HL 207 Contemporary Literature

By Dennis Gonzales,2014-08-21 03:53
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HL 207 Contemporary Literature

    HL 310 European Literature

This course explores two important traditions of European literature through a

    selection of works that span the continent from north (Norway) to south (Italy) and

    east (Russia) to west (Germany, France and Portugal). All texts of course will be read in English translation.

    The first tradition we shall look at is the Fantastic, which might be described as continental Europe’s counterpart to Gothic literature. The German Romantic Fantastic is illustrated by two of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s bizarre and disturbing

    modern fairy tales’, and the Russian genius for this genre, by Bulgakov’s equally zany masterpiece in which the Devil arrives in Stalinist Moscow accompanied, amongst others, by a very mischievous cat ...

    Our second topic is the lucidity with which early Modernist continental European writers explore the translation of vivid personal experience into literature. A selection of Baudelaire’s poems illustrates the origins of European Modernism. Hamsun’s short but powerful Hunger illustrates the birth of the

    modern novel. And we shall conclude with a selection of short texts by Fernando Pessoa, one of the most extraordinary, but also one of most accessible poets of the twentieth century.

    The objective is to introduce these two influential continental European literary traditions, the tension they each exhibit between a social reality and the reality of the imagination, the nature and implications of their concern with self-consciousness, and the redefinition of the scope and subject of literature proposed by each of our texts. Our final text brings all of these concerns together: Calvino’s playful postmodern novel of 1979 is about the problems of reading, writing, and the nature of literature that lie at the heart of this course.

    1. Core Texts * = to purchase: available at Yun Nan Book Store

     Hoffmann two short-stories (1814-16) available on edveNTUre

    The Master and Margarita (1930s/1966) Bulgakov *

     Picador, 978-0330351348

     Baudelaire selection of works (1857-67) available on edveNTUre

    Canongate, 978-0760780879 Hunger (1890) Hamsun *

     Pessoa selection of works (1910-1930) available on edveNTUre

    If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979) Calvino *

     Vintage, 978-0099430896

    2. Method of Instruction & Course Assessment

    Method of Instruction Assessment

    Seminar: 3 hours per week Continuous Assessment: Participation, etc: 10%

     1 essay: 40%

     Final Examination: 50%

Coordinator/Lecturer office room no. e-mail address

    Dr. Terence Dawson HSS-03-74

Proposed Lecture Schedule

     1 Introductions To HL310 and to Hoffmann

     2 Hoffmann ‘The Golden Pot’

     3 Hoffmann ‘The Sandman’

     4 Bulgakov The Master and Margarita: Woland & Satire

     5 Bulgakov The Master and Margarita: Master & Pilate

     6 Baudelaire Selected Poems [Alienation and Modernism]


     8 Baudelaire, Hamsun Poems of the City, Introduction to Hunger

     9 Hamsun Hunger

    10 Pessoa Selected poems [Caeiro, Reis]

    11 Pessoa Selected poems [Campos, Pessoa]

    12 Calvino If on a winter’s night a traveller

    13 Calvino If on a winter’s night a traveller + Conclusion

Recommended Secondary Material

Audio-Visual DVDs, available in Media Resources

    Bortko, Vladimir Master i Margarita (TV-miniseries: 10 episodes x 52 mins.; 2005)

     (Russian, with English subtitles) E574836 Henning Carlsen (dir.) Hunger (112 mins; 1968) F574858 Jan Troell (dir.) Hamsun (154 mins; 1997) (a film about Hamsun’s later life; Eng. Subtitles)


    Hoffmann, E. T. A. Fantasy Pieces in Callot’s Manner (1996)

    Sandner, David The Fantastic: A Critical Reader (2004)

    Freud, Sigmund The Uncanny (1919)

    Todorov, Tzvetan The Fantastic (1970)

    Jackson, Rosemary. Fantasy: the Literature of Subversion (1981)

    Negus, Kenneth E.T.A. Hoffmann's Other World, the Romantic Author and His New

    Mythology (1965)

    Bergstrom, Stefan Between Real and Unreal: A Thematic Study of E.T.A. Hoffmann's ‘Die

     Serapionsbruder’ (2000)

    Brown, Hilda M. E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Serapiontic Principle: Critique and Creativity


    Wright, A. C. Mikhail Bulgakov (1979)

    Natov, Nadine Mikhail Bulgakov (1985)

    Milne, Lesley, ed. Bulgakov: The Novelist-Playwright (1996)

    Benjamin, Walter The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire (2006) Peyre, Henri, ed. Baudelaire: A Collection of Critical Essays (1963) Hyslop, Lois Boe Charles Baudelaire Revisited (1992)

    Lloyd, Rosemary Baudelaire's World (2002)

    Lloyd, Rosemary, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire (2006) Sanyal, Debarati The Violence of Modernity: Baudelaire, Irony, and the Politics of Form


    Hamsun, Knut Knut Hamsun Remembers America: Essays and Stories, 1885-1949, ed.

    R. N. Current (2003)

    Lyngstad, Sverre Knut Hamsun, Novelist: A Critical Assessment (2005) Pessoa, Fernando A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems (tr. Zenith, 2006) Pessoa, Fernando Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems (tr. Zenith, 1999) Markey, Constance Italo Calvino: A Journey Toward Postmodernism (1999) Bloom, Harold (ed.) Italo Calvino (2000)

    Bolongaro, Eugenio Italo Calvino and the Compass of Literature (2003)

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