World Literature in English Translation

Fall 2018 Course Offerings

The foreign language departments at UVa provide exciting courses in translation that allow students to discover new ways of thinking and seeing the world. Becoming a truly global citizen means not only acquiring a deep appreciation for different cultures, but specifically insight into the preoccupations, passions, and shared experiences of other societies. The following courses in translation offer students unique access to this knowledge. All courses are taught by specialists of the languages and cultures of inquiry.

For all classes, lectures, discussions, readings and assignments are in English. These courses may fulfill college requirements such as the Second Writing Requirement, the Humanities Requirement and the Non-Western Perspective Requirement.


CLAS 2010  Greek Civilization
Andrej Petrovic
TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM

An introduction to the literature and history of ancient Greece. All readings will be in translation, including: Homer, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Thucydides, Aristophanes, and  Plato. Midterm, Final and two papers.

CLAS 3350 Language and Literature of the Early Celts
Coulter George
MoWeFr 2:00PM - 2:50PM    

This introduction to the Celtic inhabitants of Gaul and Britain unites two approaches, one literary, one linguistic. First, we will compare descriptions of the Celts found in Greek and Latin authors with readings of Celtic literature in translation, notably Ireland's great prose epic, the Táin Bó Cúailnge. Second, we will explore how the Celtic languages work, focusing on the basics of Old Irish as well as touching on Middle Welsh and Gaulish.

CLAS 3559 From Dancing Bears to Dog-Faced Baboons: Rituals and Magic in Ancient Greece
Ivana Petrovic
TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM

The course explores Ancient Greek religious practices and beliefs by highlighting tensions between public and private realms. Starting with the rituals belonging to the realm of social interaction and the rites of passage, we move on to investigate the group rituals in their socio-religious contexts. Then, turning from the realm of public religion performed in, and often in service of, a city-state, we will focus on magical practices which Greeks performed in secrecy and solitude, and will explore magical rituals as a touchstone for assessment and evaluation of conceptual differences between the domains of ‘public’ and ‘private’ religiosity, and, more generally, between the realms of ‘religion’ and ‘magic’. Course structure: Each week, there will be one lecture (Thursdays) and one seminar (Tuesdays). The preparatory reading must be done between Thursday and Tuesday.

East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

CHTR 3122 Sunzi and the Art of War
Mark Metcalf
Mo 3:30PM - 6:00PM

This seminar on The Art of War, the pre-Imperial Chinese classic attributed to Sunzi, will familiarize students with traditional interpretations of the text. The course will emphasize a close reading of several translations of the text and will also consider the influence of its historical and philosophical contexts. Contemporary Chinese military writings will also be surveyed to investigate the relevance of the text to modern warfare.The course satisfies both the non-Western perspectives and 2nd writing requirements of the Traditional Curriculum.

JPTR 3290 Feminine Fictions in Japanese Court Literature
Gustav Heldt
We 3:30PM - 6:00PM

This seminar will take up the world's earliest instance of literature written extensively by, for, and about women, including such famous works as the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon and Sarashina Diary, among others. The focus will be on reading gender as a fictional enactment of desire and identity that is performed through acts of writing and reading. No prior knowledge of Japanese language or literature is required.


FRTR 2552 French Culture-Crafting Islam in France: Images, Texts, and Political Value
Ferial Boutaghou
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Following a cultural and historical perspective, this course will examine the construction of negative or positive values of Islam in France during the Modern and contemporary period. Indeed, from the period of the conquest in 1830 to the Algerian war of independence, French colonialism imposed ideological domination using political propaganda based on images and texts. Representations of Islam in literary discourse, photographs and films indicate how religious conflicts are sustained by the power of narratives and images. We will read and analyze closely the work of propaganda discourse during the Algerian war of independence and how they crafted the understanding of Islam still active and accurate in today’s France.

FRTR 3584 Topics in French Cinema
John Lyons
MoWe 3:30PM - 4:45PM

The French have been pioneers in film, from the early shorts of the Lumière brothers and Méliès, through the early classics of the 1930s, and during the New Wave and beyond.  French directors and critics have transformed movie-making beyond the boundaries of France, giving us a way of looking at such American phenomena as “Film Noir.” This course is an introduction to masterpieces of French cinema, including works by Jean Cocteau, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Jacques Tati, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda and others. Students will study film genres and movements (Poetic Realism, the New Wave) in relation to social, cultural and aesthetic trends. They will also learn to identify and analyze film techniques (camera angle, camera movement, montage, and more). FRTR 3584 counts towards satisfaction of the Humanities area requirement but does not count toward the French major or minor. Lectures and discussion in English.

Germanic Languages and Literatures

GETR 3330  Introduction to German Culture: Problems and Perspectives
TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM

This course introduces its students to significant documents and materials from various areas of German culture (history and politics, the arts, the humanities, “high” and “mass” culture etc.) between 1800 and the present. Its major objective is probe the constructive and critical role of culture in (German) society and to create sensitivity for the diversity, multiplicity and historicity of culture in general and German culture in particular. To this end we will read texts, documents and treatises from various authors and disciplines (such as history, politics, sociology, literature, cultural studies etc.), watch and analyze four films (directed by Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, Wim Wenders and Margarete von Trotta), and follow recurring controversies and attempts in German cultural and political history to reflect upon the question “What is German (culture)?” We will read texts from Adorno, Arendt, Brecht, Celan, Freud, Marx, Simmel, Weiss, Luxemburg, Zetkin and others.

The course has no prerequisites and is recommended for all German majors and minors. It strongly encourages the active participation of its students, which is reflected in its grading policy. It invites students to give at least one presentation (15-20 minutes) in class (15% of the final grade), rewards overall participation (15%), and will determine the rest of the grade by a take-home midterm (35%) and an in-class final examination (35%).

HIEU 3352  Modern German History
Manuela Achilles

MoWe 10:00AM - 10:50AM
This course explores the multi-faceted history of modern Germany from the founding of the Empire in 1871 to the present. Among the themes that we will study are the repeated radical transformation of Germany’s political structures in the 20th century, the place of war and genocide in German history and memory, as well as the country’s shifting position within Europe and the world. We will also examine some of the major debates in German historiography, such as the idea that the Nazi Third Reich resulted from a flawed pattern of modernization that disconnected economic liberalism from political democracy. Throughout this course, we will pay particular attention to the ruptures and continuities in modern German history, and to the meanings of a traumatic past for the construction of  national identity. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, two essays, as well as a midterm and final examination.

GETR/HIEU 3505 Hitler in History and Fiction
Manuela Achilles

MoWe 2:00PM-3:15PM

Who was Adolf Hitler and how can we understand the Hitler phenomenon? Was his rise to power an aberrant historical accident or a logical outcome of German history? What was more decisive in shaping the catastrophic course of events under Hitler’s regime: his personality or deep structural historical factors? Would history have turned out better (or worse) if Hitler had been accepted into art school or died in infancy? Do melodramatic depictions of his last days normalize or even trivialize the Holocaust? Is it acceptable to laugh about or even empathize with Hitler today? This course investigates Hitler’s life and afterlife on the basis of a broad variety of sources. Course materials range from scholarly articles to Nazi propaganda, films, novels, counterfactual histories and Hitler representations on the internet. Throughout this course, we will combine an interest in the personal dimensions of Hitler’s rule with the study of power structures, social interests, aesthetic forms, generational shifts, and national frames. We will pay particular attention to the affective logics and representational regimes that shape our understanding of the past (and present). Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, one oral presentation, and short written assignments. There will be no midterm or final examinations.

GETR 3566 Weimar Cinema
Paul Dobryden 

MoWe 3:30PM-4:45PM                
This course will familiarize students with the formally adventurous and globally influential cinema of the Weimar Republic. We will examine key films from a range of genres (including horror, comedy, science fiction, crime, and melodrama) by directors such as Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, Ernst Lubitsch, and G. W. Pabst. Situating the films within the cultural upheavals of the period from 1918 to 1933, we will discuss the aftereffects of WWI; the politics of class and gender; discourses on nature and technology; relationships between aesthetics, spectatorship, and politics; and processes of industrialization, urbanization, and globalization. Students without experience in film studies are welcome.

GETR 3590-002 Fairy Tales
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM

GETR 3590-003 Stories of Love and Adventure
William McDonald
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Joseph Campbell––and more! Trace the origin of The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones: Encounter the stories that inspired Richard Wagner. Follow the hero and heroines of medieval fiction through the steps of the heroic quest: the call to adventure, meeting the mentor, tests and trials, symbolic death and rebirth, the road back, and return with a societal boon. Among the stories read are Parzival and Tristan and Isolde. Grade is based on classroom discussion, oral reports, and a final paper. No final examination. No textbook required.  

GETR 3590-005 Nietzsche, Freud, Kafka:  What Is Reading?
Benjamin Bennett
MoWeFr 12:00PM - 12:50PM

Reading and discussion of texts by Nietzsche, Freud, and Kafka that raise significant questions about the person who happens to be reading them.  We will not attempt to deal with the psychology (or the neuropsychology) of reading.  The starting point for class discussion will be ethical.  Do we make a personal commitment when we read, and what is the nature of that commitment?  Among the works assigned will be Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, “On the Use and Disadvantage of History,” On the Genealogy of Morals, The Antichrist; Freud’s Civilization  and Its Discontents, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, The Question of Lay Analysis, and Moses and Monotheism; a selection of Kafka’s shorter published works including “The Judgment,” “The Metamorphosis,” “A Country Doctor,” and “A Hunger Artist.”  Depending on class size, there will be either one paper or one short plus one long, and perhaps an examination on the reading.

GETR 3590-006 Women and War
Benjamin Bennett
MoWe 3:30PM - 4:45PM

Beginning with Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, the course will first examine the structure and complications of a world in which men wage war and women wage sex.  It will then move on to the discussion of ways in which this world-view is challenged or overturned, including:  the collision of war and sex in the figure of Judith (plays of Hebbel and Giraudoux); the virgin warrior Joan of Arc (Voltaire, Schiller, Anouilh, Shaw); Amazons ancient and modern (Kleist, Wittig); women at the intersection of war and business (Brecht).  Space will be left in the schedule to accommodate one or two texts suggested by students.  At least one paper will be required, perhaps two, depending on the size of the class.

GETR 3590-007  Reporters at War   
Gabriele Irmgard Riedle

TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM
It is crucial that journalists continue to report on global crises, from places where daily life can be complicated, difficult, and dangerous. With the journalist and writer Gabriele Riedle, students will explore a variety of texts, photographs, and documentary films—from Ernest Hemingway’s reports from the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s to the Magnum Photo Agency’s ongoing documentation of conflicts.
Informed by Riedle’s extensive experience reporting from crisis regions, the course will grapple with the practical, ethical, and representational questions raised by such journalism: What is life like for journalists “in the field”? How can they continue to work while staying safe? What different genres and media are available to cover wars, armed
conflicts, and humanitarian or political crises? Is objectivity possible, especially in cases when a reporter is embedded with an army? How can journalists avoid sensationalizing crisis or portraying themselves as heroes?
Requirements include regular attendance and preparation, participation, writing assignments, and a final project.

GETR 3692 The Holocaust
Gabriel Finder
TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM

TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM    
In this course we study the encounter between the Third Reich and Europe’s Jews between 1933 and 1945. This encounter resulted in the deaths of almost 6 million Jews.  The course aims to clarify basic facts and explore competing explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust—in Hebrew, Shoah. We also explore survivors’ memories after the Holocaust, postwar Holocaust-related trials, and the universal implications of the Holocaust.

This course is intended to acquaint students with the historical study of the Holocaust and assumes no prior training in the subject.  We will read studies by important historians, including Saul Friedländer, Christopher Browning, and Peter Hayes, contemporary documents, and memoirs. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements include three written assignments and conscientious participation in class discussion.

Slavic Languages and Literatures

RUTR 3350 Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature
David Herman
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:15PM

This course will examine many famous works of nineteenth-century Russian literature, with a particular focus on the way Russia's writers have used character doubles and images of the demonic to illustrate their exploration of issues of class, gender, and identity, both personal and national.  Works to be read include selected short stories by Nikolai Gogol ("The Nose," "The Overcoat"), The Tales of Belkin by Alexander Pushkin, A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, The Double and The Devils by Fyodor Dostoevsky, “First Love” by Ivan Turgenev, "The Devil" and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy, and The Seagull by Anton Chekhov.  All readings are in English.

RUTR 3390 Edens, Idylls, and Utopias in Russian Literature
Edith Clowes
MoWe 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

ITTR 3559-001 Italian in Translation: Narrating (Un)-sustainability
Enrico Cesaretti
TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM

This course focuses on the potential narratives have to convey messages that are relevant to our ethical and environmental awareness, and to stimulate critical strategies that encourage to imagine alternatives to existing systems of knowledge and distributions of power. As we shall expand the notion of ‘text’ to include all material formations (landscapes, bodies, matters), in the first half of this course, students will learn about the origins and general objectives of ecocriticism, and various approaches to the notion of sustainability. In the second section, taking the Italian/Mediterranean area as an interpretive, local key that may enlighten the situation of many other, global places, we shall travel up and down throughout the Italian peninsula, and encounter a selection of “material narratives” (i.e. the interlaced stories co-emerging simultaneously from places, literature, artworks, films and documentaries) which may contribute to shape our environmental consciousness, and affect our ethical attitude in the era of the Anthropocene.

ITTR/WGS 3559-002 Italy on Screen: Sex, Gender, and Racial Identity in the Glocal Context
Francesca Calamita
MoWe 3:30PM - 4:45PM

This course considers representations of sex, gender and racial identities in Italian films, television, advertisements and other forms of visual culture. With a focus on the contemporary Italian context, students will explore issues of intersectionality from a global perspective. What can Italian critically acclaimed and more mainstream works tell us about diversity and inclusion in the worldwide context?

ITTR 4820 - Italian Pop Culture from the 60s to the Present  
Enrico Cesaretti
TuTh 11:00-12:15

This course examines, from a cultural/historical perspective, the social, economic, and political transformations that took place in Italy during its recent history, from the post WWII “miracle years” of the industrial boom in the late 50s and 60s, until today’s struggles with the multifaceted dynamics of globalization. By discussing different cultural artifacts and media (film, literature, music, advertisements, comic books) in the period under consideration, together with a selection of relevant critical essays, we shall investigate not only how the (popular) arts reflected, supported, resisted and, in general, commented upon such transformations, but also their frequent dialogues and exchanges with American culture.