Indiana University Comparative Literature Program
|College of Arts and
The Comparative Literature Program at Indiana University is poised for an important role in the future of the field in the 21st century. After a distinguished 50-year history, the department has an accomplished faculty, as well as excellent students at both graduate and undergraduate levels. The faculty, while somewhat smaller than it was about 10 years ago, is well-focused on a rich variety of comparative research topics, and the professors are all dedicated teachers. I have only to refer our readers to the rest of the newsletter for information about the vitality of the faculty in the Comparative Literature Program at century's end. To prepare for its future, the program has recently organized itself to heighten its strengths and to reach out to the rest of the university. Now an interdisciplinary department, the Comparative Literature Program operates with a central group of budgeted faculty, who in turn bring a rich and diverse group of specialists into the comparative literature family of scholars. The new department will have three principal research areas: 1) literature across cultures, 2) interdisciplinary approaches to European traditions, and 3) comparative arts studies. In addition, committees on translation and theory will consist of members contributing from across the whole unit. As we take stock of ourselves at our 50-year benchmark, we should also point out that the Comparative Literature Program has produced a long list of important doctoral degrees and a diverse and talented group of alumni at all levels. We learned a great deal about our graduates during our recent survey, and we were delighted with the information we received. Some of our graduates are professors, others are creative writers, lawyers, journalists, publicists, and artists. Still others are working in a wide variety of professions, using their education in many different ways. All indications are that the comparatist is a person with curiosity and daring, a true individualist who knows how to think with an independent and creative spirit. We salute our alumni, and we are as proud of their accomplishments as we are of our own.
David M. Hertz, Chair
This year's annual Department of Comparative Literature reception was held in the afternoon on
Thursday, April 22, in the Hoagy Carmichael Room, Morrison Hall. The event saw the naming of
this year's graduate and undergraduate award recipients and honored the retirement of two long-serving
and highly valued faculty members, professors
Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch and Matei Calinescu.
Professor David Hertz, who took over the position of department chair from Matei Calinescu in January, welcomed those in attendance and announced with congratulations this year's graduate award recipients. Undergraduate awards were presented by Professor Angela Pao, who has been director of undergraduate studies since fall 1998.
Departmental awards for graduate students were presented to Robert Bayliss, who received the Newton P. Stallknecht Award for best essay; Michael Dalton, the Gilbert Tutungi Award for Best Master's Project; and Mario Ritter, the Distinguished Teaching Award. Graduate students receiving non-departmental awards were Christine Bolus-Reichart, the 1999 College of Arts & Sciences Dissertation Award; Lara Gose, the Eva-Kagen-Kans Graduate Research Paper Award; Joseph O'Neil, a Germanic Studies Fellowship; and Adriana Varga, an Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center Fellowship for next academic year.
Undergraduate awards were presented to Angelia Haro, who received the Ann Geduld Award, which recognizes the most outstanding CMLT undergraduate in film or interarts studies; and Ben Peled who received the department's Undergraduate Award for academic achievement and scholarly potential.
The second of three years of Preparing Future Faculty grants were awarded to graduate students Eric Metzler, Mark Best, Kim Jungsoo, Neepa Majumdar, Nikita Nankov, and Paul Nelson, who taught on the Bloomington campus, and to Monique Larocque and Aimee Hall, who taught at IUPUI.
A special thanks goes to Hanadi Al-Samman and all members of the Student Advisory Board for the excellent job and efforts in this academic year. Congratulations and our thanks go to all of our associate instructors for their superb work: Safoi Babana, Michael Dalton, Mark Minster, Burcu Bakioglu, Mary Dezember, Ioana Patuleanu, Austin Busch, Lara Gose, Mario Ritter, Lynne Dahmen, David Kaplin, Adriana Varga, and Yang Wang.
MA and PhD degrees awarded
Students receiving PhDs in comparative literature in 199899 were Cimberli Kearns, Ann Lemke, Yaohua
Shi, Christian Moraru, and Ann Thomas Sampson. Students receiving PhDs in comparative literature as of
November 1999 include Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, Peter Bixby, Veronica
Pravadelli,Leslie Ortquist-Ahrens,andDaniel Simon.
Receiving MA degrees in comparative literature in 199899 were Safoi Babana, Naomi Uechi, Balaz Dibuz, Robert Kinsman, Kevin West, Deniz Tekin, Michael Dalton, and Tobias Nagl. Students receiving MA degrees as of November 1999 include Burcu Bakioglu, Jeypung Shin, Sofia Biller, Mario Ritter, and Akiko Motoyoshi.
Newly appointed Chair David Hertz and Angela Pao, director of undergraduate studies, enjoy conversation at the 1999 spring reception.
New beginnings for two retiring faculty
The retirement of Professor Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch, joint professor of comparative literature and English, and of Professor Matei Calinescu, former department chair, brought an outpouring of praise from their colleagues and students for their scholarly work, service, and long teaching careers.
Professor Emeritus Henry H.H. Remak spoke about Calinescu's personal background,
focusing on his early years in his mother country, Romania, and the environment of Eastern
Europe in which he developed and from which he emerged to become a world renowned scholar.
Also there to honor the retiring professors were PhD candidates Hanadi Al-Samman,
Christine Bolus-Reichert, and Mary Dezember. Al-Samman and Bolus-Reichert spoke
with high praise of Calinescu for his contribution to and support of their development as
students, teachers, and scholars. Dezember offered thanks to Calinescu and Bernhardt-Kabisch for
their work and support of herself and all of their students.
Mark Minster, a PhD student, related his experience as an appreciative and admiring student of Bernhardt-Kabisch. With emotion and humor, Minster extended his congratulations and reminded Bernhardt-Kabisch that as he ends a career with IU, he gains another bright beginning.
Printed in the program of the reception for retiring IU faculty members this year were essays written in honor of each retiree. Here we reproduce the essays written for our two retiring faculty members.
|There was a Boy, ye knew him well,
And Islands of Winander!
(Wordsworth, The Prelude, V.38990)
There was another boy, well-known to the forests and fields of the Tyrolean Alps, whose
imagination was as nature-haunted as Wordsworth's, and he became a lifelong student of the
great British Romantic laureate. But Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch's childhood experiences were,
also like Wordsworth's, haunted by more than nature. Just as Wordsworth's supposedly idyllic
childhood in the English Lake District was vexed by corrupt 18th-century British politics
and, later, the French Revolution and its Reign of Terror, so Ernest's presence in those Alpine
landscapes was the result of his family's determined efforts to protect him from the horrors of
World War II. Ernest was 4 years old when the war started in Europe. Born in Chemnitz, he
soon moved to Dresden, but his removal to the mountains spared him the holocaust of its
fire-bombing. There, amid the alien splendor with which nature often seems to regard
human horrors, our future intellectual and scholar grew into adolescence as a
field hand, woodsman, and cowherd.
After the war, Ernest attended a Gymnasium in Stuttgart, from which he graduated at the age of 19 in 1954. This prolonged yet deeply threatened childhood seems to have left its mark deep in Ernest's character and demeanor. I remember when I first met him, now more than 30 years ago, on my campus recruitment visit to Bloomington. His boyish charm and enthusiasm worked strongly on me to decide to come to IU. A Midwesterner myself, the supposed boredom of "provincial" Indiana held no fears for me. But I was unprepared as many of us have been for the sheer brilliance of the future colleagues one found there, among the alien corn. Ernest seemed an Ariel-like nature spirit, with a racing, captivating mind and brilliant, witty conversation. More's the wonder, he still seems that way now, 30 years on.
No sooner had he finished his schooling and begun university study in Stuttgart and Tübingen than he was, within a year, whirled away from the ruins of his childhood to the University of California at Berkeley as a Fulbright scholar, a transition from disaster to near-paradise that must have seemed nearly miraculous. He stayed on, earning his doctorate there in 1962, one year after becoming a U.S. citizen. While at Berkeley, he met an émigré cousin, Eva Dessau, daughter of the composer Paul Dessau. They soon married, and together they raised her two children from an earlier marriage, and their own son, Ethan, now a systems analyst for IU's registrar's office.
Ernest came to Bloomington in that same year of 1962 and, like astonishingly many of IU's faculty, has been here ever since, advancing through the ranks to assistant professor in 1964, associate professor in 1966, and full professor in 1980. In an academic career of nearly 40 years, he has carved out a name for himself as the foremost student, along with Geoffrey Hartman of Yale, of the epitaphic or "monumental" aspect of Wordsworth's poetry the subtle and profound ways in which Wordsworth's "language of the ancient earth" seems both to arise from and be articulated through "the beautiful and permanent forms of nature." He was invited to lecture on this topic at the Wordsworth Summer Conference in Grasmere, England, in 1983. An early series of essays established his reputation, which grew through the years, extending to Wordsworth's difficult friend and predecessor as poet laureate, Robert Southey, of whom Ernest published one of the groundbreaking appreciative critical biographies in 1977. All along, he deepened IU students' appreciation of romanticism with his own vast knowledge of its continental roots, especially in Germany. For most of his IU career, Ernest has been a member of the comparative literature department as well as the English department, serving for 10 years as review editor of its international journal, Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature.
Ernest brought to IU the European ideal of deep, broad, humanistic learning, so foreign, increasingly, to contemporary pressures for increased specialization. He was one of the creators of the freshman honors humanities core curriculum between 1964 and 1972, a nine-hour course sequence in Western civilization, literature, and philosophy that survives in the Honors Division's "Ideas and Human Experience" introductory seminars. Though he always taught Wordsworth and romanticism, Ernest frequently branched out into other areas that grow organically from this central core: mythology, music, religion, revolution, Goethe, and Milton.
An international profile has always been recognizable in his research and writing, as well as his service, most concretely in his two years (199091 and 199495) as resident director of IU's overseas study program in Hamburg.
But Ernest has left his mark most deeply on the Collins Living Learning Center, of which he was the director for 13 years, from 1977 to 1990. This long tenure, coming soon after the LLC's creation, was crucial to its long-term success and present reputation as one of IU's most valuable student treasures. For this a half-time appointment for Ernest, but now carried on by two full-time appointees Ernest received the university's Distinguished Service Award in 1989 and last May was lauded by dozens of former students at the center's 25th anniversary celebration. As permanent testimony to his labors, both the student lounge and a scholarship at Collins are named in his honor.
In retirement, Ernest is actively researching Wordsworth's mysterious months in central Germany in 179899, and, returning in that most Wordsworthian of all ways ("the child is father of the man") to the fecund roots of his childhood, is completing a novel, Intruders in the Sky, that takes him back to those earliest moments when Allied bombers began appearing in German skies and moved the young Ernest to the mountains of the Tyrol and the beginnings of the long career of nature and imagination that comes to fruition, not an end, here today.
When Matei Calinescu came to IU in 1973 as a visiting associate professor
of comparative literature and Russian and East European studies, the
university community at large did not recognize his arrival as a significant event.
Likewise, the following year, when Matei resigned his post at the University
of Bucharest, indicating that he had decided to stay in the United States,
scant attention was paid by the intelligentsia of southern Indiana. But in
Romania, where the news was broadcast by Radio Free Europe to millions of avid
listeners, it was a momentous occurrence. For in his native land, Matei Calinescu,
poet, novelist, and critic with, at that time, some nine or 10 books to his credit
was the preeminent literary figure of his generation. And his decision to
remain in the Unites States, when the Ceausescu dictatorship was consolidating power
and imposing neo-Stalinist ideological orthodoxy on all forms of cultural
expression, was seen as a decisive act of protest.
In leaving Romania, Matei was joining not only the Indiana University community, but also the far-flung community of expatriate Romanian intellectuals that included playwright Eugène Ionesco, philosopher E.M. Cioran, and scholar of comparative religion Mircea Eliade. Matei already knew these men. Now, writing in English and living in Bloomington, Ind., he would join them on an international stage. The scholarly publications that Matei has offered to his vastly expanded audience are too numerous to be listed here. The most conspicuous and influential has undoubtedly been his celebrated book Five Faces of Modernity. This work, with an astonishing combination of analytic clarity and erudition, undertakes nothing less than to explain how artistic movements and styles during the past century and a half have been conceived in relation to traditional canons and forms of expression. One measure of the importance of this book is the fact that, to date, it has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, Japanese, Chinese, and, yes, Romanian. More impressive still is the frequency with which, in English or in its various translations, Five Faces appears on university course syllabi around the world, not only in departments of literature but also in such varied disciplines as history, architecture, art, history, music history, media studies, and cultural studies.
Nor does this impressive list of disciplines indicate the full range of Matei's intellectual interests and contributions. When one takes into account his work on politics and literature, his introductions to volumes by other authors, his brilliant book on Rereading, and his continuing work on the theory of rereading and of rewriting, one comes to realize that in forsaking Romania, Matei did not forsake the role that he played there a role that is only rarely attained in the Unites States namely that of public intellectual. When Matei resigned his position in Romania, he still had only a visiting appointment at IU. By the time his position was changed to a permanent one, in 1976, he had already been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He subsequently rose to the rank of full professor in only three years. Since then, Matei has been awarded numerous other fellowships and honors. He has been a popular teacher and sought-after dissertation director and an affable and generous colleague. His commitment to the Comparative Literature Program has manifested itself in various ways, including what may have been the most heroic gesture of his career, his agreeing to serve as chair during the three years prior to his retirement.
Since shifting his physical presence to Bloomington, Matei has remained a cultural presence in his native land. His 1969 novel, The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter, which had already been translated into Polish and Hungarian and published in a second edition before Matei left Romania, was republished in a third Romanian edition in 1995. His Memoirs in Dialogue written as an exchange of letters between his old friend Dr. Ion Vianu, a psychiatrist in Switzerland, and himself as an émigré from Ceausescu's Romania were published in Romania in 1994 and in a second Romanian edition last year. One can only try to imagine how the accomplishments and honors Matei has amassed in exile compare in his mind to his feelings on the occasion of his triumphal return to post-Ceausescu Romania in 1994. Whereas his defection had been announced on the clandestine broadcasts of Radio Free Europe, his return was that of a media celebrity publicly fêted and interviewed in the print media and on radio and television.
It was the great good fortune of Indiana University that Matei Calinescu defected to us, and that, despite offers of endowed chairs elsewhere, he chose never to defect again. It is our continued good fortune that even in retirement he will remain in Bloomington, where his wife, Adriana, will continue her work as the Thomas T. Solley Curator of Ancient Art at the IU Art Museum, and he will complete work on three books, gracing his friends and colleagues with his brilliant and charming presence.
Oscar Kenshur, with thanks to
Mikita Brottman has published a new book, Hollywood Hex: Death and Destiny in the Dream Factory (Creation Press, London, April 1999), as well as chapters in four other books, and has an article forthcoming in the journal Biography. She was nominated to the editorial board of UnScene Film: The Cult Film and Its Critics (forthcoming, 2000) and is working on a book on "the biopic" for Cambridge University Press.
Breon Mitchell's translation of Kafka's Trial appeared in September 1998 and was out in paperback last June. He continues to work on an annotated bibliography of Samuel Beckett and received a Mellon Fellowship at the Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas, to work with materials there last summer. He also did research at the Beckett Archives in Reading, England, in July. His future plans include editing the catalogue and giving the gallery talk for a comprehensive exhibition of illustrated editions of Beckett's works, to be held at Emory University this fall.
In October, Eugene Eoyang instructed a course, China: A Historical and Cultural Perspective, for the Global Partnership for Executive Development, Indiana UniversityInstitute Europeane des Administration et des Affairs, which was conducted in Hong Kong. He also presented a lecture titled "Other As Self: Identity As Sameness and As Difference in Poetry" at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Beijing Normal University, both in Beijing. In absentia, his work on "Intercultural Challenges to the Self" was presented at a conference held at Brigham Young University, and the Association of Departments of Foreign Language Bulletin recently published his essay on "The Worldliness of the English Language: A Lingua Franca Past and Future."
Last spring, Oscar Kenshur was the second member of the Department of Comparative Literature to participate in an exchange with the University of Lisbon, where he taught a course on Human Nature and the Modern Self. (Last fall, Gilbert Chaitin was the first to participate in the exchange.) During the summer, Kenshur conducted research in Paris and completed a forth coming monograph on Montesquieu, titled Virtue and Defilement: Moral Rationalism and Sexual Prohibitions in the Lettres Persanes.
Just in time for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Russian novelist Alexander Pushkin, Basic Books published Douglas Hofstadter's translation of Eugene Onegin last April. Hofstadter is also serving on the International Advisory Board of the Pushkin Bicentennial Conference, titled "Alexander Pushkin and Humanistic Study: Methodological Assumptions, Issues of Translation, East-West Dialogue," and will be giving a comparative reading at the conference in a session called "Onegin American Style." While on sabbatical, Hofstadter will be conducting a series of lectures on human versus machine translation at the University of Rochester, Mount Holyoke College, Boston University, and the University of Arizona, in addition to being the keynote lecturer for the conference "The Age of Chopin" at Indiana University in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the death of Chopin.
Adjunct faculty member Joan Hawkins has authored the book Cutting Edge: Art-Horror and the Horrific Avant-Garde, to be published by University of Minnesota Press in May 2000. Her essay "See It from the Beginning: Hitchcock's Reconstruction of Film History" on Hitchcock's rivalry with French director Henri-Georges recently appeared in The Hitchcock Annual. Also, her article "Sleaze-Mania, Eurotrash, and the Position of European Art Cinema in American Low Culture" is forthcoming in the December/January issue of Film Quarterly.
Professor Emeritus Peter Boerner survived the Goethe celebrations of 1999: While he refrained from visiting the cloned Gartenhaus in Weimar, he completed a new version of the Rowohlt monograph, complete with colored illustrations. Recently, he lent parts of his own Goethe collection to an exhibit at the University Library in Indianapolis and participated in a symposium on "Goethe in Exile" at the University of Kansas. He also completed his edition of the writings of Caroline von Wolzogen with volumes five and six, and, together with his wife, Nancy, prepared a report on hitherto unknown papers of Ottilie von Goethe, held by the Newberry Library in Chicago.
The recently retired Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch is enjoying dividing his time between Bloomington and Hamburg, Germany. This fall, he gave a talk to the Gesellschaft fuer Weltweite Wissenschaft at Hamburg University on the topic "'I Traveled among Unknown Men': Wordsworth and Coleridge in Hamburg, 1798."
Adjunct Professor Suzanne Pinckney
Stetkevych spent the 1999 spring quarter at the University of Washington
in Seattle as the 199899 Solomon Katz Distinguished Visiting Professor in
the Humanities. While there, she offered a course through the department of
Near Eastern languages and civilizations and the department of religion on Poetry
and Society: The Arabic Ode in Comparative Contexts. Last May, she gave a
presentation in the Comparative Religion Program Faculty Seminar Series on
canons and canonicity titled "Canonicity and Contamination: Qur'an, Qasida:
and Hadith." Her Solomon Katz Distinguished Lecture on "Solomon
and Mythic Kingship in the Arabo-Islamic Tradition" was also delivered in May.
She spent part of this summer conducting research in Tunis, where she presented
two lectures, "Ritual Aspects of the Arabic Ode" (in Arabic) and "The Arabic
Ode in Comparative Contexts" (in English), at the Ecole Normale Superieure and
the University of Tunis I, Manoubah. She continues to serve as editor of the
Journal of Arabic Literature.
Visiting scholars for the 199899 and 19992000 academic years include Zija Bai, Shilpa Desai, Lewis Dibble, Gyorgy Kalmar, Alexandre Pinto, Celina Silva, Delia Tocchini, Mario Torres, and Lixin Yang.
This year's Teaching Excellence Recognition Awards were granted to professors Oscar Kenshur, Giancarlo Maiorino, and Angela Pao. Ilinca Johnston received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for work on a biography of the Romanian-born French philosopher E.M. Cioran, titled E.M. Cioran: A Portrait of the Philosopher As a Young Man. Eileen Julien received a 199899 Guggenheim for her work "Modernity As Theme and Practice in African Literature," with a focus on Senegal. Herbert Marks received a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies for a critical edition of the Bible, to be published by W.W. Norton. Gilbert Chaitin is an NEH Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, in Princeton, N.J., where he is working on the project "Fictions of Universal Education in the French Third Republic."
Barbara R. Levine, BA'52, retired after many years as the community education coordinator at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. On Oct. 22, 1998, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award at the University of Michigan for volunteer work and for work during her career. Levine and her husband, Myron Levine, PhD '52, professor of human genetics at the University of Michigan, live in Ann Arbor.
Sarah L. Wurdlow, BA'65, MA'66, is a media specialist at Clinton Middle School.
She lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Mark R. Axelrod, BA'69, MA'77, gave a weeklong seminar in screenwriting to 200 actors, writers, directors, and producers in Buenos Aires. The event was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the Union of Argentine Cinematographers. Axelrod lives in Tustin, Calif.
Branimir Anzulovic, PhD'72, visiting professor '74'77, published the book
Heavenly Serbia: From Myth to Genocide (New
York University Press). This well-received book is a study in political anthropology, but also,
to a large extent, a study in comparative literature.
Robert A. Glick, PhD'73, is the vice president for college advancement at St. John's College in Santa Fe, N.M. Prior to this position, Glick was a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Maryland, as well as a Visiting Fellow at Yale University. He is a specialist in 19th- and 20th-century English, French, German, and Russian literature. Glick and his wife, Jacquelyn Helin, a concert pianist, have two children, Kathryn, 8, and William, 4.
Nancy A. Watanabe, PhD'75, lives in Seattle. Her book Love Eclipsed: Joyce Carol Oates's Faustian Moral Vision, published in 1997 by University Press of America, is a nominated book for a Modern Language Association prize. Her previous book, Beloved Image: The Drama of W.B. Yeats 18651939, was nominated in 1995.
Charles E. Pirtle, BA'78, MA'82, is a supervisor and textbook buyer at the University of Washington. He was the winner of a Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for his contribution to Anthology of American Folk Music (Smithsonian Folkways). Pirtle finished his PhD in English at the University of Iowa; his dissertation was titled "These States: Ginsberg's Chronicle of Immediacy." Pirtle has published two books of poetry, The Landscape (Paris: Atelier des Arts du Livre, 1990) and Talaria (Boulder, Colo.: Rodent Press, 1994). He and his wife, Rebecca, live in Seattle, Wash.
Iris L. Smith, MA'79, PhD'86, is an associate professor and coordinator of graduate studies in the department of English at the University of Kansas at Lawrence.
Marcet N. (Townsend) Spahr, BA'96, and her husband, Timothy P. Spahr, BS'94,
JD'97, were married in July 1997. Marcet teaches French at Logansport High School, and
Tim practices law in Peru, Ind.
Shahzia R. Pirani, BA'97, is a TEFL Peace Corps volunteer in Gökdepe Village, Turkmenistan. She teaches English as a foreign language to first through ninth graders and develops community projects with local counterparts.
Thank you to all the alumni who responded to our survey.
This newsletter is published annually by the Indiana University Alumni Association, in cooperation with the Comparative Literature Program and the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association, to encourage alumni interest in and support for Indiana University. For information on membership or activities, call (800) 824-3044 or e-mail iualumni@ indiana.edu.
Comparative Literature Program
Director of Undergraduate Studies...........Angela Pao
Director of Graduate Studies...................Oscar Kenshur
News Editor......................................Moon Rinaldo
News Editor......................................Kathleen Keogh
College of Arts & Sciences
Acting Dean...........................................Russell Hanson
Executive Director for Development
& Alumni Programs...............................Susan Green
IU Alumni Association
University Director for Alumni Affairs............Jerry F. Tardy
Assistant Alumni Director........................Allison Scott
Assistant Editor for Constituent Publications..Julie Dales
Editorial Assistant..............................Cassie Pence
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