Comparative Literature | Comp App to Lit: Theory and Method
C305 | 6265 | Prof. Peretz


CMLT-C 305 (6265)
Comp App to Lit: Theory & Method
The Literary Address-Literature, Theory, and the Question of the
Letter
E. Peretz	MW 1:00-2:15
This class meets A&H requirements
*Required for CMLT majors*



Course Description:

“A poem”, writes German poet Paul Celan, “being an instance of
language, hence essentially dialogue, may be a letter in a bottle
thrown out to sea with the – surely not always strong – hope that it
may somehow wash up somewhere, perhaps on a shoreline of the heart.”
Pointing thus to a relation between poetry – and by extension,
literary language in general - and the question of the letter, Celan
poses for us the task of thinking the following questions: What
exactly is the relation between the writing and reading of literature
and the sending or addressing of letters? Why is it that a literary
text can be compared to a letter, and what at all is a letter? By
taking a look at some major literary texts of the last two centuries
as well at some of the major theoretical texts of the last fifty
years this class proposes that by following these question we can, on
the one hand, reach a general, theoretical, understanding of the
nature of literary language, of what at all is this thing that we
call literature, as well as, on the other hand, actually learn to
read literature in systematic manner, that is, learn how to pay
attention to the way in which literary language works on us, and
addresses us.

Readings include, among others, Melville, Hoffmann, Kleist, Kafka,
Henry James, Poe, Lacan, Derrida, Blanchot.