of Brenner, the symbolism of Alterman, and the deliberately thin post-modern prose of Keret. We will meet modern Hebrew literature’s remarkable achievements as well as its points of crisis. We will also explore its deep historical roots which make modern Hebrew literature so unique. All readings in the course will be in English. 3 hrs. lect./disc AAL CMP LIT MDE

Fall 2018

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CMLT 0277 - The Arabian Nights      

The Arabian Nights—Storytelling, Orientalism, and Islamic Culture
In this course we will study the great medieval classic The Arabian Nights or The Thousand and One Nights Entertainment. Compiled in Egypt and Syria in the 14th century and translated into French and other European languages in the 17th and 18th centuries, this “ocean story” has had a profound effect on the development of the literatures of both the Middle East and the West. The incorporation of ‘Arabian Nights’ motifs in European art and orientalist discourse will be central in our enquiry. This course is not open to students who have taken RELI/CMLT 1038. AAL CMP LIT

Spring 2017

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CMLT 0285 - Magical Realism(s)      

Magical Realism(s)
Novels that juxtapose the marvelous with the everyday have shadowed (and mocked) mainstream realism for the better part of two centuries, and have proliferated in recent years to the point where they may constitute the predominant genre of our globalized culture. Why should such strange mélanges of the quotidian and the supernatural strike so many authors as the perfect vehicle to express 20th and 21st century anxieties and possibilities? We will explore examples of these boundary-defying fictions across several decades and various national literatures. Authors to be studied will include Woolf, Kafka, Calvino, Morrison, Pynchon, Rushdie, and Garcia-Marquez. CMP LIT

Fall 2017, Fall 2019

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CMLT 0286 - Philosophy & Literature      

Philosophy & Literature
In this course we will explore the border both separating and joining philosophy and literature. How does literature evoke philosophical problems, and how do philosophers interpret such works? How does fiction create meaning? Beginning with Greek tragedy, we investigate Plato’s “quarrel” with, and Aristotle’s defense of, poetry. Then we will turn to modern works, mostly European, on topics such as: tragedy and ethics; style and rhetoric; author and reader; time and temporality; mood and emotion; existence and mortality. Literary readings after Sophocles will be selected from Borges, Calvino, Camus, Kafka, Tolstoy, and Woolf. Philosophical readings after Plato and Aristotle will be selected from Bergson, Danto, Freud, Murdoch, Ricoeur, and Nussbaum. Not open to students who have taken PHIL/CMLT 1014. CW EUR LIT PHL

Fall 2018, Fall 2020

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CMLT 0299 - Literary Feasts      

Literary Feasts: Representations of Food in Modern Narrative (in English)
This course will consider food and eating practices within specific cultural and historical contexts. We will analyze realistic, symbolic, religious, erotic, and political functions surrounding the preparation and consumption of food. Readings will be drawn from several national traditions, with a focus on Europe. Authors will include, among others, I. Dinesen, L. Esquivel, J. Harris, E. Hemingway, T. Lampedusa, P. Levi, C. Petrini, M. Pollan, E. Vittorini, and B. Yoshimoto. Viewing of several films where food and eating play an important role will supplement class discussion. EUR LIT

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CMLT 0309 - Contemporary Literature      

Contemporary Literature
In this course we will explore seminal works of the post-World War II literature written in English. In the course of our readings we will move through the cultural and social transformations beginning with the paranoia and alienation of the Cold War, and continuing with the Civil Rights era, the national crisis of Vietnam, the rise of multiculturalism and the culture wars in the 1980s, the wide ranging effects of the information revolution, the profits and perils of globalization, and the profound anxiety of the war on terror. Writers studied will include Thomas Pynchon, Vladimir Nabokov, Don DeLillo, Donald Barthelme, William S. Burroughs, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Ana Castillo, and Art Spiegelman. 3 hrs. lect. AMR LIT NOR

Spring 2018

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CMLT 0310 - Holocaust in Literature      

Representing the Unthinkable: The Holocaust in Literature (in English)
Can the Holocaust be described in words? Can images represent the horrors of Auschwitz? In this seminar we will explore the literary and artistic representations of the Shoah and its legacies, their mechanisms, tensions, and challenges. We will approach the issues of Holocaust representations by considering a significant array of texts that span genres, national literatures, time, narrative and poetic styles, and historical situations. Readings will include texts on witnessing, memory, post-memory, and trauma by authors such as Bernhard Schlink, Art Spiegelman, Hans J. Massaquoi, Primo Levi, Ruth Klüger, Nora Krug, Paul Celan, Sherman Alexie, and Hannah Arendt. 3hrs. sem. CMP EUR LIT

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CMLT 0311 - God and Love: India & Israel      

God and Love in the Ancient World: India and Israel
Are loving god and loving a person the same thing? Do people use the same forms of expression for human and divine love? Lovers of all kinds have been asking these questions since the second millennium, BCE. In this course we will explore these questions and others by reading poetry, narrative, prayer, and epic from two ancient classical civilizations: Brahmanical India and Biblical Israel. We will read Indian texts of the Rg Veda, the Bhagavad Gita, and devotional hymns to the classical Hindu gods and goddesses. We will compare these texts with those from the Hebrew Bible, including well-known narratives of royalty, the psalms and the Song of Songs. (At least one RELI course required; courses in the study of literature preferred but not required). 3 hrs. sem. CMP LIT PHL SOA

Fall 2019

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CMLT 0317 - Poetics of Translation      

Poetics of Translation
In this course we will explore the philosophical and linguistic questions raised by translingual discourse [with an emphasis on poetic writing] by surveying the most important theoretical writings on translation as we compare selections of poetry in multiple translations. Selections will include both “classic” texts such as the Psalms, the Illiad, Catullus, Li Bo, Rumi, Clément Marot, and/ Eugene Onenin/ as well as new experimental translingual poetry. We will discuss such questions as: How does language shape thought? How does culture shape language? Is poetry “untranslatable” by definition? What are the challenges of translating sacred or “exotic” poetry? 3 hrs. lect/disc. AAL CMP LIT NOA

Fall 2019

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CMLT 0325 - Chinese Poetry in the Far West      

Chinese Poetry in the Far West
Although Tang poetry is recognized as one of the great achievements of world literature, much of its beauty is often lost in translation. In this course—intended for students with no knowledge of Chinese—we will thus devote a significant portion of our time learning from scratch how to read Tang poetry in the original by studying the most common characters and the most fundamental grammatical structures found in the Tang “sonnet.” We will also discuss such topics as: differences between Chinese and European poetics; theories of translation and intercultural adaptation; Orientalist fantasies of the ideogram; and the impact of Chinese poetry on Imagism. Students will study and write multiple translations in various styles. Readings will include both poetry and critical theory. No knowledge of Chinese is necessary. 3 hrs. lect./disc. CMP LIT

Spring 2017

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CMLT 0373 - Postcolonial Literature City      

Postcolonial Literature City
In this course we will examine a number of novels from the 20th and 21st centuries that are about life in the city, taking a global and trans-national approach. We will explore formations of urban life alongside transformations in the novel as a genre. We will put these novels of city life in dialogue with critical theory—that is, theories of culture and society that have as their aim human emancipation (for example, Marxism, feminism, critical race studies, and postcolonial studies). The novels we read will reflect important literary movements such as realism, modernism, and postmodernism. (Not open to students who have taken ENAM 0447) CMP LIT SOC

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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CMLT 0375 - Colonial Discourse/Lusophone      

Colonial Discourse and the “Lusophone World”
In this course we will analyze how European colonialism and imperial endeavors produced meaning, particularly in the interconnected realms of culture, race, language, gender, sexuality, and place. In addition to studying the colonial period, we will pay particular attention to the role and manifestations of colonial discourse more contemporarily in the contexts of nationhood, globalization, sports, and cultural consumption. In doing so, we will address the problematics of the concept of “Lusophone,” starting with the historical legacies and cultural implications of such a transnational entity. Course materials will include critical theory, literary texts, primary historical sources, visual media, and music from Brazil, Lusophone Africa, Lusophone Asia, and Portugal. (PGSE 0215 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL CMP LNG SOC

Spring 2019, Fall 2020

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CMLT 0450 - History of Clas Lit      

History of Classical Literature
A comprehensive overview of the major literary, historical, and philosophical works of Greece and Rome. Greek authors studied include Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle. Roman authors include Lucretius, Cicero, Livy, Vergil, Petronius, and Tacitus. Required of senior majors in Classics/Classical Studies (see CLAS 0701) and open to all interested students with some background in Greek and Roman literature, history, or philosophy. 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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CMLT 0462 - Lit Migration Displacement      

Literature of Displacement: Forced Migration, Diaspora, Exile
We will study contemporary postcolonial literature and theory about migration, displacement, exile, and diaspora. Spurred variously by force, necessity and desire, migrants leave their homes and homelands with regret and with hope. Writers address the historical forces that shape these migrations: decolonization and neo-colonialism, globalization, warfare, dispossession, political violence, religious conflict, and environmental catastrophe. These writers experiment with narrative form and poetic language to explore the experiences of undocumented immigrant workers, exiles, refugees and well-to-do migrants. We will examine constructions of identity, history, community and place in texts by Anzaldua, Ali, Darwish, Diome, Patel, Gomez Pena, Said, Rushdie, Spivak, and others. (Diversity)/ AAL CMP LIT SOA SOC

Spring 2018

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CMLT 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Approval Required

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CMLT 0700 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
A senior thesis is normally completed over two semesters. During Fall and Winter terms, or Winter and Spring terms, students will write a 35-page (article length) comparative essay, firmly situated in literary analysis. Students are responsible for identifying and arranging to work with their primary language and secondary language readers, and consulting with the program director before completing the CMLT Thesis Declaration form. (Approval required.)

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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CMLT 1020 - Modern Philosophy & Literature      

Modern Philosophy & Literature
In this course, focused on close, intensive readings of key texts, we will explore the border that both separates and joins philosophy and literature. How does literature evoke philosophical problems, and how do philosophers interpret such works? How does fiction create meaning?  We will explore philosophical literature and literary philosophy in 20th Century works, mainly European and North American, on topics such as: style and rhetoric; author and reader; time and temporality; mood and emotion; existence and mortality. Literary readings will be selected from Borges, Calvino, Camus, Kafka, Morrison, and Woolf. Philosophical readings will be selected from Bergson, Danto, Freud, Murdoch, Nussbaum and Ricoeur. (Previous course in PHIL or CMLT or waiver) (Not open to students who have taken PHIL/CMLT 0286) EUR LIT PHL WTR

Winter 2019

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CMLT 1027 - England's Ovid      

England’s Ovid: Grabbing Back the Myth (I) (Pre-1800)
In this course we will read Ovid’s Latin compendium of foundational mythical stories, the Metamorphoses, in two important early modern English translations: 1) the 16th-century version by Arthur Golding (the very one that Shakespeare read), which Ezra Pound called “the most beautiful book in the English language”; and 2) the 17th-century version by George Sandys, which contains allegorical commentaries and elaborate synoptic engravings. We will discuss these myths with an emphasis on gender politics and oral storytelling, and sometimes discuss how they reemerge in English literature. We will also examine a rare first edition of the Sandys edition (1623) which is owned by Middlebury College’s Special Collections, in addition to a modern annotated edition. The material for the course contains literary and graphic depictions of sexual violence, which will be critiqued from an unapologetically feminist perspective. EUR LIT WTR

Winter 2018

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Comparative Literature Program

Chellis House - 2nd floor
56 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753